It is that time of year again, Fashion Week, or rather fashion month, is about to kick off. Every February and September the world of fashion gets tipped on its head with four back to back Fashion Weeks; New York, London, Milan, and then Paris. When I lived in NYC I used to go to every season of NYFW and now that I live in London, I plan on doing the same. And you may recall, in September, I went to Milan for a few shows so having been to 3 of the 4 I think that qualifies me to give an insider view of what it is really like.
I heard someone last week compare it to Disney World and I couldn’t agree more – it is a big game of hurry up and wait. Just in heels. I have broken down my tips and thoughts into seven sections for guide to surviving Fashion Week:
1) TIMING | The clothes shown are for the following season – in February you see the Fall / Winter collections and in September you see the Spring / Summer collections. For example, next month the F/W 2020 collections will be showing. This gives the buyers at the shows enough time to place the orders, the factories or showrooms the time to make the pieces, and ship them to the stores in advance of the season starting.
2) INVITES | I love planing ahead, and by that I mean vacations at least six months out. With fashion week, it simply does not work like that. In my experience the earliest invites come a month ahead of time. But like I said, we are less than a month out and I only have a handful, do not worry, they come late. `The earliest I have been invited is six weeks before and the latest is seven minutes before the show starts. Not kidding. Now unlike birthday parties as a kid, if you were not invited, it is completely acceptable to contact a brand and ask to be invited their show but make sure you include a pitch on why they will benefit by having you attend. And be prepared for non responses and rejections, it’s normal. Unless you are Beyonce.
3) SEATING | Not everyone sits, there are definitely standing tickets. The seats are sometimes individual (A-2-7, section A, 2nd row, seat 7), sometimes the4y are by zones, and sometimes they are just seated versus non seated. That isn’t to say if you have a standing ticket you will be left teetering in your heels. Just before the show starts often times the ushers have the standing people fill in any empty seats to make sure it looks packed for the photos, just be ready when this time comes! ** What row you are in is the perceived importance – I know some who would skip a show rather than sit fourth row.
4) PHOTOS | It Is a free for all – DSLRS, phones, iPads, etc. you name it, it will be there. The only advice is the professionals are at the end of the runway and they are paid to get the shot, do not get in the way. That means do not cross your legs if you are in the front row (your shoes will stick out) and do not extend your arm into the runway for a shot. Also be considerate of your neighbours, they are likely trying to get the shot or see the pieces too.
5) ATTIRE | This is completely up to you but my advice is always to show up as the best version of you, and completely polished. Now if for you that is a top knot and sneakers, but you can Kate Moss it, go for it, but for me that is a dress, heels, and nice bag. I would advise no visible logos unless you are wearing the designers merchandise and have time to switch before the next show.
6) TRANSPORTATION | It differs by city, but it is always a mess. Your best bet is to bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes and figure out the best public transport as the Uber / Taxi / Private Car lines tend to be far slower.