Updated September 2, 2016
Other Views, Other
Voices...HOW TO GET
INVITED TO A NEW YORK FASHION SHOW
The good old days when the shows
were at the Bryant Park Venue.
We all know that with hard,
deceptive work and a good dose of moxie it's possible to get over on the world,
at least temporarily. The New York Times 'The City' section article "No
Invitation? No Problem!" reveals a whole industry of such hard workers where
gate crashing is an art you can learn in a course at The Learning Annex (how
New Age to offer a curriculum ranging from gate crashing to Deepak Chopra,
everything you need for this life and after.) I almost admire this kind of
cleverness and drive as long as it is motivated by some true purpose: true
purpose may be to serve your own career but it should also contribute something
to the industry. The career gate crashers are disturbing when they only take
and never give back, there for themselves and not the industry.
Ultimately it is our works that carry us through and if your work does not
legitimately give you reason to be there, then you are taking the place of
someone who does. But that's the rub. Let's say you are the next Marc Jacobs,
young, talented, charming. Or a budding Guy Trebay, Alexander Fury, Vanessa
Friedman, Michelle Lee, Robin Givhan with bon mots bursting in your brain. Or
the next Anna Wintour, Aimee Song, or Imran Amed. But you have no connections
and no idea how to get them. You want to get IN, into the industry, into the
fashion shows. How do you do it? Below is a guide, a kind of "how to." But be
ready to back up your endeavor with hard work, talent and time. All others need
not apply. This is not an overnight miracle. BUT, hook up with the right
guardian angels and you may find yourself in some pretty magical places.
GET A JOB:
sounds silly but the first step is, get a job, any kind of job. Whatever area
of the fashion business you are interested in, find work as close to that dream
as possible. Do not limit yourself in what you do. Persevere. Work in the
industry is a foot in the door. And with that foot in the door you meet people,
make connections, learn about the business, discover mentors, hear about other
job opportunities -- even get invitations to fashion shows and parties. Andre
Leon Talley started his career sweeping the floors of Andy Warhol's Interview
offices. Marc Jacobs worked at the once influential fashion boutique Charivari
while attending high school. Anna Wintour worked as a fashion editors
assistant at Harper's Bazaar.
If you can, find a company with growth
potential. A low level job can turn into a high level career with that same
company. Admire Prada, Rodarte, Calvin Klein, Ralph Rucci, Alexander Wang, but
cannot get work in the design room? Get a job in one of their stores. Want to
be a stylist? Find a photographer and develop imagery together to build a
portfolio from which you can get paying work. Or assist another stylist from
whom you can learn. Want to be a photographer? Go to school. If you cant
afford a full course load then take classes. And use YouTube.
Photographers I know, working photographers, use YouTube videos to learn how to
use software like Photoshop. Then shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Offer model
agencies new-model test-shoots to help build their and your portfolios. Try and
borrow clothes from young designers who then can use the photographs for their
own promotion. Be there at the ground level and perhaps you can become part of
the team as success comes to you all. There are many different areas in the
industry; work in one may lead to work in another. Become friends with fashion
industry folks using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and
LinkedIn. It's "not about mainstream thinking" says Mary Loving a more than
thirty year veteran of the fashion and public relations industry. "To be
successful you have to be creative and bring a new ingredient to the business."
That new ingredient may very well be, your Self.
INTERN OR VOLUNTEER:
If finding a job is
difficult and a paid internship is not available then find an unpaid
internship. Use job sites like Indeed.com, Glassdoor. LinkedIn or dedicated
intern sites like Internship.com. Google internships and see what comes up.
Interested in media? Try mediabistro.com. Cold call. Especially in the months
immediately prior to Fashion Week, there may be a need for extra help.
Interested in Public Relations and Marketing? Try PR companies. Interested in
design try fashion houses. Production? Talk to the companies who put on the
shows and serve as backstage support. Offer your services as a volunteer. Be a
dresser backstage. Even though you are offering up your services for no pay,
make sure you have an up-to-date resume and any work samples to show why you
should be selected. And if there is nothing available now, they will have
something to keep on file for future. Follow up, to keep those connections
alive, by checking in or sending updated information and work samples. Stay on
their radar. Work hard, be responsible, be reliable, and what was for no pay
can turn into a paid job.
Start your own project. If you write, create your own
website or fashion blog. Publish your pieces on LinkedIn, Medium or pitch them
to the Huffington Post. Use site services such as WordPress or BlogSpot or
Tumblr or Pinterest. With a blog you can join with other fashion blogs and gain
industry exposure through the group, contributing content to such network sites
as Independent Fashion Bloggers. If you dont write particularly well make
it visual. Take your own photographs or hook up with a similarly ambitious,
talented, young photographer and share the images on Instagram. Make videos and
create a YouTube channel (YouTube is second only to Google in search engine
popularity.) Promote on your social networks, especially those with the largest
audience and engagement Facebook and Instagram. Learn about SEO (Search Engine
Optimization) and hashtags to gain a wider audience. Create inspired by what
you love and put your heart, passion and hard work into it.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA:
personalities and influencers who have sat front row at major fashion shows,
landed high-profile advertising campaigns and magazine covers and launched
multi-million dollar businesses have been born from blogging. Some have morphed
from blog to full-fledged media entities as The Business of
Fashion has. Others simply begin with social media. All ultimately use
social media as leverage, posting, pinning, sharing, tweeting and Snapchatting
their way to greater audience, influence and notice. You can emulate any one of
them if you have the talent (every year major fashion sites including
Fashionista and Elle do their most influential blogger roundups.)
If you are not as creative, you can curate the work of others, industry news,
favorite photographs to build an online social media following and gain the
attention of the infuencers. Follow and connect with them. Like, retweet,
regram, and share their work. Comment and engage with them. Join groups on
LinkedIn and participate in their discussions. Build your network in whatever
way you can.
Find out what's going on. (Publishers note 9/2/2016) The bible of all
bibles in the fashion world was the Fashion Calendar (Fashioncalendar.com.) Sadly it is
now owned by the CFDA and is no longer what it once was when publisher and
founder Ruth Finley owned it. Still, some events are listed on Fashion
Calendar.com with contact names and numbers. The problem with the Calendar now
is many events, especially high profile ones during fashion week, are not
always posted along with many shows held at other venues. They do offer a
special show calendar at a reduced price.
9/2/2016) IMG NYFW The Shows The
Shows also offers press credentials to their designers shows for members of the
press and buyers if they think you qualify -- for fees ranging from $80-$100.
However, even a press credential is useless without also having a designer
invite. A designer invite means you have no need of a credential! You do
receive a designer contact list for your money and an official-looking badge --
but that is about it. The credential is pretty much a waste of money except for
the photographers credential which potentially gives access to show media
If your budget is more limited lookonline's DFR: Daily Fashion Report blog and
website offers good information in exchange for your support for a very
reasonable cost ($59 contribution for 1 year) as well other features to
keep you in the know. Supplement this with other sources.
Fashionweekdaily.com, BusinessofFashion.com, New York Social Diary,
Vogue.com WWD (now online only and will always contain fashion show
calendars but not contact numbers,) New York Magazine, the New York
Times, and online fashion sites are among them.
Many events will
be by invitation only. No invitation, no access. If you are a legitimate member
of the press you can request coverage of the event but your access may still be
limited according to your ranking in the media food chain. Legitimate means
your work, writings, photos, and video footage appear regularly in a venue or
several venues. It could be your own venue. If you are an employee of standing
either in the retail, magazine, internet or television worlds, you may get an
invitation but even this is no guarantee depending on space. If you are not
"important" enough to be invited check with your fellow workers, your boss or
your network of connections for an extra invitation.
The good news is
oftentimes, especially at fashion shows, arriving early with an invitation can
get you in. Be warned however, the more well-known designers may also have a
list of names at the door. Sometimes they can even check for I.D. FashionGPS
handles invites for many NYFW shows and may look to match photo I.D.s with
names on invites. If you are not on the list you are not in the door,
invitation or not. As a last resort you can go to the event. Extra invitations
are hard to come by, you may even risk a reputation as a gate crasher but it is
a good way to meet people in the industry. You might, during fashion week, find
free passes to parties being held at clubs around town. This is the beginning
of your networking.
Sometimes there is standing room access. If you
are willing to wait in line for everyone else with invitations to be let in
first, you might find there is room left over. First you have to get to the
check-in table. If you can get in the door and get to the check-in table, make
your case for why they should even give you standing room access. If you can
make that happen, you may get in to see the show. Many times you would be
surprised how many big shows you can get into if you are willing to just make
the effort and show up! And finally, if you can spend an entire week at the
shows you can try becoming a volunteer with IMG New York Fashion Week. They
recruit quite a number of volunteers to help run the shows. Just don't wait for
the last minute!
Fortunately or unfortunately connections count for a lot in any world
and especially the world of fashion. Make a powerful enough network for
yourself however and it can even compensate a lack of talent. If you are not
the daughter, son, niece, nephew, friend, you must make your own connections.
If you are considering school attend a school in Manhattan, the capital of
American fashion; F.I.T, Parsons, Pratt, L.I.M., School of Visual Arts.
Go out. Go to clubs, art openings, hot restaurants (even just for a drink at
the bar,) parties, fashion shows, any industry functions you can get into. Meet
people. Get yourself on mailing lists, become active on social networking sites
frequented by industry leaders. Be seen enough and there are those who will
invite you because they want you to be seen with them. Of course you must look
fabulous, fabulous enough to stand out from the crowd. Make a statement; a
fashion statement followed up with sincere hard work. It is the only true path
to making your mark in this business.
- by Laurie
About Laurie: She created
Rolling Stone's first fashion section, pioneering its style, format, and
publication schedule. Laurie would combine fashion with various pop culture
figures (musicians, movie stars, and sports icons), a concept still used by the
magazine today. At American Vogue as the first Style Editor, Laurie was in
charge of both the "View" and "Living" sections, overseeing stories on fashion,
home design, decor, and the elite personalities of those worlds. Laurie is the
first and only Vogue editor to successfully handle the "View" and "Living"
sections simultaneously. Moving to Allure, Laurie had to be replaced at Vogue
by four people. Laurie Schechter has also reported and styled fashion stories
for EIle, Interview, Conde Nast's Traveler, Spin, Harper's Bazaar, and Town and
Country magazines. She has done trend forecasting for various major fashion
retailers, footwear companies, and television programs.
DFR: Daily Fashion Report:
New York Fashion Week