How to Sit Front Row at Fashion Week (& 5 Other Tips for Navigating Like a New Yorker)
By: Caroline Vazzana
Other than Christmas and New Years Eve, there is no crazier or more exciting time in New York City than Fashion Week. A time, in my opinion, where the real world seems to be put on pause, and only the “fashion world” ceases to exist.
Depicted in many televisions shows and movies, Fashion Week is made to look like the culmination of the industry and one of the greatest times in the city, and I really believe it is. But, if you’re just starting out in your career, landing a ticket and navigating the Fashion Week scene isn’t as easy as it looks. So, to make things easier for you, and to save you from a faux pas, I’ve rounded up my best tips and tricks for navigating Fashion Week like a pro. Enjoy!
Be Prepared to Network
If you are looking to further your career and make some new connections, there is no time better than Fashion Week. At shows you will be rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest editors and designers in the industry so come prepared. That being said, bring your business cards! When you’re meeting all of these people, its super helpful to have a business card to sort of seal the deal and will help them remember who you are long after your conversation ends.
Always Keep Your Phone Charged
During Fashion Week, you will be Snapchatting, Tweeting and updating your Instagram, so as a result your battery will go faster than a pair of Manolo Hasigis pumps at a sample sale. To prevent missing out on the perfect shot, come prepared. I've personally invested in a Mophie and always also come prepared with a portable charger. Between both of these, my phone is able to last during my twelve-hour days.
Fake it ‘Til You Make It
When navigating the Fashion Week scene, it’s super important to pretend you know what you are doing even if you have no clue. When walking into a show (or sneaking into a show) have your game face on, pretend like you are supposed to be there- even if you aren’t. If someone asks you whom you are, say you are a, writer/ editor/ stylist, make your career sound reputable and super important and soon enough people will actually start to believe you.
Take the Subway
Despite seeing editors and celebrities taking black cars to every show, taking the subway is actually much more practical. Think about it, during fashion week everyone and their mother is trying to get a cab so the odds of you getting caught in traffic are SUPER high. To skip the traffic and make your show on time, take the subway if you can. I hate to admit it, but the first half of fashion week last season, I was taking cabs everywhere I went. Not only was I wasting a lot of time, but I was also wasting a lot of money. Sure enough, I tried taking the subway a few days in and realized that it was so much faster. Lesson learned!
Dress to Impress
Fashion Week is the one time of year where you can wear the bright printed dress or metallic pants you bought ages ago on sale, but never had the courage to wear. Believe me, you will fit in. People dress up in the most outlandish outfits so that photographers will snap their picture, so, if you want to stand out and leave a good impression bring your A game and push the limits. For reference, you can see all of my Fashion Week outfits from last year here.
Don’t be Afraid to Speak Up
Probably one of the most important tips I can give you is, do not be afraid to speak up. For example, several seasons ago, I was attending a show and was seated in the second row. I walked in and happily found my seat. But, as show time began to approach, I spotted a handful of empty seats in the front row. I made it a point to flag down a PR person working the show and asked them if I might be able to move up and they were happy to accommodate.
Note: PR people want the shows to look full so filling up the first row is their priority. So, if a few minutes before show time the front row isn’t filled, they will begin asking people in the rows behind to fill it and if you’re outgoing, friendly, and speak up you will definitely be allowed to move up, as long as there are in fact empty seats. Another thing to keep in mind is that most fashion week shows start about thirty minutes behind schedule, except Marc Jacobs. Marc Jacobs is known for always starting on time.
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