First Time Fashion Week Press: my do's & don'ts.
How do I begin to describe Fashion Week...?
It is a time when so many different types of people come together. It is a time when a lot of people fight to be seen and are there just to be seen.
Fashion Week is a performance in every aspect. Behind the scenes and out front. You quite literally have to choose what attitude you put on. You have to decide if you're there to be a quiet spectator or an active participant in the process. You own your space or you give it up.
While I went to a couple of fashion events including Graduate Fashion Week in 2008, AW16 was the first time I really took to a Fashion Week event - both in London and Paris - courtesy of Oxford Fashion Studio. It was a learning curve, and if you are a fast enough learner, you'll learn the ropes pretty quickly.
So without further ado, my do's and don't for the first time Press attendee are:
DO - dress up for the event. First impressions are EVERYTHING! If I could underline 'everything' multiple times, I would. For your typical Instagram-savvy blogger this is a no-brainer, but I saw people rock up in jeans, a hoodie and trainers! Just, no! It looks unprofessional, tacky and to be quite honest: disrespectful. Normally I would say: wear whatever you're most comfortable in. But when it comes to occasions, I have expectations. You've been invited to a showcase, make an effort.
DON'T - have more than one glass of Prosecco - unless it's open bar at the after party, in which case there are no rules (but keep it civilised). Give a human access to free booze and they're yours. But remember you're there to work! Can you still take pictures/shake people's hands/access your business cards if you're still holding a drink?
DO - stand out. By making a statement, maybe in the way you dress or in the way you pitch yourself. I did a little of both. You want to stand out and get people looking, but for the right reasons. You can do this with your accessories or a little twist in your style.
DON'T - be late. A no-brainer, but the earlier or more punctual you are, the more time you get backstage or with people or even the earlier in the queue for seats: the better content you will get.
DO - be polite. Whether that's to the show runners, the designers or any of the behind the scenes crew. Get to know them, listen, show interest and then ask for their details or business cards. Or if you have to leave suddenly, then pitch yourself before asking if you can send them questions. Everyone is giving up their time and the designers will have put in a lot of effort. I cannot stress how important a rapport with people is!
DON'T - sell yourself out. The fashion world is beautiful and enticing, and being given any opportunity within it seems like a dream. But there is no need to give up being you! I always think of Nigel from the Devil Wears Prada saying "I will actually be able to go to Paris, and actually see Paris." Taking up opportunities is one thing, but only take what you actually want from it. Whether that is an interview with that one designer that really grabbed you, wearing your favourite pair of shoes even if they're circa 2014, or in our case, not paying the ridiculous drinks prices for an after party for the sake of "going to a Fashion Week party". We got hot chocolates and sat looking out at the Eiffel Tower instead. Doesn't that sound so much more fun!?
And that is the most important thing about Fashion Week: enjoy it! Work it and take opportunities! But don't forget you along the way.
Unless you're a Buyer, I would say the Frow (Front Row) is honestly not worth the fuss.
Being a part of something with a big name is fun, but what does that really mean?
Be bold and be you. You're a professional.
Have fun!!!!!!! You can look around the room and see who is purely there as part of an act, is it really worth it!? If you're not enjoying the general experience or learning from it, then what are you doing there!?
For me, it was about the event and everything in between. Freshly moving to London and checking more of the sites out. A weekend in Paris and shopping the morning before the runway. Watching the Eiffel Tower at 1am. You get the idea.
What intrigues you most about Fashion Week?