While I chose a beach vacation over New York fashion week this season. My First NYFW I attended in Feb’18 is still fresh in my memories. It was a dream come true moment for me. I’ve always been obsessed with clothes and the creative process of designing. However, I wasn’t aware of Fashion presentations until I stumbled upon Lakme Fashion Week (the biggest fashion show in India) in my late teens. I didn’t grow up reading fashion magazines, my inspiration majorly came by peeking into stores every season and by tailoring my outfits.
I never thought I would get a chance to witness months of hard work of designers coming to life in front of my eyes, and not to mention the opportunity to see the amazing designer walk down the runway at the end of every show. It was surreal and magical.
I didn’t plan on going to NYFW, but it happened, fortunately..!
I have to tell this story because NYFW didn’t happen to me so easily and for the fact to any influencer.
I was planning on going since last year but I was not confident enough to pitch in brands and was too chicken to go. The entire process was overwhelming and gave me anxiety whenever I thought of it. My easy excuse was I can’t take off from work.
Thinking so I didn’t send any emails to brands and was feeling regretful about it. On Jan 24th, I received an email from a notable NYC hotel offering me a free stay if I was going to NYFW. I was exhilarated, it was like the fashion gods are sending me a sign that I should attend Fashion week (excuse the drama queen in me, she likes to take over sometimes).
I sat down that day and gathered the PR contacts for all the designers I wanted to attend. It was the end of January, meaning it was about the time brands respond back with invitations. I was late but never too late to try.
I took my chance, I sent invite requests to brands the very next day…!
It took me an entire day to customize and send emails. It felt like I was going to go blind staring at my computer screen all day long. The only thought that got me going was “what if”, what if I got into a show, it would be worth it.
As expected, I received emails saying the show was full and they couldn’t accommodate me. The first few emails were all rejections but slowly, it changed. I started getting invites (yay!! time for happy dance).
And the offer by the hotel kept changing. I ended up not going with them. But I’m thankful for the initial push they gave me.
Basic NYFW FAQ’s
I got several questions when I posted my NYFW pictures on Instagram. Here are the answers to the most asked questions
Why was I there?
Some of you asked if I was showcasing my collection at NYFW (that would be insane, definitely a dream). No, I was there to just watch the collection.
A few years back these fashion shows were only permitted to magazine editors and buyers. They recently extended their doors to the influencer world and I was one of those lucky bloggers who was given a chance to attend some of the shows.
Can anyone attend these shows?
yes if you have an invitation to the show.
How do you get an Invite?
If you are a blogger, or a photographer or a social media influencer, I recommend pitching in brands that are you are interested in, do not expect brands to email you with invites, fashion shows don’t work that way, not at least for newbie bloggers.
If you want to attend a show or an event with a brand, you have to reach out to them (only 5% of shows do not accept pitches). I reached out to several PR companies that handled the invitations for these shows and got lucky to get invites for 8 shows.
How to find PR contacts and what online resources to use?
MODEM – This website is basically the NYFW encyclopedia. It has all the information about the shows like the date, venue and the press contact details for the most designers that are showcasing their collection.
CFDA and FW online– These websites contain the official NYFW schedule. You can use this to decide which days and designer shows you wish to attend.
GPS RADAR – This is what the brands use to send out invites. You need to create an account in order to RSVP shows once you get an invite. Download the GPS radar app on your phone, to keep track of all your invites.
How to Pitch in brands?
Use the Modem online site to find the PR email contact for the designer presentation you wish to attend, if you can’t find it, google it or go to their official brand website and check their contact page for press information.
Send them a short email telling them a little about yourself, your brand (include social media stats if needed), your interest in the brand and that you’re requesting access to a show. Don’t forget to mention in the email that you will cover the show in your social media or blog and anything that will make you stand out, like your prior collaboration with the brand if any, etc.
How many shows can I attend?
You can attend as many as you want if you have the invite. But make sure your schedule doesn’t clash before you RSVP for a show. Also, keep a buffer time of at least an hour and a half between shows. So you have enough time to change and be there at the venue before time.
What to do after you got the invite?
Make sure you RSVP promptly. If you can’t make it to a show due to schedule conflicts or for other reasons, decline the invite, so they can offer it to someone else. The whole point is filling in all the seats for shows, so it’s good you decline the invite instead of leaving it unattended.
What to Expect at NYFW
So far I talked about how I attended NYFW and answered some of the basic questions on how to get invites. Now let’s dive into what I thought NYFW would be and how it turned out to be, the good and the bad!
Expectations Vs Reality
A sudden wave of giddiness swept over me as I saw the crowd waiting outside the venue. Part of me was excited to go inside and the other part of me didn’t want to step out of the uber. Thankfully, I had Lakki beside me, my support system. I had the best time attending NYFW shows, being in the same room as people who also breathe fashion was a fantastic feeling yet there was a moment of disappointment, a moment I felt detached.
It’s all about the shows
Fashion shows are all about celebrating designers, witnessing the moving visual art, and appreciating the intent behind every design. It’s living the excitement of knowing what’s going to be hot on the racks way before your traditional stores tell you.
And, I believed everyone was there just for that….!
Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Every show I attended, I have seen people leaving behind the handouts on their seats. The handouts that shared the idea and inspiration behind every piece that was showcased were left unnoticed and unopened. I also overheard one blogger saying “shows are the most boring thing about fashion week and she was only there for networking”.
It was disappointing to hear such comments coming from an influencer who of all should understand the pain and agony that goes behind creating something. It is regressing how some people no longer see NYFW fashion shows as a celebration of designs and creations.
You meet people from all backgrounds
Fortunately, this was a reality. NYFW is an occasion which invited people from all backgrounds to enjoy a single interest: fashion. I met influencers from varied backgrounds: sales, marketing, medical, and myself from IT.
On the streets of Manhattan, you will witness another compelling runway by fashionistas embracing their personal style. I was amazed looking at how varied and beautiful everyone’s style was. If I lived in NYC, I would have gone to venues just to check out the street style.
All NYFW shows are not hosted in one location
Unfortunately, shows are held at different venues throughout New York. It’s better you check the venue and distance if you are attending more than 1 show on the same day before you RSVP for a show.
Meeting your virtual blogger friends
The other thing I was really looking forward to was meeting my virtual blogger friends I knew from Instagram. It’s funny how you meet someone for the first time and feel like you know each other for so long. I felt that when I met Vyom from panachemania.com at Dan Liu NYFW show. We both agreed that the second best thing about NYFW (first is, of course, the shows) is food since we were both always thinking about what to eat and where to eat after every show.
Your partner/friend/photographer has to wait outside
Lakki was waiting for me in coffee shops while I attended shows. Many thanks to Vyom, who suggested to request the security to let my friend/photographer in with me. It actually worked, I was able to take Lakki in for one of the shows. I wish I knew about it earlier. I would have taken her to every show I attended.
If you didn’t get an invite, you can partner with a fellow blogger who has an invite and attend shows with her.
Shop The NYFW Post
Outfit #1 & 2: Mango Coat (similar here; last seen here) | & Other Stories sweater | Blouse | Jeans (also like this) | Boots | Bag | Earrings | Fiddler cap
Outfit #3: Similar Blouse | Trousers similar here and here | Pumps | Earrings
In my next NYFW post, I will share the details of all the shows I attended and how I chose my outfits. Stay tuned!!