Any fashion lover would tell you the rush of wanting to attend a major fashion week. But what no one tells you, is how to attend a fashion week like a pro; or how to make the best use of the opportunity. This is the fashion part of my trip to NYC and the second part here is for the more touristy travel guide.
I couldn’t have picked a better time and reason to visit New York City in my life. Like with most Indians, American TV and Hollywood were my only references to western countries. I romanticised the city in my head, dreaming of visiting someday. Fashion week was the perfect reason to brave the winters and experience the city in a less tourist-y time. Snow in the city is simply the most dreamlike. I was told to lower expectations and be aware that the city is crowded, smelly and dirty-ish. I was told to NOT expect the same feeling that I got when I saw the city in the movies. But you know what? It felt exactly like the movies and the whole trip was better than I hoped it would be.
Fashion Incubator India (FII) offered this chance to experience Fashion week in NYC and to hang out with some top bloggers from India. My first reaction was “this seems too easy”. My husband’s reaction was “you will get kidnapped and be sold as a slave”. I was assured that this isn’t the case and this wasn’t the first time the company was doing this. I was like, “here-just take my money!” Fashion weeks are tricky to get into if you aren’t a ‘somebody’ or if you don’t know somebody in the scene. I have since realised that this seems to be a new gimmick that many other companies are now using. They get an entry into the smaller shows and maybe one odd big show but that is about it..
For the first time actually, I didn’t have a meticulous plan about places to visit and things to do, and I enjoyed it thoroughly (but only because NYC is very mainstream and things to do are very standard for first timers). Besides, FII had also arranged things for the whole group. So this would be a two part post to focus on fashion and the travel aspect. Let’s begin with fashion obviously.
Fashion week involves multiple shows happening in multiple places simultaneously all day long for a solid week or so. While many popular bloggers and celebs actually change for different shows during the day, less important people like me have no such worries (getting it right for that day is more than enough!)
Here are my top tips to attend fashion week like a pro. Did I follow them all? NO. But I did learn these to be handy tricks in hindsight and will be using these in future:
- Pack your outfits to the T. Right from earrings and purse to the socks, every single detail must be decided when you pack. Especially if you know the number of shows you tentatively plan to attend. I had even planned makeup looks roughly. Not all of these materialised but it was good to have some idea to go by.
- Doing fashion week in winter is hard. But not if you plan to include multiple colour palettes and combinations. Many patrons brave the cold and wear only semi warm clothes or just carry the jacket in their hands. But if you want to be spotted for street-style, take the efforts and make sure even when you are wearing your warmest coat, you look fly.
- A few minor and plain items can be exchanged with friends to create a totally new look without packing extra baggage. Bonus if have a friend in the same city whose closet you could raid and borrow small things from!
- ALWAYS pack a pair of awesome sneakers and good heels. In fact, also carry a pair of flip-flops or anything comfy because fashion week involves a lot of walking and standing around. I saw many patrons in line holding tote bags that had their shoe changes! Sneakers just turn any look into street-style and will always be chic.
- Small stylish purses are space-savers and add jazz to your outfit. Carrying 2 small purses in cool colours stacked onto each other can create a look of a totally cool new purse altogether!
- If your outfits seem to need more jazz, compensate with colour-pop in your makeup and accessories (such as earrings, necklaces, brooches, scarves). These would also save space. However using these would need you to do your homework and use your best combination and styling tricks. My pink mascara turned out to be a great conversation starter at one of the shows. And it wasn’t even daylight (it was indoors and in poor lighting!).
- Shows typically last for 20-30 mins; so what you do before and after, is crucial. Network and take in as much as you can talking to as many people possible.
- Reach before time to get street style shots, get noticed by photographers, and to appreciate the style in the crowd.
- Best fashion show is happening right around you in the crowd, outside in the lines and on the streets. Take time to compliment people and say hello to even random strangers. Get a picture with them! Make contacts purely based on mutual appreciation of fashion and style.
- One neat trick I used was to use insta name-tag as my business card. I saved my name-tag as a screenshot and set it as my wallpaper. Every time I met a street-style photographer and needed to exchange contacts, I would just give them my name tag and they would take a picture of it. Much smoother and better than business cards.
- It is a good idea to get pictures of your ensemble in the city, and use them for promotion and posts. The reason – you may reach the shows just in time or at late evening time. And there isn’t much good light left outdoors to get good pictures by then. Do not let this be the reason you don’t get a picture of your outfit. If pictures are important to you, plan ahead a little bit.
- Carry hand held steamer if your garments need the extra care. It is worth the effort since there is nothing more unsightly than crinkled silk/satin finish at fashion week.
- Reach out to people and say hello. Take pictures of people on your phone as conversation starter and then exchange contacts. Fashion industry is pretty much built on contacts and these contacts are not just for fashion, you get to meet amazing people who know a lot about the city and many varied topics under the sun!
- ALWAYS carry a power bank and USB cable for your phone. Share the event while it is still happening to get more coverage. These events only create buzz when the timing is right. If possible find time to meet the designers and exchange a few words to get to know them and their vision. Bring an empty phone to the city and bring back up hard drive to keep space in your phone at all times. Backing up on the cloud may not always work with network etc. and you won’t have time to fidget with technology with all the rush and the buzz.
- All this is wayyy more fun if you have friends for company, so plan going with friends or just make sure to make new friends at these events. It is much more rewarding.
- To be very honest, the fashion week is only half about the shows. Networking and meeting like-minded people/people from the industry and checking out new trends, is more what it’s about.
I wish I could attend even more shows and I aim to attend more fashion weeks in the future. The combination of exploring a new place while attending fashion week is intoxicating and I think I may have just tasted blood. I am truly grateful to Fashion Incubator India for the opportunity and for chance to hang with some amazing top bloggers from India (Shereen Bharwani, Masoon Minawala and Nikita Mehra). It was humbling how kind these bloggers were and that they took time to hold conversations with us even individually.
While not many current readers might be interested in this write-up, experiencing a good fashion show at least once in your life, is a must. Whether we admit it consciously or not, most of us are aware of style and what looks good, at least on ourselves. Fashion is a powerful form of art that has many variations to engage possibly every type of person and taste. Experiencing one of the fashion weeks will give you a totally new perspective on art.
Where’s the hygge?
A lot goes behind setting up these shows and creating the garments. It conveys a lot more than vanity and brings people together to start multiple conversations about the many aspects that fashion involves. I certainly learnt a lot about the things that actually run the fashion world and it is fascinating. The amazing people I met and all the art I got to drink in, gave me a high like nothing else. Not to mention the challenge to create looks by being inventive and resourceful rather than going on a shopping spree for new outfits! The best kind of hygge there is for someone like me.