A few days after I came home from NYFW (you can read all about my time at the February shows right here), I sent out a Tweet asking y’all if you wanted me to share my tips and tricks on getting into shows and making the most of this week long event. The response I got was overwhelming since, while NYFW seems so common to some, a lot of bloggers really aren’t sure how it all works exactly. Before I started Poor Little It Girl, I worked at a few fashion magazines in NYC for about 4 years, having attended the shows (first at Bryant Park an then Lincoln Center) multiple times. And I will say, my experience going to shows as an editor as opposed to a blogger is totally different! Basically as a magazine editor, you’ll get invited to loads of stuff without having to lift a finger. But for us regular old small to middle tiered bloggers, you have to put in the grunt work well before the start of NYFW to get into just a handful of shows. So here I am, sharing all my secrets to how I make NYFW work for me as a blogger…enjoy!
2-3 Months pre-NYFW
NYFW is not really something you can say “Oh I want to go this year!” the week it starts. It takes planning. So about 2-3 months prior to the shows I put the pedal to the metal and started pitching hotels. (Obviously, this step doesn’t apply to those that live in NYC, the Tri-State area, have a friend with a comfy couch they’re happy to let you crash on, or have enough money in your bank account to afford the crazy hotel prices of NYC!) What this means is I reach out to a handful of hotels asking if they would host me for a certain number of days in exchange for social media/blog promotion. Now, this is a crazy busy time of year and you’ll get a lot of “Unfortunately due to the high volume of guests this time of year we’re not able to collaborate at this time.” emails. Which is OK! If they can’t comp your stay, ask if they have a media rate? Get a group of bloggers to stay with you to help split the cost and expand the coverage. NYC hotels are super expensive (and I’m super cheap) so I pitched probably 30 hotels looking for my stay this past February. When you do this though, be realistic about what you’re going to get. Like, don’t pitch the Plaza Hotel or the Four Seasons (I mean, if you’re a big ass blogger then go on with your bad self and do that!), but stick to boutique hotels who have a small social media presence who could use the extra coverage. I usually head to Trip Advisor and search “best boutique hotels in NYC” and start emailing them all. Sometimes I call asking for a PR contact, sometimes I email their info@ hotel name accounts, or sometimes I find a direct email and do that. Really, it just depends on the hotel. (You can usually find all that info on the hotel’s website.) In your email, all you really need to include is your blog name and highlights of your brand (were you featured in a magazine, named a city style-setter, etc? Something that makes you different from the million other bloggers emailing them), dates you’re in town, your social media reach and what you’re willing to do in exchange for a stay. I’d keep this email short and sweet, maybe 1 paragraph, and that’s it! They don’t need to know “It’s been my dream to go to NYFW since I was a little girl and blah blah blah” so keep it professional and concise. And don’t attach your media kit unless they ask….they’ll never open it.
1 Month pre-NYFW
About a month or so before the shows (This coming New York Fashion Week is from September 8-15th, respectively) you’ll start seeing the schedule fill in for what shows are when during NYFW. You can literally just google “NYFW (insert season) Show Schedule” and you can find it that way. I like to look up the previous seasons schedule (you can find it here) and make a “wish list” of shows I’d like to attend, and then research PR contacts off of that. Remember though that a LOT of shows/presentations are NOT listed on the official schedule, so you’ll have to do some digging. What I usually do it request just about anything and everything, and then see what fits into my schedule and then RSVP YES to those specific shows.
So what do I mean by “request” when it comes to NYFW? Like I said in the beginning, unless you’re a top tier blogger or a magazine editor, chances are you’re going to have to request tickets to get invites to shows. Now, some shows do their NYFW ticket requests in-house (i.e themselves) and some brands hire PR agencies to manage their attendee list for NYFW. Basically the best thing to do is to email everyone. Over the years I’ve built up a long contact list for shows I like to go to, but sometimes you have to search. Again, it’s a long process and there’s no one way to do it. Now, I know some bloggers will apply for press credentials to shows in hopes of getting tickets, but I prefer to go straight to the source and just send an email to ask. Again, whatever works for you, go for it. Actually, I’ve never heard of a blogger having a great experience apply for press/media credentials for NYFW so I’d skip that all together personally.
When you send a request email (this past season I probably sent around 200 emails, not kidding), keep it short and sweet, just like the one you did for your hotel pitch. I keep mine SUPER generic so I can send the same email to a bunch of brands, but for shows that I’ve attended a bunch of times and have a great relationship with the brand, I’ll personalize it. These people are getting hundreds, if not thousands of emails asking for invites to the show, you rambling on and on (again, skip the “it’s been my dream since I was a little girl to attend…”) isn’t going to make you stand out. I usually divide up my emails I send out to PR Agencies and then directly to brands, since the verbiage is going to be a bit different. For PR agencies I send a somewhat generic email asking for invites to any shows/presentations they’re coordinating this season (if I’m not sure what they all are) and for brands I’ll directly ask to attend their show/presentation.
2 Weeks pre-NYFW
Follow up! Every single ticket request you sent (if they didn’t respond) should get a follow up email. Nothing long, just simply saying you’re following up on your request. I usually get more response from my Follow Up emails then I do my original pitch emails…so this is an important step not to forget. And as you get invites to shows/presentations, make sure you don’t RSVP YES to a something that you know you won’t be able to attend! Brands know when you’re a no-show and you don’t want to get the reputation as the blogger that says they’re going to come to things and always flakes. Only say YES to things you know you’ll be at.
This is also the best time to download the Fashion GPS app. Majority of brands use this app to send ticket requests and seat assignments, in addition to via email. Shows you RSVP yes too will pop up in there and it’s an easy way to keep your schedule organized. When you arrive to the shows, a lot of times you’ll need to scan your barcode thing, which can be found right in the app. It’s foolproof and makes life a lot easier.
You want to take the time to set up showroom appointments or meetings with brands. Now, I know you’re excited to go to NYC for Fashion Week, but don’t forget the importance of you sanity and the lack of cabs in NYC – so don’t schedule so many meetings your head falls off. I really only reach out to 3-5 brands/PR agencies that I’ve cultivated a great relationship with and see if they want to set up a breakfast meeting or if I can pop by for a showroom visit. This is a great way to make face time with brands you love and get to know each other on a personal level.
1 Week pre-NYFW
Start packing! Depending on how long you’re going (I usually go for 3 or 4 days, the entire week is just too much for my grandma self), you’re going to want to start planning out outfits. Don’t forget, February shows are COLD, September shows usually bring rain, so you’re going to need loads of layers and again, cabs aren’t that easy to find when everyone is trying to snag one. I brought heeled boots this past season that are usually super comfortable, but 9 hours on my feet said otherwise, so for the rest of the shows I ended up wearing sneakers, jeans and a big coat. And honestly, my new vow for any future NYFW trips is to always dress comfortable! Forget the heels, forget the fancy dresses, just be yourself. In a sea of a million bloggers and wannabe’s trying so hard…it’s refreshing to stand out for NOT going overboard. Your feet will thank you.
Other little tidbits to do at this time are to confirm your hotel reservation, train/plane ticket is set to go, and make sure you blog/social media posts are all scheduled out since you may not have time to do all that while in NYC. Also make sure your show schedule and your meeting schedules are organized and move anything accordingly. You can receive ticket invites to shows literally up until the day before, so stay on top of your schedule and make sure you don’t double book. This is also a good time to set up some brunch, lunch, and/or dinner reservations with your friends/fellow bloggers while in town. The hot places fill up fast so it’s best to be prepared.
Things To Know During NYFW
So you get tickets to a few shows and you’re so excited, then you see that you don’t have a seat, but are handed a dreaded “Standing” assignment. Don’t stress! Standing tickets are actually sometimes better then those who get actual seats because 10 out of 10 times not everyone shows up to the show, so they use the Standing people to fill in the empty chairs. I can’t tell you how many times my standing self got a front row seat at a show because of this reason. Just make sure you’re standing near the stairs/on the side so you can slide right in. But this also means don’t be the asshole that just sits in another persons seat without knowing if they’re there or not. Some bloggers do this and I personally disagree because, having been on the fashion magazine editor side of things, there’s nothing worse then seeing some wannabe in your spot who’s acting like they own the place. Just be respectful.
During the shows/presentations, you’re welcome to bring your actual camera with you to snap shots! Believe me, no one wants to see your blurry iPhone image on Instagram, so if you have a good seat and are able to get a great shot with your real camera, do it! Just don’t start standing up and knocking people over for the shot. I sat next to a girl (I think we were in the 2nd row) who had her camera with her and was basically on top of me trying to get a shot. I pushed her, don’t worry, and she got the idea to back off. I was too cold and too tired to deal with her crap. I typically use Snapchat for inside the shows and will Instagram pics from presentations where you can get a good shot and the models are still.
One of my biggest pet-peeves is when bloggers blast all over social media “Oh my gosh, my week is crazy!” or “The craziness of NYFW is here!” or whatever else they say to act like they’re just soooo stressed out when really, they’re just complaining to make themselves sound cool and important. Be mindful that not all of your readers care that you’re at NYFW, so you want to make sure not everything you’re doing is so focused on this trip. Sure you need to be doing your social media promotion and such for the hotel you’re collaborating with, but make sure you’re still mixing in some non-NYFW posts on your blog and social platforms so you’re catering to everyone.
And I guess most importantly, have fun! NYFW is a great time to connect with bloggers from across the nation that maybe you’ve been friends with on Twitter but not IRL, so make those brunch reservations, do some touristy sightseeing, and remember that while you’re there for work, NYC is also the most amazing city in the world and you want to soak it up as much as you can. Hope to see all y’all at NYFW in September!
Have any additional questions? Make sure you leave me a comment below!