Congratulations! You have received invitations to shows at New York Fashion Week for the first time. Now, you are wondering what to wear, and what to bring. Never fear, I’m here! In 2013 I was in the same place as you, wondering how to survive New York Fashion Week!
I have had a few people ask me how to navigate fashion week. So I decided to do a write-up with a few tips to help you survive your first fashion week! If this is your first time attending fashion week, or you are just curious about what it is like behind the scenes, then I have written this for you!
New York Fashion Week is a combination of glamour, and hard work. If you have ever attended a trade show, it is very similar except instead of everything being under one roof at a convention center, everything is spread out throughout the bottom half of Manhattan. Charge your phone battery, it will be a fast-paced week!
Without further ado, here are my tips for surviving New York Fashion Week glamorously.
Multiple, portable phone chargers. You will need your phone for social media, hailing a cab, an Uber, or a Lyft; and for showing your invites at the door. I carry three portable phone chargers with me to get me through the day. Always carry a plug in charger too, some restaurants provide plugs.
Arrive to the show early and get in line; especially if you have a standing invite.
Register with Uber or Lyft: Cabs are hard to hail, and sometimes you will be in a rush. Plus there are hundreds of people, just like you, trying to hail a ride after the show in order to rush to the next show. Make life easy by having a ready-to-use Uber or Lyft account.
Print your invitations. If your phone dies, and your back-up batteries fail (yes this has happened to me) you will need an invitation to get into the shows. Always carry your printed invites so you can still get into the shows without your phone. Once inside a venue, you might have a chance to charge your phone. Pier 59 Studios has plugs in their restaurant, just leave one for me if you use them! 😉
Making the Most of Fashion Week
Take great photos. If you are taking pictures but do not have a media pass, give up your seat to a standing guest and stand next to the photographer’s risers. The photographers are friendly and may even give you some helpful tips!
Carry a back-up camera battery: Just like your phone, you will go through your camera battery quickly. Always have a back-up in your purse.
Band-Aids: It does not matter how comfortable your shoes are, you will be standing and walking all day long for a week. You will need Band-Aids. Trust me on this one. Keep them in your purse.
A safety pin. You never know when your skirt might get caught in a cab door. Always have a safety pin on hand for accidental wardrobe malfunctions.
Eat a big breakfast. Your schedule will be choppy and your breaks will be at weird times. Eat a breakfast sandwich or good amount of protein. 300-500 calories is OK for breakfast during fashion week. You will burn it off standing, walking and rushing around. Plus, you might not have time for lunch until 3pm, so you will want to be full!
Grab the free water bottles. The sponsors leave bins of water bottles for guests in the main venues. Grab a water bottle to stay hydrated, and full, between meals.
What to Wear
Choose comfortable yet funky footwear. Your beautiful 4” Christian Louboutin’s were not made for fashion week. Your comfy creepers, ballet flats, or street sneakers are perfect. If you must wear heels and kill your feet, carry flats so you don’t fall over after the first show. I like this pair online here. Even when you have an assigned seat you will stand for anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. Be smart and protect your feet or you will not be able to endure your schedule for shows for the day; or the entire week for that matter!
Dress for the weather. It might be tempting to wear that fluffy faux fur coat you just got for fall at the September shows, or that cotton sundress you bought for spring at the February shows, but you will die of heat stroke, or freeze to death. Dress for the weather and show off your new handbag of the season. It cannot make you hot or cold. Love that!
February show tip. There is a lot of ice, and sometimes snow, on the ground at the February shows. Look for shoes that grip the ground. I always wear lug sole shoes so I don’t have to worry about slipping. I have seen plenty of well-dressed fashion week guests slip on the ice and fall flat on their backs. That’s not fabulous. Don’t be that girl. Wear good shoes.
Wear a roomy handbag. As cute as a small saddle bag looks with your outfit, your camera will not fit in there! Make sure you have a sturdy handbag, in a dark color, which can handle a little abuse. It will need to be roomy enough for your camera, a pair of fold-up flats, a water bottle, and other necessities. Here are a few handbags in varying price ranges (hover for prices), which are perfect for fashion week.
How to Act-Fashion Week Etiquette 101
Network. There are so many interesting people at fashion week. Talk to people while you are standing in line, and waiting for shows. You might make a new friend! I have made a few friends in line at fashion week. It is a great way to meet like-minded people who work in fashion, such as yourself. Plus, you might meet someone who you can do business with in the future. Networking rocks!
Don’t take selfies on the runway. Don’t be that lame person who snaps selfies of themselves on the runway. The golden rule of fashion week, no selfies on the runway or during the show! Just don’t do it. You will make a fool of yourself.
No standing during the show. If you have a seat, there is absolutely NO STANDING! If you have a standing ticket, make sure you aren’t blocking anyone in the seats, and be courteous to other standers. Everyone needs to see the runway as badly as you, don’t be a blocker.
Take off your hat. Hats block other people’s views. No-one cares if you have hat hair, no-one is looking at you. They are there for the designer, not you. Take off your hat and place it nicely in your lap.
Don’t cross your legs on the runway. If you are seated in the front row, cross your ankles or keep your feet square and tucked under the chair. Absolutely no crossing your legs. Your feet will end up with the runway photos of the professional photographers and that is a huge no-no. Don’t be that person who looks like they know nothing. Do not cross your legs!
Tuck your handbag under your chair. Your handbag cannot be seen on the runway if you are in the front row. Tuck your bag neatly under your chair, out of sight. Same with other rows, no-one wants to trip over your bag. Use your etiquette.
No sitting in the aisles or on the steps. Don’t sit in the aisles, if there is a fire you will get trampled and endanger the lives of others. Listen to the ushers who are directing people as to where they can safely sit or stand. Stay out of the aisles.
Be nice to the ushers! Many of the ushers are volunteers, usually fashion students, or new to the PR business. They are young, sweet, and have to deal with egotistic people all day. Be nice and listen to them.
Ask permission to sit. If you have a standing ticket, ask one of the ushers if it is OK to take an open seat. They are likely to be nice to you, and might even hook you up with a first or second row seat.
I hope these tips help you have a fabulous first fashion week! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Also, if you have any additional tips to share, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Thank you and have a fabulous fashion week. I will see you in New York!