I just got back from NYFW, and I had several questions sitting in my inbox asking how I ended up being able to attend. I figured I could break everything down in a blog post, because it really is a lengthy answer!
New York Fashion Week has honestly been my dream ever since I was in high school. My first college was located in Philly and since NYC was a quick bus ride away, I would frequently go up and volunteer since I knew that’s where I wanted to be. There are a few different ways you can attend if your heart is set on it — here are some of my tips and tricks!
If you don’t have a blog or maybe if you’re just starting out in the industry, volunteering is a great way to attend NYFW. I have a few family members in NYC, and I would crash at their house when I volunteered. You can either volunteer with a PR firm, or with the NYFW organization directly. You most likely won’t get paid, but it’s a great opportunity to beef up your resume if you have the means to do it!
If you volunteer at a PR firm, you’ll most likely be asked to do some other tasks as well: help with model castings, hand-deliver invitations to top editors, work showrooms, etc. Your days will be pretty long and you’ll need to work hard, but if you do a great job, your supervisor can write you a stellar letter of recommendation in the future.
Pitch Your Little Heart Out
So, you have a blog. A blog with a pretty decent following. You should definitely look into pitching brands and PR firms directly for an invitation, rather than going the volunteer route. You really don’t need to have a million followers to get an invite to shows, but you do need to make yourself look attractive to a PR firm.
When pitching, keep things short and sweet. I usually pitch about a month before the shows start, and follow up 1 week before the shows begin if I haven’t heard anything. I write a really short blurb about myself and my blog, including notable features and/or blog statistics. I’ll also link to previous NYFW coverage I’ve posted on my blog. Then, I explain why I want to attend the show, say what I like about the brand, and ask for a ticket. Boom.
You should plan on pitching a lot of people. I normally send out 50-75 emails per season.
The weird thing about Fashion Week is that you’re likely to get super last-minute invites. This past season, I got a few invites only 1 or 2 days before the show/presentation. Don’t be discouraged if you only have a few invites to shows before Fashion Week, you’re very likely to end up with more! Even though the week is super crazy, check your email on the regular during fashion week — you never know what’s going to end up in your inbox!
Use Your Time in NYC Wisely
Since I’m not based in New York, I love to use my downtime at Fashion Week to meet with some of the brands that I’ve work with. The face-to-face time is super crucial, and usually that one meeting leads to a long-lasting blog partnership. If you’ve noticed a brand you work with (or want to work with!) is headquartered in NYC, ask them for a showroom visit, a breakfast or a lunch. That networking time is key!
Network with Other Bloggers
I actually prefer to go to Fashion Week alone, because it really makes me step outside my comfort zone and meet new people. Don’t get me wrong: it’s super cost-effective to split a hotel room with other bloggers, but I noticed I was kind of sticking to my D.C. blog crew when I was sharing rooms with friends.
Meeting other bloggers is one of my favorite parts of fashion week, and some of these bloggers have ended up becoming some of my really good friends! Don’t stick to your clique during NYFW.
Prepare for Extreme Weather
Honestly, the weather is my least favorite part of Fashion Week, but, c’est la vie! September Fashion Week is incredibly hot (think mid-80s every day), and February, well, we just had a blizzard on the first day. Pay attention to the weather forecast before you pack, especially if you’re not used to NYC’s crazy climate!
You’re most likely going to end up with some swag during NYFW — yay! I don’t know how the ladies who fly into fashion week do it, because I always leave with bags on bags of things. You definitely should leave extra space in your suitcase, or even bring an extra duffel bag for the goodies you pick up during your trip.
Remember to Eat
This sounds really silly, but guys: when you’re bouncing around from shows to events all day long and in a city that’s not home, it’s so easy to forget to eat. I always pack some KIND bars with me in my bag, because it’s so easy to get hangry. They also usually have a water sponsor at the tents, so make sure to stay hydrated as well so you don’t run yourself down!