I had the pleasure of going to NY Fashion week in the Spring and have been waiting for a good time to share my tips with you. September fashion week is just around the corner, so it is time to start planning now and I thought this would be the perfect moment to share what I learned. It is not too late to attend and anyone can go, you just have to have a strategy and start planning now!
2-3 months before: Find and book your hotel & flight
Hotels will fill up quickly as fashion week approaches. Also, the prices of rooms and flights will only continue to increase. If you are a blogger, I would reach out to hotels to see if they have a media rate. Or you can see if they would like to partner together for a discounted/comped stay asap. It’s difficult to be totally comped since the hotels are not hurting for business during fashion week. There will also be a lot of major influencers there. If you are a smaller/ “micro” influencer such as myself, it’s a little unrealistic going that route. However, I found hotels that had media rates and it wasn’t bad! I was there for a full week and due to roommate changes, I stayed at two different places. The Cosmopolitan was my absolute favorite. Such a cute, boutique hotel and the key factor is that it was close to the show venues. I HIGHLY recommend staying as close to the venues as you can. Traffic is insane and there were many people who missed shows because of it. I also stayed at The Lexington and it was very nice, just further away.
1 month before: reach out to brands about shows
I tried reaching out earlier, but it was difficult because not all of the information is published yet. Show schedules and brands kind of scramble during the last month to get the guest lists together. Things fluctuate up until the day of the show, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t have a full calendar booked months in advance. It is possible to get tickets leading all the way up to the week of the shows.
The best way to find contacts is by searching this list here and by collaborating with any other friends/bloggers you know who are going. One majorly helpful thing I did before going to fashion week was join Style Collective. It’s like a forum filled with hundreds of bloggers who are so nice & helpful. It was great chatting about fashion week tips and sharing PR contacts on their site. You can sign up here. I haven’t used it much since, but it was well worth it to have a support network leading up to and during that week. That is how I met one of my roommates, too!
Start shopping and think about what you want to wear each day in New York! This was the fun part. I loved creating outfits to wear. I started thinking about it around a month ahead of time.
1 week before: reach out to PR contacts again and pack your suitcase
I followed up with a whole round of secondary emails. The invites usually arrive in your inbox the week before. Brands are finalizing their guest list during this week. If you have not received your invite a few days before, don’t hesitate to send another email. If they have spots open up, you have a good chance of getting in.
Of course, you need to pack! I always procrastinate on this one, but then you are more likely to forget something, so I would do this as soon as you’ve figured out what you’re wearing. You can see my NYFW Packing Post here.
How can you get in to fashion week?
Almost anyone can “get in” to fashion week! If you have any interest in fashion, or work in any part of it (photographer, blogger, public relations, creative, etc) just email the PR company explaining why you would like to attend or why you are interested. It never hurts to ask!
Isn’t it expensive?
This all depends on you! The shows are free. There are many free events, then there are some that cost a little money. I would say the most expensive things are transportation, food, and shopping. There are many options for each, so it is truly up to you. I would bring $1000-1500 just in case, but you definitely do not have to spend that much. I splurged on a few nice dinners with friends and on an hour long Uber ride back to the airport (becuase what girl wants to tote two suitcases through the subway and train stations by herself?!). Of course, everything in NYC is more expensive than almost anywhere else in the country, so keep that in mind.
What if you don’t know anyone?
That is quite alright! However, I will say it is much easier to have others around you that you know who are also going to shows, etc. You can ride together and it’s simply more fun! That was a major perk of Style Collective. I went there already feeling like I knew a ton of other girls who would be there.
Transportation: I would honestly recommend learning the subway system. It’s by far the cheapest option. I got a week long Metro card. My husband was with me the first few days. I had an advantage in that he taught me how to get around and I felt safe when I was with him. Once he left, I felt like I knew it well enough to try it on my own and it went fine. You can use google maps and it tells you exactly which way to go, so it’s hard to get lost.
Most bloggers use Uber or Via. Via is better in my opinion because it is cheaper and actually less of a hassle. It is a ride-sharing app, so you will stop along the way to pick other people up, but it is directly along your route, so it did not seem to add time. Uber is pretty expensive and the NYC Uber drivers are so impatient. If you are not at the exact pick up point, they will not wait at all and just leave you there. This was super annoying as we missed many Ubers and had to get another one or ended up just doing Via.
Photoshoots: Get them done asap. Luke came early with me and we actually arrived in NYC a day before the fashion shows started. I’m glad we did this because once they start, your schedule will be crazy. It is possible to squeeze in some shoots, but it was so nice having them mostly done within the first 48 hours and I could just relax, socialize, and go to shows after that. Plus, a blizzard came in the second day we were there and many bloggers who arrived that day had to cancel their shoots! Luke shoots most of my photos, but once he left, I did two more shoots on my last day. There are some amazing local photographers and I’m so glad I used them. It’s always good to branch out a little bit and try other photographers sometimes.
Outfits: Honestly, don’t be afraid to be edgy. I dressed edgier than I normally would but my outfits were VERY tame compared to most. I wish I would’ve branched out of my comfort zone even more, while staying true to myself and wearing items I love. On the streets of NY, the edgier, the better. If you stand out, you have a better chance of getting photographed by street style photographers, which is #goals.
Bring extra outfits!!! At least two for each day. You have so many events going on and you will see some of the same people multiple times per day. It’s nice to change things up midway through. I did extra photoshoots towards the end of fashion week. I actually came close to running out of outfits and wish I had brought more to shoot! You will be walking A LOT. There is no way to really avoid this, so make sure your shoes are not like 6 inches high, or just change into comfortable flats in between shows.
Weather: The weather can be extreme whether you go in the fall or spring. Last fall it seemed to be extremely hot from what I heard. This past spring we had amazing weather the first day, then a blizzard, then rain, then nasty slushy snow the rest of the time (ew). Bring shoes that can get messed up. I brought a lot of suede booties that would have definitely got ruined, so I had to wear my rainboots to the shows and switch out once I got to the venue. I felt like a crazy person, but I saw many others doing this too.
One negative about the subway is that you will have to walk a little farther than if you took an Uber. This would normally not be an issue unless there is snow or it’s really hot outside. The Uber can drop you off right outside the venue door. So you can look fresh and fabulous for those photographers who are ready and waiting!
How can you get a front row seat? Don’t be afraid to scoot up to the front row! Some attendees end up backing out the day of, or they get stuck in traffic so there are always empty seats. The day of the blizzard there were so many empty seats, haha. It varied, but some shows I was seated in the front row. Others were first come, first serve, and some I was stuck in standing room only in the back. I was usually able to move closer to the front.
Funny story about the front row… One of the last shows I went to was Sherri Hill. I saw an empty seat in the front row and waited probably twenty minutes to see if anyone would come fill it. There was a blonde lady sitting by the empty seat frantically looking around for her friend. She looked very familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it. There weren’t any cameras filming her (they were too busy interviewing Lisa Rinna across the aisle) so I was puzzled as to how I recognized her if she wasn’t famous.
By this point, its probably twenty minutes after the show was supposed to start (they ALL start late). By that time, the show was about to start and I figured it was safe to go up there. I walked right up to her and she eyed me up and down as I asked if the seat was taken. She said yes, so I shrunk back to my third row seat. Flash forward two weeks and I’m at home watching my fave shows on Bravo and it clicked.
It was Kristen from Real Housewives of NY. Her friend (on the left) FINALLY showed up, literally as the show was starting! Haha. Embarassing, but I will never forget that.
Fashion week is an absolute crazy whirlwind, but it was one of the best weeks of my life.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any other questions about fashion week!