For the past 6 seasons, I have been attending New York Fashion Week shows like Tom Ford’s, Jeremy Scott’s, Alice & Oliva, Philip Pleins, etc. For the past 4 seasons, I have been one of the executive producers behind-the-scenes, running shows, securing headline sponsors, and overseeing guest list. I have been on both end of the spectrum – as a show-runner and a guest. From my first show at the Lincoln Center to now, so much of the fashion scene has changed! Years ago, only A-list celebrities and top journalists from high fashion publications were invited. Now, the doors have opened to bloggers, influencers, and tastemakers.
NYFW is a bi-annual event of runway shows and presentations used to highlight designers’ collections for the next fashion season. The event is organized by WME/IMG and the Council of Fashion Designers America (CFDA). Each February, designers showcase Autumn/Winter collections. Each September, designers showcase Spring/Summer collections.NYFW.com
I’m a firm believer that high fashion should be accessible to all! Fashion is, after all, an industry that continues to push boundaries by challenging the status quo. Year-by-year, the industry should push for more diversity reflected on the runway and amongst the attendees. Although it took a while for the high fashion society to start warming up to the idea of influencers, now, the brands see the purchasing power that influencers bring. All of a sudden, your favorite influencers are seen sitting front row at some of the most buzz worthy shows.
Wanna get invites to NYFW as an influencer? Keep reading to find out how you can plan in advance to score invites next season!
2 MONTHS PRIOR: HOTELS
Two months prior, you should start sending out email requests to pitch to hotels. In your emails, you should include your blog url, a brief elevator pitch about your brand, how you differ from other bloggers, and a few links of your recent press mentions. Be clear about when and how many nights you’re requesting. Illustrate in details how you plan to promote the hotel in return. Feel free to offer them the rights to your images and videos across their social, and make good on your deliverables so you can keep that relationship going for the future.
I do have to warn you – aim high in the number of pitches but be realistic about the caliber of hotels you’re reaching out to! Some of the biggest hotels like Four Seasons and 11 Howard are highly competitive, reserved only for celebrities and mega influencers with millions of followers. Try to target more boutique hotels. Some of my favorite ones are The Edition NYC, Nomo Soho, Arlo, and Yotel.
Please keep in mind that you’ll probably get tons of “Due to high volume of visitors, we are unable to comp” emails back! Even if they can’t offer you a free stay, ask for a media rate. A little goes a long way.
1 MONTH PRIOR: FASHION SHOWS & BEAUTY BRANDS
Each season, CFDA releases the official NYFW calendar of designers who are showing. A quick google “NYFW Show Schedule” will provide you with a thorough breakdown of when/where the official fashion shows are. (There will also be tons of designers showing independently. Stay updated on their website and instagram to find out when those are.)
A month prior to NYFW, you should start reaching out to pitch yourself to various fashion brands and PR firms to score invites. The best way to find out PR contacts is through Instagram. Never send your pitch directly in the DM’s! Stick to emails.
Typically, a show has a front-of-house PR team that handles invites and seating. Who is the designer tagging for PR? Compile a list of shows, contacts, and start firing off your pitches. (If the designer does not have outside PR, reach out directly via Instagram or website to see who the best point of contact is and get their email.)
Start your email pitch with who you are, how your brand differs from others, and links of your recent press mentions. The key here is to align your mission with the designer’s brand and be specific in how you plan to share your coverage with your followers.
Start building up a long contact list for shows you’d like to go so in the future, you can just add on to the list.
I also suggest to use this time to pitch to the countless beauty brands that will be involved in NYFW this season. Fashion Week is primetime for global beauty brands to spend a good chunk of their marketing budget. Reach out to them to see if they are offering any pop-up activations you can attend, any opportunities for future collaborations.
TWO WEEKS PRIOR: CONFIRM & FOLLOW-UP
This is the time to start finalizing your list of shows and make sure you confirm your attendance to all the shows that have accepted you! If you don’t respond with a “confirmed! I’ll be there” email, PR teams will not save your seat. Go through your inbox and make sure that all the shows you plan to attend know you will be coming.
Map out a detailed schedule of how long it will take you to go from one show to another. (NYC traffic is serious!) If you accidentally double-booked yourself, send a curtesy email to the show you are likely to miss. Do not flake! Publicists will remember. You may not get a chance in the future to redeem yourself.
Follow up with any requests you did not hear back from. Most requests go unanswered until weeks leading up to the show because, well, it’s a fashion show so everyone is running around behind the scenes like chicken with their heads cut off! Don’t assume a no-response is a rejection. Give it your best shot and follow up professionally!
If you receive a “Sorry! Due to overwhelming interest in the show, we are unable to -” response, ask to see if you can get a standing spot. Depending on the size of the venue, some shows will allow guests to stand and watch in the back when all the seats are filled.
Remember – don’t take anything personal! It’s just fashion week!
This is also the best time to download the Launchmetrics app. Almost all designers use this app to send ticket requests and seat assignments in addition to via email. Fashion shows you RSVP’ed yes too will pop up in there and it’s an easy way to keep your schedule organized. When you arrive at the shows, a lot of times you’ll need to scan your barcode, which can be found right in the app.
ONE WEEK POST-SHOW: SEND OVER DELIVERABLES
One of the most important steps in building a strong relationship is to send “thank-you” emails to the publicists that confirmed you for a show! Remember the deliverables (number of posts, tags, etc) you promised in your request? Fulfill those within a week of attending the show. If you can, fulfill them within the first 48 hours.
Send over your blog links, IG posts, TikTok videos, and more to the publicists so they can include your analytics in their wrap-up report! They will thank you tremendously and be sure to add you on their list for future shows.