How To Attend New York Fashion Week | Tips for NYFW

I love to attend New York Fashion Week. I’ve been attending for a few seasons now, and every time I share my experience, a handful of people (bloggers and non-bloggers included) voice that they’d like to learn a little more about the process on getting into shows.

If you’ve ever wondered how to attend New York Fashion Week, this post breaks down my entire timeline and my exact process I use season after season.

Photo by @azulperiwinkle

My Timeline on How to Attend New York Fashion Week: What to Do When

If you’re a blogger and think you may want to attend New York Fashion Week, I would recommend that you start thinking seriously about it about 2-3 months in advance. For big bloggers, stylists, and magazine editors, invites can show up without you having to really do anything. But if you’re a smaller blogger or this is your first time attending, you have to do a lot of research, outreach, and emailing ahead of time.

2 Months Before NYFW

Pitch Hotels

If you live out of state and don’t want to pay full price for a hotel, start pitching hotels for collaboration opportunities about 2 months before you attend New York Fashion Week.

You can typically find sales or press contacts on most hotel websites, either on the contact or press room pages.

Instead of pitching a big hotel chain like Hilton or Marriott, search online for New York City boutique hotels. The city has a lot of cool and unique hotels – I prefer NYC boutique hotels to the big guys, anyway.

In your email, keep things short and concise. Let the person know you will be in the city to attend New York Fashion Week and that you’d like to stay at their hotel in exchange for X, Y, and Z social deliverables. Clearly list out the dates you’ll be in town or how many nights you’d like to stay at their hotel. If travel content consistently performs well on your Instagram, blog, or Pinterest, be sure to add that in your email, and quantify if possible.

NYFW always brings a significant influx of people into the city: other bloggers, creatives, additional production crews, and even celebrity entourages. Therefore, a lot of hotels may be full and will decline to offer you a comped stay since they won’t necessarily need any social coverage. That’s totally okay! Ask if they have a media rate (AKA a discount) that they can extend, or try to get a blogger friend to split the cost with you.

I’ve done a fair number of collaborations for travel, and hotels aren’t going to give you a free stay for nothing. Hotel collaborations always involve some type of significant trade for your comped stay, so make sure you can deliver on these asks before saying yes. For example, if the sound of a blog post, 2 Instagram feed posts, and Stories every single day you’re at the hotel already overwhelms you before you even have an invite to an event, don’t say yes to a free hotel. Your sanity should always win over free stuff, trust me.

Personally I’ve always preferred to save my money ahead of time, with the hotel cost hotel as a business expense to attend New York Fashion Week. This way I never have further obligations outside attending shows and any paid partnerships I may receive.

But, if you’re totally okay with adding this to your plate, then I say go for it!

Research Trends and Start Planning Your Looks

I like to research upcoming trends ahead of the season. Start loosely thinking about what you already own or what major statement piece you may want to purchase.

I always advocate staying true to yourself, but I’ll say that I tend to dress a bit more editorial and adventurous when I attend New York Fashion Week. One thing I really love about this week is the opportunity to have fun, get glam, and even go a little extra. I look on Pinterest for NYFW street style or NYFW outfits. Nine times out of ten I’ll find a new color combination or styling idea that I love, and then figure out how to make it my own.

Give yourself plenty of time to shop your closet and purchase new pieces so that you’re not stressed out the week before New York Fashion Week. I mostly shop online, so this provides ample time for shipping, exchanging, and returning for things I don’t like. It also gives me time to tailor pieces and then finish accessorizing accordingly.

I wrote a more detailed post on how I plan and pack my outfits when I attend New York Fashion Week; read it here.

1 Month Before You Attend New York Fashion Week

Compile Your Contact List

About a month before NYFW, the show schedule is released. The “official” schedule comes from CFDA, but there are a lot of other shows and events that happen around the city during NYFW. Other places to find NYFW events include Fashion Week Online and Modem Online.

Make a list of shows you want to attend, then start building out the contacts. I like to write down every single show, then look at the brand website to see if it’s a designer that interests me. Don’t exclude a designer just because you’ve never heard of them; many upcoming and emerging designers have just as great stuff as the bigger ones.

Here are some ways to find press contacts:

  • Search “{designer/brand} press contact” online.
  • Look on the designer’s website for a specific or generic press contact.
  • Check to see if there is an email listed on the brand’s Instagram page, or send a DM and ask for a contact.
  • Utilize LinkedIn to find specific names, then use trial and error to guess email formats. (You may get a ton of bounce backs and this is is highly time consuming, but also successful if you get the right email.)

I like to use Excel or Google Docs to build my contact list, so I have everything in one place. Then I reference these documents for future seasons and update email addresses accordingly.

Start Emailing for Invites

Much like the hotel pitch, keep things straightforward. A lot of people want to attend New York Fashion week each season, and brands and agencies are inundated with invite requests.

Use hyperlinks within your email so that people can quickly click to your website or Instagram page. Use bullets to point out key information like your name or social stats so that even on a skim, someone can see the important stuff.

Be direct! Explicitly write, “I would like to attend X show this season.” Be sure your subject line is relevant to NYFW. Often, companies hire out agencies and extra temp help to sift through these requests. If you put NYFW in your subject line, it provides urgency but will also get directed to the proper person.

There are also a handful of NYC agencies that are specifically hired to produce shows and presentations. With a little bit of research, you can usually tell if an agency does this. (Take a look at their client page, services page, or case studies page.) Tailor the email to be more generic for agencies and ask to be included “for any events of shows they may be handling this season.”

Of course, if you have an existing relationship or a short personal anecdote about the brand, tailor your email so that it’s a bit more personal (but still keep it short).

If you don’t get immediate answers or invites, don’t fret. Seating arrangements and invites for mid-sized bloggers usually come a week or so before NYFW. The first time I attended New York Fashion Week, I was invited to a show just a couple days before.

NYFW Essentials

1-2 Weeks Before NYFW

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

I cannot stress this enough: FOLLOW UP on your emails. Be top of mind for brands and agencies. Your follow up email can be a short line stating that you’re simply following up regarding the previous NYFW request you sent.

I like to use my Excel contact list to keep track of who I emailed, who I followed up with (and how many times), who said yes, and who said no.

If a brand says they can’t accommodate you, be sure to note that somewhere so you don’t annoyingly email them after they said no. If a brand sends an invite and you RSVP yes, be sure to note that, too. Typically, you’ll receive the initial invite with RSVP instructions, and then a second email much closer to the event that you are officially confirmed.

Set Up Other Meetings

Reach out to NYC brands you love who aren’t presenting at NYFW and ask for a meeting. It could be people you’ve emailed with or worked with before but have never met IRL. It could also be people you’re cold emailing. Just like most industries, face time is KEY in building relationships for future job opportunities.

Even if you don’t know have a confirmed show schedule, at least tentatively get your meetings on the calendar. Most people who in the industry are pretty understanding about how last minute NYFW is. So, you can always swap times or dates closer to your arrival.

Book a Photographer

If you’re traveling with another blogger or someone else to take your photos, great! But if that’s not the case or you want to get your outfits snapped by a professional, don’t forget to book a photographer.

I find about 80% of photographers I work with on Instagram. If you follow any NYC bloggers, click on their photos to see if they tag the photographer. Or, you can also use #nycphotographer and sift through the top results.

I also get recommendations from other creatives. Even if you know a photographer who isn’t NYC-based, ask if they know someone who is. Ask your other blogger friends if they know any photographers. I’ve also even posted Instagram Stories asking for people to share anyone they know. A lot of photographers fly in to NYC for this, too!

Start Packing

I hate overpacking, but I also hate wishing I had something that I didn’t bring. I’ll try on every single outfit right down to my shoes, bags, and jewelry before it goes into my suitcase.

Be sure to pack an extra daytime outfit and an extra nighttime outfit just in case you get a last-minute invite from a designer or friend.

I also like to write what each outfit consists of in my phone’s Notes app. A list is super handy if you have to change quickly and head out the door. But, it can also get overwhelming staring at a pile of clothing, so referring back to my list helps. (Read this post for a more in-depth look at how I plan and pack for NYFW.)

Other Tips For When You Attend New York Fashion Week

  • Only say yes to shows you will attend and designers that look interesting to you.
  • Be sure to pack sneakers or flats and have at least one chic bag you can hide them in. Your feet will hurt and eventually you will be over wearing heels.
  • Pack an external battery for your phone, especially if you’ll be out all day. Snapping videos and photos constantly will deplete your phone quicker than normal everyday use.
  • Runway shows typically start late, but you still need to be there on time because there is usually a line. (I also like getting to a show a little early because that’s when the photographers are out in full force to capture street style!)
  • Unless you have back-to-back shows at the same studio location, try not to book yourself that way. Especially if this is your first time attending NYFW. Over the years I’ve kind of learned what I can and can’t swing, and there’s definitely a learning curve.
  • If someone takes your photo, ask for their Instagram account and give them a follow, or grab their card. Say thank you! You want to be able to find your images later. Many times the photographer will send you the photos so you can post them and tag them.
  • Be prepared to be tired. NYFW is super fun, but for me, it is a job and it’s work. I book meetings, shows, and photo sessions all during this time and run purely on adrenaline. Expect that you will be going to bed late and waking up early.
  • HAVE FUN AND BE NICE. Don’t be that unfriendly person. There are a lot of catty women in the fashion industry; you don’t need to be one. If you’re alone at a show and the person next to you is too, introduce yourself.

Nice to Meet You

Hi, I'm Camille! I'm a bi-coastal blogger splitting my time between LA and NYC and sharing elevated, yet relatable ideas so that you can achieve your most stylish life.

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