Last September, I attended New York’s most exclusive fashion event, typically reserved only for New York’s elite, celebrities, and influencers. The show begins long before any runway, as the streets flood with stylish socialites, showcasing their most subversive and avant couture.
Attending New York Fashion Week can be a real status symbol in the fashion world. And if you’re a regular person, securing a seat is a considerable achievement.
My experience began with a cold email. A shot in the dark. Eager to get an inside look at the world of fashion and opulence, I looked for ways to watch the shows without having a million followers. On Instagram I came across a modeling agency that was seeking social meda assistance throughout the week and offered to help. Hannah Noelle, CEO and founder of Hannah Noelle Models, told me she received hundreds of DMs, but I was the only one to send an email. That email bought me a front row ticket to over 10 NYFW shows. I had a key to all the glitz and glamour. I soaked in as much as I could, taking advantage of every networking opportunity, and obsessively picking Hannah’s brain. She told me stories of her agency’s origins, what she looks for when scouting new talent, and let me in on the inner workings of the fashion industry. It was a fabulous and educational experience.
I’m looking forward to attending again this year. Of course, to learn more about the business and the people who run it, but more importantly, because the runway illustrates what direction our culture is moving in. Not to mention, it’s the number one indicator for the mainstream fashion trends to come. And street style in a way directly reflects the values of the consumers, whether we accept or reject what the brands foist upon us.
Needless to say, fashion week is not all fun and games. It’s a quick-paced and stressful time for all parties involved. Luckily, that means many people are looking for help. If you’re interested in attending this year, there are a couple ways to bypass the follower requirement.
Putting on an extraordinary fashion show requires a lot of help. Brands and venues take on volunteers and interns to ensure a smooth and successful run. Expect to work long hours for little to no pay. Still, working backstage can be a rewarding experience. You’ll get a behind the scenes look and rub elbows with the biggest designers and industry professionals.
Take a look at the September schedule to compile a list of designers. Find contact info, preferably a PR email, and send a cold email. The key is to keep it short and to the point.
You could also try contacting the big venues like Spring Studios and Pier 59. If you’re dead set on volunteering for a high-profile show, this is your best bet.
2. Assisting an agency or an influencer
This method is the best if you want to sit and watch the shows. Boutique modeling agencies and PR agencies usually take on interns to help them with a variety of tasks throughout the week.
When reaching out, you want to leverage whatever experience you have, whether that’s social media or photography. This is the time to pitch yourself, but remember to keep it simple!
Another great option is to reach out to fashion influencers that typically attend the shows. Many of them take on assistants to help them keep up with the hectic week and capture their instagram content while they do it. You’ll probably have access to the more exclusive events and after parties.
If you have the opportunity to attend this September, bring your A-game. Make sure you have your business cards and make lots of friends. And although it’s a crazy and stressful week, don’t forget to have fun!
Thank you to Hannah Noelle Models for this incredible opportunity to attend New York Fashion Week, I am looking forward to September!
Written by Astrid Mendoza.