New York Fashion Week Beginner's Guide
What is it?
New York Fashion Week, held twice a year during February and September in New York, is the coveted event where international fashion designers show their collections to the buyers, press, and public. It’s a mix of large branded productions (like IMG’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week) and smaller independent events. The shows are split between large tents at Lincoln Center and other less traditional locations like those in Chelsea, TriBeCa and Wall Street. The shows are by invitation only and are filled with editors, celebrities, buyers, press, fashion bloggers and a whole slew of fashionistas.
Everyone always asks me how to get invited to Fashion Week and there’s no correct answer! It’s not a public ticketed event as the guest list is usually kept to people in the fashion industry and celebrities. The easiest way, if you have anything to do with fashion, is to get press credentials, like many fashion bloggers do. If you are covering the event for a magazine or blog, you can apply for press credentials at MBFashionweek.com.
If you can’t get credentials but you are still involved in fashion (a buyer, stylist, etc.) you can try to get on the PR list for the designer you are interested in. Contact their PR team and let them know you’d love to get a ticket to the show. Let them know why you should be attending their show (who have you styled for? have you worked with any publications? why are you of interest to them?) and include your past work … it’s your job to convince them! Most importantly, don’t forget to follow up.
Seating & Swag
NYFW’s hierarchy is most prominently visible in the seating chart. The first three or four rows are generally filled with celebrities, editors, reporters and buyers, so they can get an up-close look at the clothing and trends. Celebrities and editors of major fashion magazines sit in the front row, so if you’re looking to star-spot that’s where to look. However, there’s not really a bad seat at NYFW; the rows are designed so everyone gets a good look.
There are often gift bags and swag left on the seats of the first few rows (sometimes on every seat in the building!), filled with goodies ranging from edible yummies to beauty products. So, if you’re sitting in a row with swag, make sure nobody steals yours.
Can’t Make it?
Don’t worry, you can still get involved! It’s extremely easy to follow NYFW online and you can really get the full effect. E! has amazing coverage live from the shows, and most fashion blogs and magazines do daily updates. Have the girls over, make a cocktail and peruse the newest trends.
What Not to Do
Don’t forget to remove your hat. There’s nothing worse than sitting behind someone who looks like they’re going to the races. Be polite and take it off.
Don’t Disrespect the Seating Chart. People work hard to create it, and everyone has their place. Keep to yours and don’t cause a scene.
Don’t Lose Your Cool. There are a lot of celebrities at Fashion Week – don’t go nuts!
Don’t be late, but don’t be too early. Networking before a show is a great idea, but don’t get there an hour early and be stuck sitting around forever. Most shows run about 30 minutes late, so if you get there on time, you’ll still have enough time to network.
Don’t Over-Selfie. One or two is enough, guys. You’ll look like a newbie if you spend the whole time taking photos!
Tips & Tricks to Surviving NYFW
Running around all day and crammed into hot spaces filled with people can leave you dehydrated and feeling terrible. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day so that you can enjoy your NYFW experience to the fullest.
What you wear to NYFW is obviously important, but don’t neglect comfort. The last thing you want to do is miss out on a show because your feet are killing you and you have to go home early. Make sure to bring things like foldable flats, hair ties and Advil so you can stay refreshed and comfortable throughout the day.
Fashion Week is as hectic as it gets, so make sure to plan your week in advance. Know where you’re going, plan time to get there, have your credentials ready and don’t be late! The better organized you are, the more fun you’ll have.
September in NYC can be hot, cold, raining, humid, snowing or all of the above. Layering your outfit is the best way to make sure you are prepared for all of the possibilities. There’s nothing worse than being bundled up for the outside cold and melting inside under the bright lights next to hundreds of people.
New York traffic and potential weather problems mean running late is always a possibility. Add in frenzied confusion at the entrances to shows, street photographers and a stampede of fashion bloggers and you can easily find yourself starting to panic. Don’t! Almost every NYFW show starts 20-30 mins late, so take a breath and make your way inside.
In My Bag: Fashion Week Essentials
Come prepared and you’ll thank me for it!
Water, water, water. Enough said.
Foldable flats. These Yosi Samra hats are chic, fashionable and a lifesaver. (Available at YosiSamra.com)
Advil. I need it after a day of running around and sitting under the lights.
Hair ties. The perfect way to stay collected after running from one show to another.
Phone charger and external battery pack. All that instagramming takes its toll, so you’ll want to be able to easily recharge your phone. This stripy ChicBuds product is adorable and very compact. (Available at ChicBuds.com)
Snacks. You might not have time to eat, so pack snacks.
Camera. There’s nothing better than front row photos to feature on The Divine Addiction!
Perfume. A chic roll-on perfume like this one from Inkling will make you feel like a normal human being at the end of a long, hectic day. (Available at InklingScents.com)
Dry Shampoo. It’s the best way to perfect your look after a sprint to the next show.
iPhone. For all your social media needs.
Small Notebook & Pen. I love to take notes at shows, especially if I’m covering them. Often it’s also a great tool for networking and helping to remember names. This on-the-go Cross set is perfect. (Available at Cross.com)
Sunglasses. Look instantly chic in eyewear that will be essential while making your way from show to show.
Business Cards. You never know who you’ll meet.
Hand Sanitizer & Mints. You’re going to meet a lot of people!
Makeup touchups. Make sure you stay fresh in case any street photographers love your outfit.
iPad with Cover. For subway and Uber travel, sitting at a coffee shop, or in case of delays, an iPad is handy. I load mine with books and NYFW info. Just don’t use it to take photos at the shows, ok? (Cover available at GigiNewYork.com)
An Extra Necklace. The easiest way to switch up your outfit from show to show is to switch out your jewelry! My new necklace, The Monte Carlo, comes in 2 pieces you can wear separately or together, giving you three looks in one day. (Available at BTBjewelry.com)
Headphones. Why not look cute while traveling between shows? These Frends headphones are amazing! (Available at WeAreFrends.com)
Behind the Scenes at NYFW: A Beginner’s Guide
Lifestyle Editor: Pandora Vanderpump Sabo
Photographer: The Divine Addiction