Guide to New York Fashion Week

Happy Tuesday friends! Many of you have been patiently waiting for today's post. First, thanks to all who sent in questions and emails seeking advice. Was so glad to see so many of y'all interested in learning more. Let me also preface today's post by saying, the tips I'm giving are simply based on what I learned from my trip and advice that was given to me by some awesome mentors. I'm in no way an expert or novice, and still feel extremely new to the fashion week game. But hopefully what I discuss in this post is helpful to some of you!

I broke today's post down by "before," "during" and "post" trip. Hopefully that'll help make things easier to read and understand. I also included some photos from what I wore the first day of our trip. The blazer and top are from Ann Taylor, my black denim jeans are linked here and the shoes are from Aldo (photos by Lauren).

Any who, let's jump right in shall we?! This is a BIG post, but is PACKED with tons of great info! My apologies for the length, but there's just too much to share!

Before // Thinking of attending Fashion Week?

It wasn't till late November that my friends and I began the conversation of going. We went back and forth with the idea. Our main hesitancy was whether or not we were ready. Were we experienced enough? We realized that it doesn't matter how big or small you are, as long as you go in managing your expectations. It was our first fashion week, so we knew going in that our trip would mostly be about learning and soaking up the experience. We didn't want to aim too high, but didn't want to set our sights too low either. Some things to consider before deciding whether or not to make the trip…

- Understand why you want to go. Are you going to attend the shows? Are you going just to be in the area and shoot outfits outside the tents? Are you going just to connect with brands? Are you going for business or fun, or a combination of both?

- Find a mentor. If you're new to fashion week, I highly suggest talking with someone who has been before. I found that some people were more helpful than others, but if you connect with friends they're usually very willing to help and offer advice.

- Decide if you're going to go by yourself or with friends. The biggest thing to understand is that fashion week is very, very busy. While you can definitely make time to do things with your friends, there are many moments you'll find yourself alone. Whether that's running to a meeting, attending a show or stopping by an event. While my friends and I were very fortunate to do a lot of things together, there were several times we were running around the city by ourselves.

- Go with people who understand your purpose. This is a big one! While it may be so much fun having your boyfriend with you or best friend, if they don't really understand the purpose of your trip, it can add an unnecessary stress. The majority of your time is about business. So whether you're making connections with brands or taking photos for your blog. every second you're there you're promoting you. So make sure you surround yourself with like minded peeps. For example, if you're a blogger, go with other bloggers! If you're a shop owner, go with other business owners. By surrounding yourself with similar people, it'll make things that much easier and provide more possibilities of doing things together.

- Decide how long you want to go. For your first fashion week, I'd say three - four days is enough. The days are so long and so busy, that you may not last the entire eight days of fashion week. Anyone hardly does. Decide whether you want to go at the very beginning or during the week. I really liked the Thursday - Sunday timeline. It was so cool being there for the first day, and first show! The only thing I'd change for next time is I'd prefer to head up late Wednesday night after work and get settled in, as opposed to leaving at 3:00 a.m. the morning of and going almost 24 hours straight. If you can, take the time to get up there and don't add the stress of missing any shows or meetings due to train or flight delays.

Before // You're going! Now what?!

YAY, you're going!! Once you decide to make the trip, it's time to get to work. There are many things you need to do beforehand, and let me just say that I wasn't nearly as prepared as I should have been. But, it's all about learning right?

- Find somewhere to stay. You can either book your own hotel, or reach out and inquire about media rates. Some of the smaller, boutique hotels will host bloggers or media personalities for free in exchange for blog and social media posts! Other hotels give discounts or media rates. So you may not necessarily get to stay for free, but you'll end up with a better deal and a pretty sweet room!

- Book your travel. Whether you're flying, driving, taking the train or MegaBusing... book early to save money. 

- Reach out to PR agencies and setup brand meetings. Start sending these about a month or so out. Send as many as you can. The more you send, the better chance you have of getting invited to a show or a brand welcoming you into their showroom.

- Follow up. It doesn't hurt to follow up with brands or PR reps. Just make sure you give them ample amount of time to respond and are polite. 

- Don't overload yourself. It's great to plan and setup meetings, but you don't want to overwhelm your schedule. Things pop up last minute to attend, and you don't want to have to cancel on someone. You also want to make sure you give yourself enough time to get from point A. to point B. 

- Plan your outfits. I wasn't very good about coordinating in advance, so a lot of pieces I wore I already owned. If you have the time, reach out to brands to see if they'll sponsor an outfit or if they'll comp you a few items. This will also help cut down on the stress of rummaging through your closet days before.

Show invites. Let's discuss. I know many of you are wanting to hear this more so than any other tidbit included in this post. There are several ways to get invited to shows.

- By emailing PR agencies. You can easily find contact information online, it just takes some work and some digging. You can't just email the show designer and be like, I want to attend your show. No! Each show is represented by a PR agency. There are lists on the internet that display each show and their agency reps. You can also find their contact info from googling and doing some research.

- PR agencies reach out to you. When I got invited to the Marissa Webb show, I received an invite to another presentation a few days later. It was so out of the blue, I never even emailed them about a ticket. I came to find out the same agency that represented Marissa Webb, also represented this presentation. So sometimes agencies just add you to their outreach list.

- A friend gives you a ticket. Sometimes a friend or someone you know cannot attend a show they received an invite to. I'm not sure if this is frowned upon, but I know some people will go in place of someone who can't use their ticket.

- A brand invites you. Some large brands will receive show invites and request bloggers go on their behalf to cover the show. If you can snag these collaborations, you're amazing! Not only are you getting paid to go by the brand or at least dressed by them, you're getting a ticket to a show. Win win for sure! 

I'm sure there are other ways, but these are the most common. When you reach out to a PR agency, just keep it short and sweet. Explain who you are, why you want to attend XYZ show and say that you're requesting a ticket. Keep it to 4 or 5 sentences, max. A PR rep can receive thousands of requests per show, so they don't have time to read your five paragraph email or skim through a media kit. If they want to know more about you, they'll do their research. Be sure to include links to your blog and social media handles under your signature.

Also, make sure you are spelling the designer's name correctly. Some designers can have lengthy and tricky spellings, so double and triple check your emails.

During // You made it! You're at New York Fashion Week

Soak it all in my friend. Don't waste a second and if at all possible, say yes to everything (within reason obviously). This is your chance to shine, make countless new connections, but also enjoy your hard work. Some things to keep in mind though…

- Business cards. Have them with you at all times. You never know when or where you'll meet a PR person or brand rep. So that lady you began chatting with in the restroom when she commented on your adorable skirt... it can turn into a business partnership. The last thing you want to do is have no card to give her when asked.

- Take care of yourself. Make sure you pack some snacks in your bag for the day and always take advantage of the free water stands. Hydrate and rest in between things. Take flats or comfortable shoes to wear in between meetings and shows.

- Always be on. I know it can be exhausting, but when you're meeting with a brand or waiting in line for a show, know that people are watching. You never know who's looking and listening. Remember, you're representing your brand, so don't be overheard complaining or seen visibly upset. This isn't hard to do, because you should be having an amazing time anyway!

- Don't be afraid to say hello. Everyone there is in the same boat as you. Don't ever be afraid to say hello. I still regret not saying something to Julia from Gal Meets Glam. I rode in the elevator with her and Thomas after the Kate Spade Show and just clammed up. It was the perfect opportunity to introduce myself to one of my favorite bloggers, and I let it pass me by. Don't ever think, "i'm not cool enough or big enough." Girlfriend, you are THERE!! You are cool enough and big enough. So be kind, don't interrupt interviews and just go for it! Now if only I listened to myself when I was there, ha!

- Combine things. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, combine. Hoping to meet up with your blogger friends for lunch, but also want to connect with a PR friend. Combine. It opens the door for new connections on both sides, and frees up another block of time for you.

- Don't cross your legs on the front row. That's one way to get a ticket to "never coming back land." Listen to the rules of the runway and abide by them. Not speaking from experience, but speaking from things I witnessed.

Post // You're exhausted. It's okay to take a day or two to yourself!

After a whirlwind few days, it can really take it out of you. You'll be tired, exhausted and hangry. BUT every second was so worth it. Just know that it's OKAY to take a day or two for yourself when you get home. Book a spa day, cancel your morning errands or meetings and sleep-in, etc. Do what you need to do to refuel.

Post // Keep in touch.

The post is just as important as the pre. If you made a ton of new connections while you were there, contact them. A simple "so nice to meet you" email will suffice. You never know what one simple email will lead to. Send thank you emails and notes, especially to brands that gave you product to wear. Send thank yous to PR reps who got you that free hotel room, and thank your mentor(s) who helped get you there. If you have an address, send a personalized thank you note. I've said it a million times, but a handwritten thank you note GOES SO MUCH FURTHER than an email. So if you can, do it.

Wheewww. Are y'all as tired from reading as I was from writing this? Sorry for the length, but hopefully there was a lot of helpful tips for you or for anyone considering going to fashion week. Like I said, I'm still learning. My first fashion week was everything I dreamed of and more, and I hope everyone who wants to gets the opportunity to go!

Did I miss anything? Leave in the comments below any additional questions you have. Happy to answer if I can. Thanks for reading loves, xoxo!!


Anonymous said...

Love these tips and also love the oxblood accents with all black! So chic. MUST recreate this look. Thanks for the tips!


Primp & Proper said...

Thank you!! So glad you enjoyed the tips and outfit. Let me know if you do recreate the look soon!! Xo

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