When I consider the emotional and physical exhaustion, plus the stress that it puts on every aspect of my personal and professional life for the week long fashion olympics/marathon known as fashion week, I'm oftentimes tempted to sit out a season, and see how it goes.
In all honesty, I think the biggest impact it would have is more out of FOMO (fear of missing out) than anything else related to my career and blog.
There seems to be a common assumption that if you have anything to do with fashion, you naturally would participate in fashion week, but more and more, I don't believe that it should be a mask for establishing credibility and authenticity in the fashion game.
Now approaching my 11th year covering New York Fashion Week, I think that I can lend a solid opinion on four points as to why you can sit it out, and feel guilt-free about your decision. When deciding if, and even how much you should participate, ask yourself these things first:
Is It What You Usually Do?
If you have a steady focus on covering the runway looks, brands, designers, and trends, then heading “to the tents” may be for you. If it feels like a stretch for your blog or think your readers don't really care about it, then the water gets a little murky over fulfilling a personal desire to attend versus a blog-related one.
If you are dying to experience it, maybe come once, and only for a few days of it opposed to the entire week to see if it may be worth it for you. Look at your stats on social media and blog analytics afterward to see if they spike, drop, or stay the same. This may give you a tangible, factual reason to participate (or not) in it again.
Are You Reaping Direct, Monetary Benefits From Being There?
This is an easy one; it's pretty much a yes or no! Usually a month or two out from fashion week, I will pitch around some ideas to brands that are fashion week related for collaborations, sponsorships, and guest posts that take advantage of my time and experience at the shows. I also cover fashion week steadily for some of my freelance work, so although it isn't blog-related, I'm still making money off of attending the event.
In order for me to justify taking my time away from my other work responsibilities and personal life, I need to reconcile it with an actual dollar amount.
I think it's a good way of thinking, by starting to put a dollar amount to your time if you don't already, because it can make doing right by yourself that much easier.
Is It Cost Prohibitive?
Leading in from the last question, attending fashion week can be EXTREMELY expensive, even for us locals who live here and can navigate around with minimal fuss. Even so, during fashion week I pretty much eat every meal out, buy coffee like a fiend, have to take taxis or Uber between short show time slots at different locations, and sometimes pay for wifi and beauty services to look my best for the week.
If you're coming from out of town, having to pay for transportation and can't stay with a friend or family member who lives in the area for free, it's going to get very uneconomical fast, since NYC hotels are constantly at a premium price.
How Much of What You Need Can Be Found Online?
Sometimes I honestly feel like I wasted my time going to a show, due the limited visibility I had from my seat to the lack of information about the looks/collection, to the suffocating herd-like crush of the attendees rushing out afterward. A few seasons ago I relegated the last day of New York Fashion Week, which has the least amount of shows, Thursday, to a “working from home in my PJs,” voraciously digesting all that I saw throughout the week, and pumping out a ton of articles kind-of-day.
It felt really great to write uninterrupted, occasionally watching live streams of shows while I worked, reviewing streams and images of shows from earlier in the week on sites like Style.com, and going through the emailed press releases on beauty and fashion that had been sent within 12 hours of the respective shows ending.
I really had all that I needed, thanks to the wonders of the online world to have not attended the shows at all, with an unobstructed view to my 22″ monitor of the glorious new looks arriving in stores in the coming months.
I never have to work hard to find what I need online that's in reference to fashion week, and there are several digital streaming sources to use, with my most-used one being the one I embed on my site, the Official Live Stream from Mercedez-Benz New York Fashion Week, provided by Rightster.
So based on your answers to these questions, are you going to chill at home this season, or will I see you at NYFW?
For more helpful IFB features on fashion week, see here.