Guys! The post you’ve all been waiting for – let’s talk about how you can attend NYFW (yes, even as a small blogger)!
First of all, what even is NYFW, you ask? NYFW stands for New York Fashion Week. It’s an event held in NYC every February and September, when designers showcase their upcoming collections to both the public and fashion industry. There are tons of invite-only fashion shows, parties, events, and showrooms that go on during NYFW, and tons of fabulous people who attend them (including you after this post!).
How to attend NYFW for the first time Products
NYFW is many things – iconic, insane, inspiring, exhausting, exhilarating, etc – the list goes on. Growing up, I always remember being interested in fashion, but never feeling like I had any validity in even having that interest. There was nothing tying me to the fashion world, in even the most remote sense. I didn’t grow up in a household where my mother passed down designer bags, there weren’t fashion magazines in my house, I didn’t grow up in a city being surrounded by culture and fashion – I grew up in a private school wearing a uniform (still low-key mad about that).
There was always an awe for me in all the buzz and glamour surrounding NYFW. It was something I admired my adolescence from afar (kindled by years of watching Project Runway – make it work!), but not anything I ever realistically anticipated being a part of my life in a million years. Me, attend NYFW? Kind of one of those vague pipeline dreams that you already know is a long shot, so you don’t take it seriously and kind of forget about it over time.
All this to say, life is funny sometimes, and even the most remote or forgotten dreams have a way of resurfacing themselves. Fast forward to one month ago, and there I was attending my first NYFW as a blogger. Coincidentally, I’ve been in NYC for the past few years during fashion week, and this year was no different – I was going to catch up with friends and shoot a fellow blogger’s wedding with Daniel. I hadn’t really given NYFW a second thought, when about three weeks prior to leaving I realized that I had nothing to lose in trying! Why not try to get in a few shows? I’d be there anyway – I might as well “make it work!” (thanks Tim Gunn!) So make it work I did.
There are some shows during NYFW that are actually open to the public, but it’ll cost you a pretty penny for a ticket. That being said, if you’re interested in attending as a blogger or anyone remotely involved in the fashion world (which if you’re reading this, I’ll assume you are), then you’re going to pitch people to get into the industry only shows. Aren’t you feeling important already?! Here’s how to do it.
HOW TO GET IN & ATTEND NYFW
1. Explore every contact you already have.
What do I mean by this? If you write a blog, small or not, you’ve probably done some collaborations with brands. So reach out to them! I must have reached out to every single person that ever emailed me about collaborating in the past year, to see if they were involved in any shows or events during NYFW. This especially goes for companies that are already based in NYC! Worst comes to worst, you won’t get an answer, or they can’t help you in any way. Best case scenario, you might get some sort of event connection or even an in-person meeting out of it!
Reaching out to people I already knew yielded me a meeting with Moroccan Oil and an invite to the Lulu’s party. It never hurts to put in some face time with brands that you love and stay on their radar – you never know what opportunities could come later on because of this. At the very least, you might just make a new friend (which I totally did!). I had a few other brands extend invitations for in-person meetings with me, but my schedule unfortunately just didn’t allow the time for it. But there’s always next year!
Takeaway: contact all brands you’ve worked with previously to see if they have any NYFW connections or are hosting anything. Take any in-person meetings you can get.
2. Do your brand research.
If you’re going to attend NYFW for the first time, you might be anxious to just go to any and every possible show / event that you can snag an invite to. While some people might think this is the best approach, I’d say why waste time on things you don’t care about? When I emailed brands & PR Companies (more on that in a little bit!), I made sure to only reach out for the shows I was actually interested in. Obviously since I’m a small blogger and still a first timer, I couldn’t be unrealistically picky – but my time is still valuable, so I wanted to remain selective.
Take a look at the schedule for the upcoming NYFW you’re hoping to attend (which can be found on this website), and spend some time just going through the brands and exploring their aesthetic. If you’re anything like me, you’ll discover some new brands that you absolutely love, and others you don’t relate to at all. That’s okay! Fashion isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ kind of deal, and neither is NYFW.
I firmly believe that just because you attend NYFW, doesn’t mean that you have to pack your schedule so much that you don’t even have time to eat or take a break (which will happen anyway, trust me – I was selective AF and I still somehow had no time to eat!). Do whatever is most enjoyable for you. If that’s seeing every possible show you can get into, by all means. If that’s only seeing a few and creating some content or exploring the city in your downtime, that’s okay too. Your NYFW experience is what you make it!
Takeaway: only contact brands whose shows + events you’re actually interested in attending. Research everyone showing at NYFW so you know where to be selective.
3. Make a List of Brand / PR Contacts.
Once I contacted everyone I already knew and researched what brands I was interested in, I went heavy on the cold emailing. I went to every brand website to look at their contact page and see if there was a PR firm who handled their media inquiries. Sometimes they’ll be a PR contact listed, sometimes it’ll be an in-house email, other times it won’t get any better than a generic firstname.lastname@example.org. Try them ALL. Seriously. I ended up spending a few hours finding all of this information and compiling it into a Google Doc so I could quickly reference it and see when I emailed them, if I got a response or not, and when to follow up.
Some companies sell contact lists specifically for NYFW, as brand & PR contacts tend to change quite often. However, unless you’re rolling in the dough, I would just advise you to do a little digging yourself – because the information IS out there. I was fortunate enough to stumble on this contact list about halfway through my search, which made my job of compiling information a whole lot easier. Apparently they do one of these for every NYFW – so bookmark that site!
*Pitch Tip* – When reaching out to these brands/PR Firms, keep it short + sweet! They’re being bombarded with emails in the weeks and months leading up to NYFW, so don’t waste their time. Introduce yourself + your brand (blog/IG), express your interest in attending, throw some stats at them and what you plan for your coverage. You can include your media kit, but I would opt to put it directly in the email instead of attaching it if you can – as some people will be less inclined to open attachments from total strangers. Make the email as easy to digest as possible!
Takeaway: Make a spreadsheet of everyone who you plan on contacting. Include the brand or PR Firm, the contact name, contact email, any secondary contacts, date of contact, the follow-up date, and the result.
Email Pitch Template:
Hi [name], My name is [your name], blogger behind [your blog] – a fashion + lifestyle blog.
I’ve worked with brands such as X, Y, Z, and have a strong following, etc [couple quick stats or a small tidbit to peak their interest in having you attend].
I’m going to NYFW this year [specific dates], and would love to attend the [brand] show/event/etc. I plan on documenting the entire experience via [however you plan to cover you experience – social channels, etc]. Please take a look at my brief media kit for more info on my stats.
4. Prepare Yourself for a Lot of No’s
This one is pretty self explanatory. You’ll get a lot of no’s, a lot of silence, and even a few ping backs from the company saying that the person you contacted no longer works there. That’s okay – keep going! Follow up within a week, be gracious and thank those who say no (you never know if it might change, and a positive attitude and gracious response can go a long way), and wait!
Takeaway: get ready for lots of no’s. Unless you’re a big deal, in which case can we be friends? 😉
5. The ‘how to attend NYFW’ game changer – GPS Radar App.
If you’re anything like I was, you’re probably like GPS Radar? Wtf is that? It doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with how you can attend NYFW, but honestly it’s probably one of the strongest tools you’ll have in your arsenal! The GPS Radar app is a “highly curated, private fashion community where brands, media and retailers are able to connect seamlessly.” You have to apply to be accepted, but it’s super quick and doesn’t cost you anything.
Once you’re approved, you’ll be able to request invites for NYFW shows and events you want to attend within the app. In my opinion, this puts you on somewhat of a short list over people who merely email. I ultimately got most of my actual show invitations through this app, which was seriously a God-send! It’s also nice because then you can see all of your events and invitations in one place, and not be pulling your hair out over not knowing where you have free time in your schedule. You’ll also then have all of your event tickets in one convenient place, with a little scannable QR code to get in.
Takeaway: Download the GPS Radar app! This will be your Fashion Week invite lifesaver.
6. Reach out to your social media network.
Last but definitely not least, reach out to your following about it! As soon as I realized I’d be in NYC for Fashion Week, I started posting about it on my IG stories and messaging people who I knew were already going. I didn’t have any invites, I didn’t have any leads, but I was determined to make it happen once I set my mind to it. I got advice from some, contacts from others, and just general info about things like events that I may not have known otherwise. If you’re lucky, maybe someone will have a plus one for an event that you can tag along for! It always pays off to be vocal about what your plans are – even if you’re not 100% sure that they’ll happen yet! Vocalizing your plans to others will make you work even harder to stay accountable to them and making sure they happen!
If you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere reaching out to your followers or you don’t know anyone attending, but you’re on this page reading this – then you know me! And you can always reach out to me too. 😉
Takeaway: Use the connections you have within your own social media network and see what your fellow blogger friends are doing for NYFW!
I hope that this post inspires you to attend NYFW in the future, and lets you know that it’s totally attainable, even if you’re small or just starting out! There’s so much going on that week, there is truly something for everyone. Its also a chance to flex your fashionable muscles and get creative – and downright inspired! I met some of my favourite fashionistas while I was there, including Jo & Kemp and Hello Thalita!
I’ll be writing another post (or two) on this since this one is already so long, so stay tuned for what I learned during my first NYFW experience, and to hear more about what I actually did while I was there! Have you ever been / do you plan to attend NYFW in the future?
PS – For some more great info on how to attend NYFW, check out this post by my babe Lauryn, and this post by my friend Liz! Both are super insightful, and I found them to be extremely helpful when I was planning for my own trip!
*All photos by Daniel Mattei*