It’s fashion week season – the season that majority of fashion enthusiasts and fashionistas look forward to. Around this time of the year, a lot of designers – well known and upcoming alike – display/showcase their latest collections for the public to relish. Metropolitan cities like New York, Milan, London and Paris often host these shows semi-annually (in February for Spring/Summer collections, and September for Fall/Winter collections), for about 7-9 days.
While the idea of fashion week is exciting and the aforementioned cities are on bucket lists, it can be quite daunting to attend these shows, especially if you are still up and coming. One must either receive an invitation or submit an application to be admitted. You simply can’t buy tickets to these shows. I remember the time I so desperately wanted to attend either the New York or Paris Fashion Week – I had prepared myself mentally and raised my hopes beyond the roof! At the time, I was under the impression that all it took was purchasing tickets and flying there. So, I had begun to get outfits ready, and told myself that it would be an exciting time. I was going to live my dreams and attend these shows, but, to my dismay, I discovered the steps involved and, much like a little girl whose candy had been taken away from her, I was crushed! So close, yet so far! I completely abandoned the thought and moved on to other things because I did not want to cause more damage to my delicate heart.
In doing so, I certainly made a mistake. I wasn’t aware that you could still be immersed and get a good experience without being invited or accepted. Essentially, you can attend from the sidelines by being a part of the street style and attending open-to-the-public shows or other smaller events featuring upcoming designers. So, if you did not get an invitation or acceptance, do not be discouraged! With New York Fashion Week having commenced and getting the ball rolling, here are tips to make your experience as awesome as possible:
Prior to your arrival, do your research. I simply can’t lay emphasis on the power of doing your research. It is extremely important to do so. Find out all there is to know about the event itself, and the city so that you can explore. One good thing is, dates are usually announced at least few weeks prior. So, that would definitely help you plan better. Check for dates, and possibly locations, so that you can make necessary arrangements, and do so regularly because things change sometimes. We’re human beings and things are bound to happen. For example, I checked the dates for this year’s Toronto Fashion Week sometime last year and February was displayed. On checking again in January, to confirm, it had been changed to March. You never know; it’s better to be safe than sorry at the end.
After penciling in the dates, plan your outfits. Step out of your comfort zone. Be extra but don’t go overboard. Dress to impress. As much as the shows are important, street style is also important. It’s part of what makes it memorable, and an easy way to gain some exposure. Check out street style photographers like The Sartorialist, Street Peeper, Le 21ème, Tommy Ton, to get outfit inspirations and get heads turning once you hit the streets.
Now that you’ve done all you can before the event kicks off, ensure that you give yourself ample time to get everything sorted upon arrival. Check into your hotel or where you might be staying, organize your luggage, map out your day, explore. You essentially have to be ready to be on the go at all times, especially if you have a lot on your to-do list. Plan your schedule such that you also leave room to accommodate uncertainties. It’s always good practice to follow the organizations in charge of the events to ensure you’re up to date with necessary information. For example, following CFDA for New York Fashion Week, French Fashion Federation for that of Paris, British Fashion Council for London, or National Chamber for Italian Fashion for Milan.
If you’re attending any shows, give yourself enough to get to other shows, and always plan to be there earlier! You’d definitely want to take pictures and possibly have your pictures taken so
accommodate these. Also, make sure your gadgets are fully charged, and take extra batteries or power banks with you. Having them die on you is a definite no-no. All the great shots have to be taken, otherwise, what's the point? (Just kidding). While we’re still on pictures, it’s also important to take into consideration that everyone else would want to take pictures too, so avoid getting in anyone’s way.
Ah! For the fun part, watching the show itself! It’s quite fast paced and often times, the shows start on time and are usually minutes long, but they could also start a lot later. Plan to arrive on time regardless. More often that not, you'll find that front row seats are assigned, but your luck can also take control because situations where more people are needed to fill front rows arise. However, if you do not get a front row seat, don’t fret! You can still have fun and get a glimpse of the show at least. It’s not uncommon to seat at the back, especially if it’ll be your first time.
When you have some downtime in between, explore and immerse yourself in the culture. Find restaurants to eat, places to visit, fun activities to do depending on your interests. Find some inspiration and allow yourself to enjoy your time there. Your downtime is really important, as it will allow you to de-stress and recuperate. It also makes the entire trip more memorable so don’t forget to kick your feet up and have a good time. Before I leave you, some of the dates for this round are:
New York Fashion Week: February 9th – February 16th
London Fashion Week: February 17th – February 21st
Milan Fashion Week: February 22nd – February 27th
Paris Fashion Week: February 28th – March 8th
If you won’t be able to make it to any of them, there are other ones going on (like the Toronto Fashion Week from March 9th – March 14th, and much more). They are also less daunting – you can purchase tickets to see the shows you want – so, take advantage and plan accordingly.
After all that’s been said, I hope you found this helpful, and are able to take a thing or two away to guide you if you’ll be going to any of the fashion weeks. And if you won’t be going, don’t worry, you’re not alone. You haven't been left out. You can watch it live here, and see pictures here, in the comfort of your home.
Peace and Love.