Five Things I Learned in 20 Seasons of Fashion Week

Kiledjian-8This spring/summer 2014 collection marks 20 seasons/10 years of covering fashion week (yikes, I feel old!), so, if I may dare say, I may be a “seasoned pro” at this juncture. What's the point though, of learning all of the nuances of New York Fashion Week, if I don't share them and help others?  I've written a few posts for IFB over the years on A Blogger's Guide to Fashion WeekCovering Fashion Week, Fashion Week technology (Fashion GPS), but on more of a personal note, here's a few things I picked up along the way:

Don't Run Around From Location to Location

Seriously. Don't. Not only will you more than likely be late or even miss a show, but you will either go broke spending money on cabs, or, in the event that there are no cabs to be found, quickly wear your feet, and body out by walking excessively in cute but uncomfortable shoes, and carrying a heavy bag stuffed with a camera, laptop/tablet, supplies, run-of-show programs, power bars, and more. The days that I've gone back and forth several times between Lincoln Center, Milk, and/or some obscure super far west side location are the ones that have truly done me in. It's great to be ambitious and try to get it all in, but in reality, you don't have control of the actual time shows will let our or the traffic in Manhattan, so do yourself a favor and work your fashion show schedule to have chunks of time/shows in a row in the same location, or if you must run around, allot at least 30 minutes to make it in between venues!

Give Yourself Sufficient Meal, Sleep, Indulgence, and “Do Nothing” Break Times

Before you know it, you've RSVP'ed yes to every show that's come your way, and when you finally put together your schedule, you realize that there is one schedule on the hour every hour, or even every half hour if there are presentations involved, for the entire day. Make sure there is enough time to take a load off, grab a sandwich at a nearby cafe, or head to a lounge or hotel room to just chill out. The adrenaline rush and frenetic pace, as well as the waiting game can make you feel both physically and mentally exhausted, so try to eat regularly, get as close to normal sleep as possible, and start taking a great multi vitamin or one for energy regularly before even fashion week starts (I like B-12). I find that trying to stick to as normal a schedule as possible will keep you healthy and energized throughout the week.

Bring as Many Phone Chargers with You as Humanly Possible

Honestly  – I'm not kidding! Buying a portable charger will well be worth it's price just to use at fashion week alone! While you are in a show or waiting in line you can just let it charge up then, instead of searching frantically for an unused plug, then idly standing there while it charges a percentage a minute. I have both a Boostcase ‘Hybrid' and a small McNally charger for my iPhone, along with an actual wall charger, and also camera a backup battery for my camera. Checking email, taking pics, and using social media apps while drain your phone in no time, so be prepared to handle the battery situation on the fly when it becomes critical, as it most certainly will!

Learn the Physical  Shortcuts

Here's one tip for you: if you are cleared to cover both backstage and the shows at Lincoln Center, and are in the “Stage” or “Theatre” tents, you don't have to go back outside and make a huge U turn by walking all of the way back down the street, around the corner, then down to the front entrance again; you can exit into the main area through the door near the American Express Skybox! This proves to be especially important knowledge for the shows in February, when it is freezing, and possibly snowing outside.  Another important tip: scope out all of the bathroom locations, as there are more than I bet you think (and with much shorter lines), and remember to drink (or conceal) beverages (besides bottled water) before you go into the shows; the last thing you'll want to do is have to throw out or chug that Starbucks cappuccino that you waited in line 20 minutes for, because the guard at the entrance to the show spotted it. Last shortcout: the runway area may look like the most direct (and exciting) way to go after the show let's out, but if you want to truly exit quickly (or even enter the show), I've found that the fastest was is usually shooting straight up to the back and walking down to the exit that way, avoiding the crush of the crowd, air kisses, getting stepped on, and sometimes even shoving!

 Master the Digital Shortcuts

As far as digital shortcuts go, I used to print out EVERYTHING;  the invites, the GPS confirmations, and the hard copies, clip them together according to day then time, and place them in their own folders. Needless to say, it was a lot of work! Find a system that works for you, but for me, as I RSVP for shows and receive the confirmation codes, I add all of the info into a google excel doc . Then I have a folder in my email for the invites, a separate one for the GPS confirmations, and a separate one still for my backstage coverage confirmations. That way, if I need any specific piece of information, there are several organized placed in which I can find it; just remember to do the tip above and keep your phone/device charged!

Another digital tip: it's not necessary to register as press with IMG for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, although I always do, so that I don't have to always dig through my massive bag  or scroll through my phone to show an invite to the security guards. Having your badge on gains you access inside, to the lobby area, and then, it acts as a great calendar/triple backup to my system, as you can just scan the barcode, and it brings up the shows registered and synced to your Fashion GPS account, so that you can print them out one at a time or for a block of hours, and get your seating assignments in one fell swoop. Super easy! Occasionally, a confirmation doesn't come up in the system, so that's where having your show invite/confirmation info elsewhere is crucial.

Last tip: if you are registered as press, you can gain access via Rightster to embed the live stream of shows from the Lincoln Center and Milk Studios venues on your site, which was offered for the first time last season and as I've experienced, can really help your readers to be a part of the action. You can run it on continuous play or user-started, and it is also a great reference for you too, so that if you want to review a show that you missed, need to re-watch, or can't make it to, live, and all you need to do is go to your own site. It really couldn't be any easier.

Will you share a New York Fashion Week tip with the IFB community?

Image Credit: Nando Alvarez

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13 Responses

  1. Sara Kinnunen

    covering London this season but can surely use some of those digital tips! thanks!

  2. Sarah Lee

    Info like this is so valuable! I’m planning on going for the first time this spring, and I just bookmarked this- I’m definitely going to refer back to it. Have a great time!

    🙂 Sarah

  3. Scott

    I think these tips are applicable to attending any conference. Especially printing out the days events/tickets/itineraries and putting them in a folder.

    I recently went travelling around Europe, and although you can keep most of this stuff on your phone nowadays, there’s nothing better than having a hard copy in paper.

  4. Ashley Taylor

    I’d kill to go. I entered the Lookbook contest to be able to, but I don’t think that’s happening 🙁 Oh well! One year, maybe.

    xo Ashley

  5. Maddie

    nice! im super excited to join next year’s event! 🙂

    these don’t just apply to fashion week, almost any travel event actually!

  6. Peach Black

    It’s so funny to read these tips for NYFW when you come from a small and completelly unorganised country as I do (Slovenia). Bloggers here are completelly ignored on FW. There are only 3 seats on FW for us and children are in sitting in the front row. And when they have to pea in the middle of the show parents stand up and carry them across the whole runway to the toilette. It feels like watching a circus show more than a fashion show. So lame :/ I’m ashamed of how fashion is treated in my country, and I wish one day I will be able to go to NYFW. <3

  7. LoveBrownSugar

    Julia, you hit the nail on the head with these tips. This is exactly what I tell my interns/contributors before their first NYFW. Thanks for summing this up in a post. And great tip regarding the exits under the tents. HATE having to go outside after covering a show backstage to get front of house lol

  8. Layla

    Oh these are actually wonderful tips…I hadn’t thought of taking extra chargers to events as you have a point….tweeting, instagramming and taking pictures will definitely drain phone battery and camera battery…wonderful point!! 🙂

    Layla xx