Eventually, everything changes, and regardless of if we like it or not, we have to accept, and adapt. New York Fashion Week this February for the fall 2014 collections was certainly a test of that, with everything from the actual layout and look to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week changing to security measures and the way technology was used to go about business.
Being at 21 seasons now of covering the shows, with eight of those years as a blogger, I'd like to share my experience and observations from this past season so that the IFB Community can have a better idea of what to expect next season.
Shows Still Ran Fashionably Late But Overall Was Less Chaotic at the Front of House
“Front of house” is basically the audience/dealing with the check in and seating of the show goers, and it was certainly less of a hectic experience than it had been in the past. Shows still started, for the most part, about 30 minutes later than their declared time, however, I sensed that the ebb and flow of the guests attending shows went more smoothly with the heavy use of barcodes to scan in the attendees.
Crowd control was also applied to the entry, as you could only enter the tent area from the outside about 45 minutes prior to the show, and any kind of loitering was discouraged.
In the past, people camped out alongside the walls or anywhere they could find a seat, however this was discouraged this time around, and perhaps it was a coincidence, but the lack of a coat check option made sure that you weren't going to be settling in for the long haul.
Less Bloggers Got Approved For Press Credentials, But Guess What?
It didn't matter anyways! I spoke to some fellow bloggers who got denied this season for an official press credential but were approved in the past, however, since they already had existing relationships with brands, they were still invited to the shows. My badge actually stayed stuffed inside my wallet, hardly ever seeing the light of day because I used my phone to gain entry every single time.
Press credential or not, you still need to show a seat assignment on a hard copy, printed ticket, or phone to get into the tented area, then to actually enter past the vestibule, THEN again to have it scanned to get into the show, then yet again to get in your respective line (standing or seated) at the actual show's doors. Quite a process? Yep!
But keeping all of your confirmations organized in your email account or Fashion GPS app is essential; registering for a press credential? Not as much!
I Recognized Fewer Bloggers…but Venues Were Spread All Over Town!
The reason why the decision was made to have the centralized location of fashion week was to cut down on impromptu, unsafe, unaccommodating locations being used for shows, as well as show goers traveling all over the island of Manhattan for them, yet, it seems like we're right back at that issue again. Whereas in the past I've seen dozen upon dozen of familiar blogger faces, I only saw about a handful this time around, and I can't really say for sure if it's due to tighter security, but it may have been acerbated by an exodus from the tents by a bunch of crowd-drawing brands this season.
More west side locations were used, a good 40 blocks or more south of the Lincoln Center area, which were most easily accessible by taxi (but good luck catching one leaving), creating a diaspora of fashion folk sprinkled all over the place. I think too, the weather may have been a bit of deterrent, but really, there's not much of a need to stress oneself out, jetting around town to shows when a great majority are live streamed, and the images and info will be available online in a mere couple of hours.
Some bloggers I spoke with opted to sit out of the vast majority of the shows to focus on just a few, getting content up in a more timely manner or sending it out strictly via social media as manageable when there were less places to go and write-ups to deal with for fall 2014.
There was…Practically NO WHERE to Take Outfit Photos Inside
No kidding. Part of the redesign of the venue was to create an exclusive atmosphere, perhaps VIP room in a club was the inspiration, but it was darker than dark. Ceilings, walls, floors, sponsor booths- all covered in black. It was so dark, that I dropped my black glove, and practically had to get nose-to-floor in order to find it. I think a lot of people complained about it, so I imagine things will (hopefully) be lighter and brighter next season, however there really was no place to pause and take photos, let alone get ample light for good ones.
The best spot was standing on the Mercedes-Benz platform, RIGHT next to the car they had parked there on display, which created a bit of a light from the bottom, a LED light glow….yeah, I took a few there… as it was the only option, but was kind of embarrassed by it because its positioning is front and center. There was a tiny bit of photo op action going on outside, but was really toned down since the weather was so bitterly cold the entire time.
I imagine the outside will be flooded with those seeking pictures, come September, when one will no longer have to wear two coats which still prove not warm enough for this ghastly winter.
Keeping Your Phone Charged Is EVERYTHING
Like I mentioned before, since so much of your information will sit on our phone in order to go to the shows and there are multiple check points, it's crucial that you keep your phone powered up, now more than ever!
I think the venue recognized how heavily it was having people rely on their phones, hence sponsors Smart Water and Diet Coke had several charging stations available, which I would run and stand there for 10 or 15 minutes, waiting to get a little more “juice” because both of my wireless backup batteries had already been drained for the day. It's interesting how technology has come to play more of an integral role with the functions of fashion week, however, how swiftly we can be knocked off of our game with a dead battery. Good thing I couldn't use my phone to take all of those fashion week selfies I had planned, thus saving my batter a little longer!
As a backup, I had dumped all of my shows into an excel spreadsheet with the confirmation code numbers that I printed out, so that I could at least punch them in and print out to a receipt to enter in case anything happened to my phone.
Please add to the conversation and share your experience with this past fashion week!
[Image credit: Lucky Magazine]