Do You Need Press Credentials to Cover Fashion Week?
By: Jennine Jacob

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The first time I applied for press credentials to cover San Francisco Fashion Week in 2007, they responded that they did not grant bloggers that access. Did it stop me from going? No. One of the designers invited me to cover her collection, and I was able to see a fashion show for the first time ever and cover it on my fledgeling blog.

Over the years I’ve covered fashion weeks in various cities–San Francisco, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, and of course, New York. Sometimes I have press credentials and others not. In the three years I’ve been covering NYFW, I only had press credentials for one season. How is this possible you might ask?

 

What are Press Credentials?

Each fashion week is different, but generally press credentials allow a person to enter into the tents and use the media area, which can come in handy if you need to charge your laptop, download images from your camera, etc. However the Starbucks across the street often has better internet connection, more room and power outlets. Some fashion weeks put your name into a database for PRs to check, like a reference. However, ultimately, it’s the designers and PR firms that make the decision to whether or not you get access to the shows, and what level of access you get as well. You always have to contact the PR firm to get access to the shows, whether you have press credentials or not.

 

Personally, I don’t bother with press credentials anymore. I may apply going to a new city to get an idea of how the fashion week works. Some fashion weeks offer robust packages. One season Berlin Fashion Week gave me a riser pass… so I was able to forgo my seat and get photos from the pit (which are often much, much better). That was definitely worth it. New York Fashion Week? I’m not so sure.

 

No cred? No problem: Other ways you can get access

These days there are several ways to get coverage not just by contacting the PRs, there are companies looking to work with blogger during fashion week and can offer you access to shows. The downside is, that they pick which shows you have access to and it usually comes with strings attached (ie, mentioning their product in your post). However, if you’re just getting your start, this can be a great way to build your portfolio, and build connections for the next season.

 

Learn the Fashion Week Ropes

No blogger comes to fashion week for the first time with a red carpet rolled out for them. It’s usually a process of getting to know how things work and what you need to do to get on the radars of the right people. It’s also a process of learning how to make the best coverage with the access you have. I know now, it’s pointless for me to go to a big show at Lincoln Center if I’m in standing because it’s impossible to get great photos, but at Milk Studios I personally prefer standing.  Getting a standing ticket for other shows, like Proenza Schouler on the other hand enabled me to get great photos, that may not have happened in seated.

 

Either way, my advice is to explore and experiment and find what works for you and your readers. If you’re just starting out, or if you have an established blog and you’re new to fashion week it’s going to take a few times to get used to how things work. I know the first time I went to shows at New York Fashion Week, going to two shows took every bit of energy out, and I came home an cried in the embryonic position. #truestory

 

These days, I look forward to the shows, looking forward to seeing all the people who come in from out of town and of course the IFB Conference. But I’m not sure if press credentials have anything to do with any of that.

 

 

Comments

  1. Cynthia says:

    I normally do get passes – makes it easier for me to get on the invite lists, ok seats and of course, usage of media space. Toronto’s LG Fashion Week is at an event space that is nowhere near Starbucks without driving, so workspace is essential. Besides, with a pass you avoid a lot of lines.

  2. kimmiepooh says:

    Great tips! I won’t be able to go to to NYFW or IFCon this year {tear} but I’ve always wondered how you handled press during this time. I’ll be ready when I finally can go :)

  3. Kalyca Romeo says:

    I have to agree with everything in this post. I just came back from Copenhagen Fashion Week, in which I attended at least 8 shows and 4 parties in 3 days, while others I couldn’t because of time constraints and getting around a new city for me. All of this was done by me simply emailing the designers or PR companies at least a month in advance. Why, if you’re no one to them, getting your name in there before others shall give you a chance into the shows. It’s a bit time consuming, emailing, waiting for the responses, waiting for confirmations and hoping that you get to see the shows, but the rewards far outweigh the work.
    Kalyca Romeo
    http://romeostyle.com/

  4. Really great post! I just started to do some fashion weeks coverage this year, but only form the outside so far… I went to the Paris shows this spring and summer and took photos outside the venues and I was just wondering what you had to do to try to get access inside!

  5. Tineey says:

    Jennine! I’m so glad you did this post. I was really torn on whether or not I needed credentials even though it will be my 3rd season covering NYFW. My worries have subsided :)

    BTW, after my first season, I too was crawled up in fetus position — overwhelmed.

    <3<3

  6. Mai says:

    I’d love to cover NYFW but I’m not sure who to start contacting and if I’d get any luck just walking around aimlessly or not :/

  7. Emi Love says:

    This is fantastic for future reference! I’ll probably remain on the outskirts of NYFW this season but I’ll get to work for next season’s!

    I got invited to a designer who will be presenting at London Fashion Week in September, but the money I intended on using (some leftover from college) has now been used for it, thus leaving me with no way of going there or having a way to stay or anything! I want to email them but keep an open connection for future possibilities but am unsure about how to phrase it (this being my first interaction of that kind). Advice would be super helpful! :)

  8. Tricia says:

    This is so true. Press passes can help if you want to try and crash standing room last minute, which works for a lot of shows, but a business card could do the same once you’re in the door.

  9. Verena says:

    Very helpful! Thanks for posting. x

  10. Steve says:

    This is valuable info! Im an event and lifestyle photographer who wanta to aboot more fashion shows and I can’t thank you enough for this post! Appreciate it!

  11. This post is right on time. I actually just registered for my press credentials for NYFW and I’m still waiting to hear back from them if I will even get them. I hope that I don’t end up in a fetal position at the end of this experience, but I guess we all have to go through our first fashion week experience to learn what it is really like. Thanks again for the post and I do hope you will follow-up to this post with information on how to contact designers and PR firms.

    Cheers!
    S

  12. Have to agree. Sometimes the $80 press fee is not worth it. As Jeannine said it only gets you into the lobby.. You still are on your own to get the invites. In February I passed on the credential mostly due to the bad weather we were having. This time I sprung for it.

    Have to see how many more shows I get this time compared to last season and do the math for next season.

  13. Sherwin says:

    The thing about fashion is to show the best made designs for people to see thus making it popular. Speaking of popularity, Press Media is one best way to expose it.

  14. Sylvia says:

    Wow, great advice. Just what a starting fashion blogger like me needs to know. I guess I need to do some work finding out which PR companies represent my favorite brands…

  15. de la Pen says:

    This post was really truthful. Me and another fashion blogger friend were just having this discussion. I registered for a press pass for NYFW (this would be my 2nd season with a press pass) but I did it b/c you get the updated PR contact list which comes in handy when applying for invites to shows.

    Also, I like to be able to say “accredited member of the press for NYFW” when applying for press passes to other events, it just sounds more official & since my numbers still aren’t huge, it’s a good back up.

    Anyways, thanks for speaking the truth, a press pass is not a necessity, only get one if you feel you really need it.

  16. fuyume says:

    Wow nyfw charges $80 for a press pass. In london they’re free.

  17. WMS says:

    Great post! Fashion shows seem like an untouchable experience only for the uber fashion person who is either press or a buyer, but few people know that it is accessible to the public if you ask the right people.
    For instance, the designer I am currently working with shows at LFW and has been showing for several seasons now, he says that he always has tickets left over for his shows and when he receives ticket requests via email, we just forward them on to his PR who send out the tickets.
    For the upcoming shows in September, we have already had 4 requests from bloggers (2 well known and 2 lesser known) but considering there are always spare seats, I would be surprised if the PR company did not send tickets out to them.
    In short: email the designers/designer’s PR companies if you want tickets and you never know, you may just get some!
    - WMS.

  18. Ondo Lady says:

    Wonderful post. I always go to London Fashion Week and tend to get a press pass which comes in handy not only for the press room which is an experience in itself – but also the exhibition where you can find amazing gems. At LFW there are a lot of On/Off events which is an event in itself and you can sometimes get in there with your press pass.

  19. Citygirlchic says:

    Hi, thanks for this post, I’m currently trying to get into DC fashion week because I live here and have never been to a fashion event and thought this would be the easiest for my first time. I’m worried that I wont get in because I have never covered an event like that before. fingers crossed and thanks for this info!

  20. michelle says:

    great post really helpful

  21. Rachel says:

    I just spent the day sending emails to London Fashion Week designers, so hopefully I got in early enough for consideration. The downside is that I had no idea what to say!!!

    Great post btw.

    xx

  22. I’ve never had a Press Pass for Barcelona Fashion Week, and yet this last summer was my 3rd time going to the shows… Sometimes I can get better pictures and sometimes not-so-great ones, sometimes I sit while others I stand, sometimes I go to + shows, sometimes to less, but always always, if I go, it’s because I’ve been pushing and pushing and asking everywhere and being persistent. My blog is small and barely starting, so I’m used to the disdainful e-mails I usually get from the PR agencies, but I don’t let that discourage me because the truth is, I have a lot to win and nothing to lose. :)

  23. fajri says:

    i start to be in the fashion event by my own initiative by sending invitation inquiry to the PR and so far the respond is mostly positive,i got free media access and here in jakarta Blogger start to have a better recognition

  24. Mary says:

    Great article. I plan on getting more into photography in the future. There are some great tips in here.

  25. CandyForToes says:

    Thank you for this post, I was wondering if I could gain access to Miami’s fashion week events and now I know if I play my cards right I can get in!

  26. Catherine says:

    This is great advice! In past years, I had considered trying to apply for a NYFW press pass, but this year, since I’m moving to London, I applied for one there. Luckily it was free! Even if I’m not approved, they have a list of PR contacts.

  27. Lucinda says:

    I agree that if you really want to cover a Fashion Week, then lack of credentials aren’t going to stop you.

    For me however, applying for a media pass to Australian Fashion Week allowed me to be much more involved in the event. It also made it much simpler to get General Admission entry for shows I hadn’t received invites for.

  28. Mishka says:

    Anyone who can’t get into shows, don’t forget that surrounding areas of any show venue is ripe with content just walking around… street style! Jump on it!

  29. Carolina says:

    Thank you for the great advices, Jennine! I live in Brazil, and as soon as we have a Fashion week comming out, i’ll aplly all that i learned from this post! Kindly, Carol

  30. Katarina says:

    Jennine,

    I love your posts, although my day job is to actually work as a PR for one of the top global cosmetic/homegoods companies, blogging & fashion is where my heart is and I love the casual and honest way you portray your blogging experience & experience with press credentials.

    Mine was similar actually, at NYFW I was interning for one showroom so I had credentials to many shows but for London and Milan I got the tickets from designers.

    Thanks for sharing!

    La Kat

  31. Fashionblogger says:

    Hello! Thanks so much for this cool article!!

    You talk about companies who looking for bloggers to work with them…which ones are they?
    Where can I find them or how they can find me? :)

    thanksss

  32. Janine Claire says:

    PFW in sept is on my schedule.

  33. Renee says:

    Hey,
    I would love to get access to Berlin Fashion Week, but I´ve never been to one before, and I don´t really know who I should talk to in order to get an invite or access. Do you happen to have any helpful infos on that?
    Thanks so much

    Renee

  34. Eshe says:

    I’m really struggling I’m a photographer a videographer and Iv set up my blog last summer but I cannot for the life of me find any examples of how to approach the pr team or designers for example if you apply for a certain job you would tailor your cv to suite the application and that’s what I want to do when writing to the desingers ect but I can’t seem to find a draft or online example to help start me off can anyone help me this is the 3rd time I’ll be going to london but iv never been to a show and my first for paris please help if you can x

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