One of the joys of life these days, and I know I am ultra-privileged, is that my life offers me the opportunity for international travel, with my learned and adventurous spouse, and, oh!, the places we go! I’m in London and Paris each year, and I’m determined to go to a Fashion Week show. The calendar for the next year is not cooperating, but that won’t stop me; it’s in my sights, and I am aiming hard for it.
One of my inspirations was this article last year in The Telegraph, and it is all about me: “Fashion month is becoming increasingly consumer-facing. In September 2015, French fashion house Givenchy offered 820 free tickets to the public to watch its SS16 show in New York, while young French designer Simon Porte Jacquemus followed suit and offered 40 members of the public the opportunity to attend his Paris Fashion Week show, simply by entering their email address into a prize draw on his website. Burberry have announced plans to restructure the entire model to be all about you.”
At the other end of the inspiration spectrum, following a recent encounter with Anna, in Antibes, I recalled this gem, “Anna allegedly had Advil delivered to her on a silver platter at the DVF show. Because #luxury #power.”
FWO (Fashion Week Online) notes the rules for being in, rather than out: “Industry New York Fashion Week shows are reserved for buyers and press. Most buyers and press outlets contact the design houses directly. Bloggers can submit for accreditation to producers like IMG. IMG registration generally opens up a few weeks before the events. Several thousand people apply, and only a small percentage are accepted. There’s also an application fee (usually around $80), which doesn’t guarantee approval. And even if your application is approved, that still doesn’t guarantee admission. It simply allows you to submit to the various designers for their consideration to actually attend shows.”
“More and more opportunities are being offered to the public, via prize giveaways, and opportunities to buy tickets, from people such as Macy’s, emerging designers, and more. There are also various other companies of varying degrees of legitimacy offering “tickets” to New York Fashion Week. In general, we don’t recommend companies selling “tickets” to New York Fashion Week. For volunteer opportunities, try some of the producers of New York Fashion Week, or individual design houses.”
“London’s most prominent series of events are held by the British Fashion Council. As with Mercedes-Benz’s series of events in New York, you’ll need to register on the official site (in this case, that of the British Fashion Council). You’ll also need a verified address in London to register (presumably to show you’ll actually be able to attend if accepted). But if you can’t get into those events, you’re in luck. Because directly following London Fashion Week is a four-day, open-to-the-public series of events called London Fashion Weekend. And yes, you can buy tickets!”
“To attend Milan Fashion Week, you’ll need to register at the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, which organizes the shows of Milan Fashion Week.”
“Even though New York came first, Paris is still considered by many to be the grande dame of all fashion weeks (Paris having been the epicenter of fashion for most of the history of Western civilization). As with the other fashion weeks, you can apply for accreditation, this time at the French Federation of Fashion. (You’ll note the screening process is more intense, and the language on the website a bit more stern.) You can also try emailing the designers directly, as each season the schedule is posted with each designer’s press contact. You’ll also need a verified Paris address in order to attend. But you don’t have to wait for fashion week to see a runway show in Paris. The Galeries Lafayette has runway “trunk shows” (showing new collections debuting in-store) throughout the year, and they’re free to attend.”
So where to start, The Fashion Calendar is the place. This is the comprehensive listing with names & contacts addresses, it’s free online, or you can pay to subscribe to the luxe version. A more affordable subscription is vis DFR: Daily Fashion Report. Vogue and WWD have lots of talk, but no contact info.
The standard is that almost all Fashion Week shows are by invitation only. “If you are a legitimate member of the press you can request coverage of the event but this may also be limited to amount of press and to where you can go. Legitimate means your work, writings, photos, video footage, appear regularly in a venue or several venues.”
Other insight, maybe my time IS now? David Yi on Mashable this year, “Did social media kill fashion week once and for all? Is anyone paying attention? That’s the question I asked throughout New York Fashion Week this season, when the entire front row was too busy Snapchatting their favorite looks, using specific geofilters for their videos, Instagramming shots within seconds of seeing an outfit.”
Mashable from prior years: “So how do bloggers gain access to this major industry event? There are two main ways to get invited to the runway shows and presentations: 1) by registering as a press member via the official website, and 2) by asking individual designers for invitations to their shows. Registration is the best way to start. If accepted — and only a small, albeit growing percentage of bloggers are welcomed each year — you’ll get a press pass and access to all relevant press releases and contacts.”
1. Find the right brand contact.
2. Include all relevant information.
“When it comes to invite request etiquette, there are also plenty of don’ts. Don’t drop names, and don’t request a +1 or exaggerate traffic stats, Fierro warns. Lastly, never request a front-row seat. “If you have to request a front-row seat, you’re not deserving of one!” ”
3. RSVP in a timely manner.
4. Be persistent.
“If you do get your credentials, but don’t receive an invite to a show you were itching to cover, don’t give up. Arrive before the show starts and ask the PR representative in charge of check-ins for a standing room ticket. You won’t have the best views, but if you can develop nice coverage out of the experience, you might just land a seat next season. Your in-person meeting will also prove that you’re professional and committed to your craft.”
5. Be grateful.
6. Establish connections early.
Lastly, even if scoring a Fashion Week invite proved to be mission impossible this season, you can still get your digital front row seat by watching livestreams of the show online, many of which will be hosted by YouTube.
Sounds formidable. I’m not worried, I can always just sneak in aside my spouse, who is, a) a famed photographer; b) effortlessly glamorous; c) always attired in Prada or Loro Piana; d) clearly should have been on the “in” list.