The Truth About New York Fashion Week

August 29, 2019
truth about new york fashion week
truth about new york fashion week

In the Grand Scheme of Your Business,
It Doesn't Actually Matter

Every year as August rolls around I start seeing the posts in the Facebook groups - "Okay ladies, who's going to NYFW this year?" - "Has anyone started pitching for NYFW?" - "NYFW is around the corner. I really want to go. How do I get in?" truth about new york fashion week

And every year, I roll my eyes.

But I get it. I really do. When I first started blogging, fashion week felt like a necessity; if you weren't there, you weren't doing something right. You weren't 'important enough', 'successful enough'. truth aabout new york fashion week

I originally did what I thought I was supposed to do. I pitched shows, packed my schedule, spent way more money than I ever needed to on way more outfits than I ever needed (which, by the way, I would never actually wear IRL), and all the while I hated it.

When I think about the moments I enjoyed it wasn't going to a show or a party, or getting my picture taken (I really hated that) or pretending I was cooler than I actually was. It was my time spent with friends; and really, I could spend time with friends anywhere. So what was I doing?truth about new york fashion week

If I took that away, I was left with all of these things that really gave me no purpose other than to say I was there. And really, who the f*ck cares if I was there or not? NYFW wasn't impacting my business. It wasn't translating to my level of success. In fact, after fashion week was over, it really didn't matter at all.

Social media has this nasty way of making you feel so inflated one minute, and so small and insignificant the next. I think it's played a big role in perpetuating this false sense of importance when it comes to whether or not you're on the roster for NYFW.

So where does that leave us as 'influencers'?truth about new york fashion week

It leaves everyone feeling like they need to go. Even if we don't want to go, don't have any reason to go, or don't really even know why we're going, we still feel like we need to. See and be seen. Show your followers you were there; that you were 'so busy'; that you're important.truth about new york fashion week

I recently listened to an episode of A Drink with James, hosted by Fohr CEO James Nord, and I want to share some of his input that really resonated with me.

He said, "[Fashion week is] only as important as you make it. You can be wildly successful and have a great career and never go to Fashion Week, or you can do New York, Milan and Paris every year and crush it. [At the same time, it's] a time when our industry is most like high school. There's no time in the year where people feel more like they’re part of the cool kids table or they're not."

So before we get to Qs I want to close with this: NYFW is what you make it. It's not going to make or break your career, and you're not going to be cooler IRL if you went. If a great opportunity comes up for you to go and you're excited about it - go. But let go of that sense of entitlement that just because you call yourself a blogger (whether you started yesterday or 8 years ago), you should be backstage or sitting front row for everyone to see; because in the grand scheme of your business, it doesn't actually matter.

truth about new york fashion week
truth about new york fashion week

Now that I've crushed all of your NYFW dreams (kidding), I want to answer some Qs, including why I personally choose to go!

Why I Go to NYFW
Once the first-time thrill of FW subsided and reality set in, perspective hit me square in the face. If I'm not enjoying the hustle, why am I going in the first place? In the past years I've made a conscious decision to go for one reason and one reason only; to be there for the brands with whom I've cultivated a great relationship with over the years. I go to say hi to my brand contacts and to tell them, 'hey, I'm here to support you because I value what we have." All of the extra stuff, I could care less about. I think once you hit 30 you realize that there's really no reason at all to do things that don't make you feel good - and so I don't. I can say, if I didn't live in NY, I wouldn't be buying plane ticket or booking a hotel so I could attend (and that's just my personal preference).

Q - What is the most Beneficial Thing About Going?
Being there for your brands. Honestly, I don't see any career benefit beyond that. As far as personal benefits go, the thrill of being backstage or seeing a show for the first time can be fun, but trust me when I say that it fizzles out!

Q - Are You Invited to Attend a Lot of Shows?
In the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure what's really considered 'a lot'. I get invites to small or newer designers and a few that I stop and say, 'hmm, that could be a really fun experience'. In reality, shows are typically very brief, and the stress of running from one to the next (for what?) isn't always worth my sanity!

Q - Pros and Cons? Is it Only Worth Attending If You're Sponsored?
PROS / If you're going for the first time, it's a fun experience to be a part of a show or to be backstage; Attending an event with all the glitz and glam with friends is a unique experience; Seeing your brand contacts face-to-face is a great way to build your relationships.

CONS / It can be exhausting; It often feels like high-school or a 'who's who' (I'm very confident in who I am and NYFW still makes me feel some type of way); If you're not attending on someone else's dime, it can be very expensive (flights, hotel, food, UBER don't come cheap in NY and this can be a shock if you're from out of town); Traffic. So much damn traffic.

In terms of attending on your own dime and whether or not it's worth it -  I would say if you have the funds, want to go for the experience, and feel confident that you won't look back later and question whether or not it was worth it, go for it. 

Q - How Do I Get Invited to Events?
Fashion week is often about who you know. When you don't know someone, it's about how valuable a brand sees you as an influencer. If event invites aren't showing up in your inbox, you have a few options: a) pitch (make sure to include how you can be of value in covering the event instead of just asking for an invite), b) apply for GPS Radar, where you'll be able to secure invites to shows and events, c) ask around in the blogging community for +1's or to fill someone else's seat if they are unable to attend.

Q - I have One Day Where I'm Totally Free. Do You Suggest Trying to Get Into Other Shows or Taking a Content Batching Day with My Photographer?
Take a day to shoot in the city, 100%! Especially coming in from out of town, take the time to explore the city and get some great content (which will serve a better purpose for you in the long run than sitting (or standing) in a crowded 10-minute show.

Q - What Does a Typical Day For You Look Like During NYFW?
Wake up earlier than I want to, spent too much time getting glammed and ready, travel down to SoHo to shoot a few looks with my photographer, head back up town or have lunch, head back downtown to stop at showrooms to see my brands, head to a show/event at night, eat pizza because I'm still starving and crash as early as possible! 

Q - How Do You Get to Go to Fashion Week? I'd Love to Go Just Once!
Anyone can go to Fashion Week! I will say, going for the first time, it's an exciting time to be in the city and see the hustle and bustle of it all and how it comes to fruition. If you're looking to go just to experience it, there are often free exhibits, events or pop-ups you can visit. Even just to spend a day in NY, take some photos, stop by an event and have lunch at a cool spot can be fun!

Q - I Keep Getting Turned Down for Shows. What Should I Do?
Don't worry about it. Why do you want to go to a show? To SAY you went? For the experience? Think about the benefit you're getting out of going. As I mentioned above, there are so many other ways you can still enjoy Fashion Week!

Q - Where Do You Shop for Your Fashion Week Outfits?
REVOLVE, Shopbop and Zara mostly! I see Fashion Week as a time to be able to dial it up a few notches so I typically will go for higher-end, funkier pieces that might be a little bolder yet still a reflection of my personal style.

Q - Will You Be Documenting Your Time at Fashion Week?
Yes! I have a love-hate relationship with the way some people portray their time at Fashion Week. I really enjoy seeing some people's clips of BTS and backstage content, while others feel too I'M-SPECIAL-BC-IM-AT-FASHION-WEEK and in your face for my liking. I always aim to try and cover the fun parts and the BTS (something I know my followers enjoy seeing), without making it seem like anything more than it really is.

Whether you're attending NYFW for the very first time, or are heading into another season, think about asking yourself WHY you're going; and please - for the love of god - stay humble!

Hope this answered some of your Qs! Would love to hear YOUR thoughts in the comments. xo

Share:

18 responses to “The Truth About New York Fashion Week”

  1. Greta says:

    I’ll be in New York this weekend! I’m excited for brand meetings and also having a day to explore and shoot good content. Maybe I’ll see you around!

  2. Morgan says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!! I’ve attended NYFW in February the past 2 years (hopefully going in 2020 as well!) and the biggest takeaway for me is the time with my best friend (who’s also a blogger) and meeting and growing my relationships with brands while I’m there. And exploring the city!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  3. Caitlin says:

    When I first moved home to CT I wanted to go to NYFW badly… but as years have passed I’m less and less interested. It’s mainly because I have heard so many friends have terrible experiences and I fear I would be in the same boat!

    • Danielle says:

      I think overall interest has absolutely declined. It’s too bad to hear friends have had bad experiences – but I do get it. If it’s on your bucket list to go, plan out a year when you’ll be with your close friends, only going to events and doing things that you WANT to do. It’s all about what you make of it, and who you’re with!

  4. Amanda says:

    Love hearing your honest opinions on this! I would so much rather hang at home and really get a good look at what’s comingout

  5. Laura S says:

    This is so spot on and such a great resource for newer bloggers thinking about NYFW thinking it’s like Mecca for blogging! SO good!

  6. Lydia says:

    I always feel like I should make more of an effort to attend fashion week as I’m just a train ride away, but if I’m not getting any invites, I don’t see the point in begging for them just to go.
    Chic on the Cheap

    • Danielle says:

      I really feel that it’s as important as you make it, Lydia — so if it doesn’t seem like a priority for the time being, no hard in feeling like you need to make an effort to go! xo

  7. Sarah Lennon says:

    This was such a great post and really refreshing to read. I really appreciate your honesty when it comes to NYFW and I’m sure a lot of other out there do too!

  8. Danielle says:

    In my opinion, there are more ‘ugly’ parts than not when it comes to FW, and I hate that. But I do totally agree that the time you get to spend with your brands, and the influencers from around the globe who you have the opportunity to connect with are the best parts 🙂

  9. Lizzie says:

    Girl, I can identify with this post 100%! As an aspiring designer, I absolutely LOVE going to the shows but now that I’ve gone for a handful seasons, it’s very much a business trip and I take it as an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the brands I work with (or would like to work with). It’s been worth it to me in that aspect but you absolutely do not have to go in order to have a successful business. In fact, it’s seeming less like a business venture these days and more like a popularity contest. You really have to know people in order to get into certain things and other influencers really do judge you based on what you’re wearing, which shows you’re at and who you’re seen with. I do not like that part of it at all. It can make you feel so small. But at the same time, I do love meeting other influencers that are just as lovely in person as they are online and have created a lot of meaningful friendships that way 🙂

    Lizzie
    http://www.lizzieinlace.com

  10. Danielle says:

    Watching from IG in PJs sounds IDEAL! It’s definitely a lot of work, that’s for sure. Worth it on some occasions, if you go about it the right way! xo

  11. Marlene says:

    100% spot on! I went to fashion week years ago and it was exciting but also kinda meh. If I lived there, I could see maybe making the effort but certainly not something I need to travel to just to “make an appearance”. It doesn’t impact my business and is a TON of work! Now, I’d much rather watch via IG from the comfort of my bed and PJs 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *