New York Fashion Week was something I always DREAMED of attending. Except, making it a reality was something entirely different. I grew up thinking the ONLY way to attend a fashion show was to
Be a model
Work for Vogue
Be a celebrity
While that is (partly) true, there are so many other ways to get invited to fashion shows! (good news for me! And you!)
I had a lot of fears going into New York during this time including:
Do I belong here?
Will I get invited to any shows?
Will I be making a fool out of myself?
Will it all be for nothing?
Who’s going to go with me?
How will I get content?
Where will I stay?
etc, etc, etc.
I decided to cut the crap, and go along for the ride! What was the worst thing that could happen other than my own disabling thoughts and fears getting in the way? The answer : nothing. I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. So I went to New York with an open mind, and if I didn’t get to go to specific shows or parties I knew I was going to be OKAY.
A year ago I had no idea bloggers/influencers could attend fashion week. And when I did figure this out, I thought only the BIG bloggers/influencer could do. I figured unless you had half a million followers, what was the point? This couldn’t be further from the truth and I was so glad I went with an open-mind because it turned out to be a whirlwind of emotions and an experience I will never forget!
Returning To New York
The last time I went to New York was during the holiday season two years ago with my boyfriend Tim. It was our first time if New York and while I loved the holiday decorations and festivities that took place, I kind of had a miserable time. Why? Well it was super cold, windy, and my boyfriend and I thought the city was super trashy. (I mean it is but thats not the point haha). It was really hard to take in the city when the cold, harsh wind was blowing in our faces, we’re shaking from the cold, and all we wanted to do was to go back to our hotel, take a hot bath, and drink hot cocoa.
I was extremely surprised with myself when Tim and I touched down in New York this September and were met with sunny skies, warm weather, and a new outlook on the city that we previously didn’t have.
This changed my whole outlook on New York City! Taxing a cab from the airport I was in awe with the city. I could see the entire city clearly (no grey skies) and felt that “pulse” everyone always talks about.
Tim and I decided to stay in midtown at The Blakely, which was a couple blocks away from The Plaza, 5th Avenue, and Central Park. We figured this was the best area to get around, get content, get to events, and have access to things.
That night, we took it easy and after settling into our apartment, unpacked and walked around to find a dinner spot. We decided went to Ruby Tuesdays to avoid crazy lines and unknown menus and chowed down at the salad bar. Then, went to Dave & Busters to play some games and relax before the hustle and bustle of fashion week started tomorrow.
First Days Back In The City
Call me naive, but I had this expectation that walking around the city, I’d see a bunch of fashionistas dressed in killer outfits parading the streets of New York City. This wasn’t further from the truth. The majority of people I saw were the same types of people I saw last time I was there. Tourists, businessmen in suits, workmen, etc.
It wasn’t until I went to the first show that I saw where all the “fashion-people” were. And there were a lot of them. It brought be back to those high-school dance days where everyone is dressing their best and putting their best foot forward.
While my boyfriend could care less about what everyone was wearing, I was amazed and infatuated with everyones outfit. I looked at some and thought “why didn’t I think to wear that?!”, and others I thought “I could never wear that!”, or “wow that girl nailed that look!”.
It was my kid in a candy story moment, because I was while I was soaking up all these fabulous looks, I was not paying attention to where I was walking, where our destination was, or my surrounds. (Not a good idea when you’re walking around the city in heels).
It was very clear after attending my first show at Pier 59 Studios that a fashion show never starts on time. Our first show at scheduled at 6pm (if I remember that correctly) and we arrived at the entrance at 5:30.
We checked in, walked up the flight of stairs, and waited in line for half an hour before walking into the room. We (I) sat waiting with excitement to find that after sitting there for another 30 that the show still hadn’t begun. I checked my phone several times to make sure we were at the correct show, at the correct time, and everything was accurate.
Eventually, at 6:45 the lights went down and the show started. So my advice? Get to the show enough ahead of time that you can get in, but don’t get your panties in a bunch when the show doesn’t start on time. It won’t happen, so take that time instead to soak up the atmosphere of the venue, chat with the people around you, take photos, get some video, and relax. Also please go to the bathroom beforehand.
Our first big hiccup same for a Style Collective blogger social I had scheduled one evening. It was raining outside, but the event was near Rockefeller Plaza so I didn’t think it would be overly difficult to find as Tim and I were familiar with the area. Maybe it was the rain, or the delay getting to the area, trying to get a couple shot before the daylight completely disappeared, but we were in a frenzy and were not able to find the location of the event of the life of us.
We both had the address on our navigation, and we continually walked in circles without any luck. After half an hour I really wanted to give up as my feet were killing my and my hair was matted to my face from the rain.
This was one of the events I was most looking forward to, because I really hoped to meet new blogger friends and socialize. So it was incredibly disheartening that we were not able to find this location of the event despite asking several people for guidance.
After going inside, outside, up, and down, we decided to call it quits and call an Uber. It wasn’t until we got in the Uber, sat down, and I looked out the window that I felt a wave of panic. I asked Tim, “Is that really the event? Right there? At the Ann Taylor store?”
He said in a low voice, “Yeah, it looks like there’s bloggers in there…”
And I thought, great. We walked around everywhere but that one location, which is so incredibly obvious now that I can clearly see it. With 15 minutes left in the event, I had to be positive and not get upset with myself over this, but take it as a lesson learned.
It’s impossible to attend every event, and time everything to a T. It’s not realistic, and if you let these things trip you up, you’re going to ruin your fashion week experience. So while I cursed myself for being so stupid, I knew it wasn’t the end of the world, and had we found this location before getting into the Uber, the doors might have been closed and we may not have been able to get into the event anyway.
I very quickly discovered how hard it was to go to all the events, parties, and shows I originally put in my schedule prior to flying to New York. A couple late nights, early mornings, and several outfit changes a day can wear a girl (and her boyfriend) out!
Not to mention, the time is takes to get around the city. My boyfriend and I took Ubers and Lyfts everywhere when we had more a few blocks to go. This because very costly, and took precious time out of our day, and eventually we had to prioritize what was most important, what was really worth our time and energy.
This meant not going to a couple shows. But added rest and sanity for the two of us. And while I say other bloggers go to some of these events, I tried not to get discouraged because I knew going to these events would take away from something else I really had wanted to do.
Tim and I went to an event for a jewelry launch at The James Hotel. I did not know what to expect, other than they’d be jewelry, drinks, and food. After getting out of our Uber, we walked in the lobby and signed in, then were directed to the elevators that went up to the penthouse where the party was lcocated. We went up with another couple and got off, then walked down the hallway into the event. My initial thoughts were “this is a penthouse?” “I hope these people aren’t paying a fortune for this place”. Obviously, I’m not a New Yorker, haha.
There weren’t a lot of people in the room, but it was most definitely crowded and it was impossible to walk anywhere without running into someone else. Lots of “sorries” and “excuse yes” took place.
Tim and I grabbed a drink then toured the apartment. There was a small sitting area with appetizers, a bedroom adjacent to the main room with hair and makeup styling taking place, a tiny bar area serving drinks, a table with the new jewelry collection, and a very small bathroom.
I instantly felt very uncomfortable and awkward. I was so glad Tim came with me to this event otherwise I would have bolted. We had our drinks, chatted a little, then left.
I honestly was disappointed. I spent an hour getting ready, another half hour in the Uber over here, it was rainy outside, and my feet hurt. I would have much rather spent my time shopping in Soho or discovering a new restaurant to eat at.
After that event, I really had to be honest with myself – “am I going to these events because I feel like I have to, or because I want to?”.
The main reason I came to New York truly was not for the shows, events, or parties. It was to get content. I packed 12 outfits (and bought several more while I was there) and I did not want to miss any opportunities because I didn’t know when I would be back in the city.
So Tim and I quickly developed a schedule of shooting in the morning. get lunch, then attend our other events at night. We tried getting some shots at night the first couple days and later realized the neon lights destroyed our photos.
With a better plan in place, we were more productive and were able to do some of the other things I desperately wanted to do during our stay including shopping, coffee shop hopping, and visiting untouched neighborhoods.
Our Last Days In New York
By this time of the trip, I wanted to stay longer. Unfortunately this wasn’t possible but I felt that there was still so much more I wanted to do. I had a list of boutiques I wanted to visit, cafes I wanted to stop by, restaurants I wanted to eat in, and locations I wanted to shoot content in.
I also had several friends that contacted me and wanted to get together but I couldn’t because of everything else Tim and I had planned in our schedule. I received more show invites that were going to take place after our departure day, but had to politely decline. While these things made me disappointed, I had to be grateful that I was able to come to New York in the first place, and not count my losses. I could always come back!
On our last day, Tim and I shot four outfits in Soho (which later became my favorite place to shoot), ate lunch at an amazing hot pot restaurant in China Town, and attended another show later that night. I still had more outfits and locations I wanted to shoot in, but I knew I had done all I could muster, and was overly grateful I didn’t have to pay for a photographer and Tim was such a trouper.
Packing everything up again was a hassle, because our four suitcases were already full of things when we left. We managed to squeeze everything in, and were all set to head home and saw goodbye to New York.
I couldn’t have been more thankful that I was able to go to New York during this time. Even if I wasn’t there as long as I would have liked, I had to be realistic and take the positives from it. I got to attend Fashion Week with my boyfriend, I got to attend some amazing shows and parties, I made new connections, and I got the content that I wanted more than anything.
And while there were still things I didn’t get to see, or do, I know there’s February Fashion Week, and can knock more things off my list then.
I encourage anyone out there who’s a influencer/blogger to not place doubts on yourself or let any negative thinking get in the way of you pursuing your dreams. I knew I wasn’t going to be attending certain shows, or get invites to particular shows, but I wanted to go and experience what I could, and I urge you to do the same. I gained so much knowledge and insight on going this past September to fashion week, and got a much better idea on what I’d like for coordinate and do for my next fashion week. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing something new!
If you have any further questions please feel free to reach out! I love meeting new faces and starting discussions!
Bonus! Getting Invited To Shows
Now as I said before, unless you’re already “in” the fashion industry, and are of importance, it’s really hard to get invited to shows. If you are lucky to be an individual who is part of the press, works for a magazine, or a celebrity, you will get invites without having to life more than a finger. But, if you are a blogger, you have to put some pre-planning and work in. And this work needs to be taken place weeks before the first show. Here’s what you can do if you are a little blogger such as I and still want to attend the shows!
About a month or so before the shows, the official Fashion Show schedule will start to be released. The best and easiest way is to do a simple google search – “NYFW Show Schedule”. Pay attention every few days, because new entries will be added. You will then need to research the individual PR contacts for each show and contact them. Quick reminder – a lot of shows/presentations are not listed on the official schedule, so you’ll have to do some rummaging around the web. The best thing to do is structure a pitch email, and send it out to as many different brands as you want. Then, if/when a contact gets back to you, you can make your official RSVP depending on what fits into your schedule!
(Be aware though, the lists are usually pretty small, so it’s unlikely that you’re get invited too many shows, especially the “bigger” more famous designer. Don’t let that discourage you though, you never know who may say “yes!”)