Growing up, Fashion Week always seemed to be a highly exclusive event. Not just anyone could go see a catwalk show, and to get in, you had to be someone.
Or so, for many years, I thought. But when I first started working in fashion I realised that it's actually not as difficult as it seems. Now I'm not saying you're going to get into Burberry or Chanel's show (to attend those you definitely have to be someone) but particularly for the smaller shows PR companies are always looking for people to fill seats. I was actually surprised at how keen and receptive people were and how much a few emails got me in regard to Fashion Week. Here are my top tops for getting in (images are unrelated lol):
1. Email PR companies
Whether you're a blogger, an influencer, or just someone with a provable interest in fashion, start sending PR emails around a few weeks before the fashion week you want to go to starts. On the London Fashion Week website when you click on the schedule there's an Excel spreadsheet of all of the PR contacts for all of the on-schedule shows. Email all of them, but keep it short and sweet. I would always have a short first paragraph (2-3 sentences) introducing myself and my blog, the second paragraph include some brief statistics, and the third explaining what I could do in exchange for the ticket (social media coverage, a blog post, so on). I also did a quick Google search to find out the general emails for fashion PR companies in London - something like "email@example.com" - even better if you can find out a direct contact. I'd do the same thing but, rather than requesting a ticket for a specific show, id just explain that I was in town for LFW and happy to attend events and collaborate with their brands (perhaps naming a few of my favourites) in exchange for social media/ Blog coverage. Doing this meant that I was also able to access off schedule shows/events. I honestly cannot under emphasise the importance of sending out as many emails as possible, because 90% will probably not reply to you. I must have sent well over 200 emails out in the run up to Fashion Week last February.
2. Always, always follow up
I followed up with everyone I hadn't heard from a week before the show. To be honest Fashion Week is actually pretty unorganised and most invites are sent out a few days before the show, but following up usually works. If they ask for your address remember to keep checking your post to see if any invites arrive there, as it probably means they're sending you a hard copy (although most are sent by email these days). This was a pretty successful method for me as from sending about 200 emails I got about 25 invites to various shows, presentations, after parties and blogger events, and I managed to go to about 12 over the course of 4 days.
3. Make Friends
Fashion more than many industries is one that's all about contacts. Making a valuable friend on the first night who turned out to be editor-in-chief of a small independent magazine got me invited to afterparties on basically all of the other nights as a +1. Fashion is actually a very tight-knit community especially in London, and I ended up seeing many of the same faces at events. Connections also got me in to some of the best shows I went to, including Mary Katrantzou and Temperley, which are two designers I absolutely love. Temperley I went with a friend who'd worked in fashion and had PR connections, and Mary I was lucky enough to get through uni.
4. Beg, Borrow, Steal
Okay, well not quite literally - but you get the gist. I'm not even sure if I should be writing this but it's so commonplace at fashion week that it's almost laughable - if you really want, you can blag your way in. People Whatsapp or email each other invites all the time. Not the most respectable way to get in, but like I said, for a small show, the PRs don't really mind - they just want to fill as many seats as possible at the end of the day.
5. Failing all else, just show up
Like I said, if it's not busy, you can always just show up and ask. Be as ballsy as possible, and just blag it. Say you love fashion, you'd love to write about or post about the event. I've pulled the 'freelance journalist' card a few times (I've been published a handful of times, lol). If you act confident enough about it, if you act like you're meant to be there - trust me, you'll get in.
Other ways to get involved:
1. Open Events
In September 2017 Grazia did loads of public pop up events where you could go and get your nails and hair done, whilst browsing collections the magazine had endorsed. There's loads of things like this happening around fashion week - I used to just wander around Carnaby Street/ Soho and there would definitely be something on.
2. Hang out at the Strand
180 the Strand is where most of the shows take place, as well as presentations in the BFC show space. If you're a photographer, go to take photos of the street style. If you're a blogger or anyone who wants to work in fashion, go and network. I've done this before and bumped into people I've interned with previously and been featured on street style blogs, so it's a great means of exposure.
3. Get tickets to London Fashion Weekend
If you're someone who wants to genuinely work in the fashion industry, then I wouldn't recommend this event, as it's not aimed at that audience. It's a very commercial event open to general members of the public, so if you're someone with a bit of an interest in fashion who maybe hasn't been to a show before; I'd recommend it. Plus, you can get killer discounts on both high end and high street items (I got a Burberry scarf there for 1/3 of retail price).
My experience at the last fashion week I did was extremely jam-packed for the first time. My day usually began around 10am and would last until the early hours of the following morning at an after party. Plus there was never much time between events - I was always in a hurry and often had to eat lunch on the go. (To all those that saw me messily eating a hoisin duck wrap while scurrying down Liverpool Street, I apologise). I actually finally understood why everyone gets cabs everywhere during fashion week (sadly not something I could afford so I tubed it everywhere). It's exhausting. By the 5th day I was done with it, and I honestly respect people that manage to do the whole month! Still though, I had an amazing time - so hope the above tips have been useful xo
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JUMPER: M&S, SIMILAR
SKIRT: MISS SELFRIDGE, SIMILAR
BOOTS: NEW LOOK, SIMILAR
Photos are by my boy Vlad xoxo