FAQ: WHAT IT'S REALLY LIKE AT NYFW
I honestly can’t even believe that I’m going into my 6th season of fashion week. As exhausting as this week is, I couldn’t be more thankful for the chance to experience everything firsthand. Each season gets a little bit busier and busier for me; I’m now doing around 5-6 shows a day versus 3-4 the entire week.
As glamorous and fun as Fashion Week is (Yeah seeing Future perform at Philipp Plein was pretty awesome), there’s definitely a side to it that people don’t know about and people don't really talk about. I could sugarcoat the whole week and definitely say it was everything I expected it to be and more, but I pride myself on honesty and being transparent, and really want to start showing you guys those real and raw parts of life, because NO ONE is perfect, no matter how much they pretend to be.
Disclaimer: I’m definitely not a fashion week expert, and I don't know/haven't experienced everything. I’m just getting started with my fashion week experience (hopefully) and these are just my personal feelings and thoughts.
I remember I was honestly surprised and almost disappointed in myself for feeling exhausted and overwhelmed so early on in my first season, but after talking to some blogger friends and other friends in the industry, I realized I wasn’t alone and It definitely wasn’t a bad thing to feel this way. It’s a normal part of fashion week no matter what job you hold in industry) to be overwhelmed, stressed out and exhausted this week. With all the glamorous insta pics and stories that make everything look so fun, please understand there is a side to it that is often shared, which is the stressful and exhausting backend of things.
I struggle with severe anxiety and PTSD and as excited as this week is for, it’s really hard on my anxiety, like really hard. I loose track of the amount of breakdown’s and panic attacks (or unnecessary freak outs) I get on the verge of having.
Every season, no matter how much planning goes into it, I always question whether or not my outfits were “up to par” with the immense amount of creativity that was all over the New York streets. Bloggers and show invitee’s go all out during Fashion week, to the point where you’d probably think “How is what that girl’s wearing even considered Fashion?”. But they do it for the gram, well at least for the intense line of street style photographers swarming the intersections around the show locations.When you arrive to shows, there are street style photographers EVERYWHERE. Generally, they’re shooting for magazines, online outlets, etc. For bloggers, this is a great place to showcase your personal style and create some edgy street stye looks for a chance to be featured online and in magazines in their street style roundups or get additional press during fashion week.
When I first started coming, I was nervous to show up to shows in my outfits, especially alone and my confidence was pretty low compared to everyone else and their amazing outfits, but looking back I realize it’s less and less about getting my own personal style showcased (there will always be a time for that), and its more a place for me to observe and be inspired by everyone else around me. Sure, it’s a great feeling when someone compliments your outfit or a photographer wants to snap a pic, but unlike some people, that’s not my whole point in being there. Instead of feeling discouraged and not good enough, I try to remind myself why I am there in the first place. The fact that I am even able to walk the same streets, and be at some of the same shows as the people I look up to on Instagram, is enough for me. I would much rather recognize a learning opportunity and be able to set new goals for myself, then to achieve these goals right off the bat.
WHAT’S THE POINT?
Editors and Designers, Bloggers and celebrities all attend these shows to get a glimpse at what will be “trending” in the upcoming season. Designers spend months working on their collection to ensure everything is perfect, which will debut over a matter of minutes. You know those memory games where they show you the pictures on one side of the cards and then flip and shuffle them and expect you to know which is which? Its kind of like that. All those editors, designers and bloggers, everyone in attendance has literally seconds to photograph, observe, and remember each piece enough to write about it later, after seeing a million more shows. For a lot of these editors, this means staying up late or pulling all nighters to ensure articles and show reviews are done and completed by their next day deadlines. Luckily for me, a publicists main focus when inviting bloggers is to create a buzz on social media during and after the show, over the collections and trends (including positing on social media’s such as Instagram, Insta stories and Snapchat) so theres not a lot of pressure to get things written right after the show, although this season in particular, I am really trying to diversify my content to make it as unique as possible and have it up as soon as possible (because no one likes to read about nyfw in october LOL). If you follow me on instagram you probably already know I like to wait till after the show when Im in a less stressful place to post show footage so I can go back and rewatch my pictures/videos and make cute edits, plus it can be seen as rude to be on your phone during the show (imagine putting all this work into something and instead of truly appreciating it in the moment, everyones viewing it from their tiny phone screens).
WHAT ARE THE SHOWS REALLY LIKE? ARE YOU FRONT ROW?
Designers and PR agencies either assign guests a seat, or give them a standing ticket. When you're assigned a seat, it’s nice because you guaranteed that seat pretty much. However, PR companies want to see an entirely full show so they will invite people and assign them “standing” or “priority standing” so that they can fill in any empty spots. A lot of the shows my first couple seasons were completely overbooked, and there were entirely to many standing tickets sent out so I found myself having to arrive an hour before the shows even started to check in and wait in line with all the other "standing" people, just to ensure I even got in the show. Now, they’re doing a lot better of making sure that doesn’t happen, but it sometimes still happens on crowded shows (usually late night shows or bigger designers).
If you've read this far let me first thank you. I know this was unbearably long so I'm so appreciative that you took the time to read this! A lot of people (myself included) always dreamed of New York Fashion Week to be this entirely glamorous event with celebrities and models and paparazzi every where. Don't get me wrong, it definitely is a super exciting time filled with tons of A and B list influencers and celebrities, but theres also a reality to that not many people talk about. A lot of standing in line and waiting an hour, just for a five to ten minute show. There’s a ton of running around from location to location, and show to show, not to mention the blisters from running around and standing twelve hours in four inch heels.
Fashion week is difficult and exhausting for most people. You're probably reading this thinking, “come on, you’re sitting here complaining about attending a show with celebrities and famous people where you watch people walk down a runway showing off clothes, how hard can it be”, and yes, basically you're right. But there's a lot more that goes into it; the work begins usually around July/August when show schedules are finalized and released and then the hustle starts (pitching, negotiations for brand collabs, planning schedules and outfits, etc).
Shows are scheduled on the top of every hour so if you have full days of shows (like I usually do), that means a lot of running around and outfit changes, with not a whole lot of time in between. Shows rarely start on time, so if you have back to back shows and your first one starts late, its pretty much impossible to make it to your second show on time, especially if your show is across town. Luckily, since the majority of shows start late, its kind of a given in the industry that everyone is on “fashion week time” aka running at least 15 minutes late.
DO YOU GO ALONE?
I started out going to every show by myself, which definitely isn’t how I’d pictured it would be. It was very intimidating walking up to shows by myself, surrounded by groups of A list bloggers and famous influencer cliques. At times, I felt like I was being judged for being alone or not being apart of a “clique” or judged on my outfit choices. I think this is probably apparent in any industry, but because of the competitiveness of blogging industry, it creates a lot of comparison and some people are stuck in the cattiness of that high school mentality. (Side note: not EVERY show was like this, and it definitely has gotten A LOT better. You will meet a ton of really great people who are super nice as well!)
Don't get me wrong, there are a TON of amazing and friendly people in the industry and I was super fortunate and am so grateful for the friendships I have, but I’ve definitely had my fair share of people who are unwelcoming, unfriendly and down right conceited because they have “a lot” of followers. Fashion Week, especially, has a weird way of making people feel more important than they are (give a girl a front row seat to one show and she expects it at every show). I think some people get so caught up in the glamorousness of fashion week and wanting to be recognized or seen as a VIP, they they forget to be humble and thankful that life has even brought them there in the first place. I remember looking around during the finale of my final show on the last day and thinking “wow is this really my life?!”.
I am just so thankful that my hard work is paying off and that people even consider what I do to be influential and important enough to be invited. I always try to be thankful for not only every opportunity given to me, but also appreciative of every ONE whose given them to me. I think for some reason, people think that once they make it they don't have to be appreciative of who helped them get there, and forget to be a kind human being to others. I’ve seen so many bloggers reach a certain level of engagement or hit that magical number of followers, and start to treat everyone else like Sh*&. If you aren’t nice to people, they aren't going to want to work with you, brands especially, and you're not going to get very far. Its as simple as that. Yes, blogging is competitive, but that doesn't mean you cant be nice to people. I always believe in collaboration over competition, and you never know when you’ll end up needing that person or wanting a connection that they have.
The more shows you go to, the more you will network and the more you will meet people. Everybody has to start somewhere, and looking back it kind of blows my mind how many familiar faces I see at shows. I’m lucky to have the friends in the industry that I do (ya know who you are :P) and networking and meeting new people is the only way I’m going to feel more comfortable and less alone.