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Would you like to go to New York Fashion Week (NYFW) but you’re lacking a much sought after invitation? Well you can!

Held semi-annually in February and September, it’s a 7 – 9 day period when the next season’s international fashions are presented. It has included many events: the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York, and MADE Fashion Week, as well as numerous independent fashion productions around town. Here’s a link to those shows and more just held from September 10 – 17, 2015 http://nymag.com/fashion/fashioncalendar/fashionweek/.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA), a trade association of over 450 American fashion designers, exerts some control over the official schedule and in future plans to take even more control. I don’t know what that will mean for all of the independent shows not on the official schedule but I expect there will always be lots to see for the curious like me. Also it’s worth noting that Mercedes-Benz is pulling out as a sponsor so it will be interesting who takes on that role for NYFW in February 2016.

And who goes to NYFW? Well, for the events that are part of the official schedule you have to be invited (however read on for a new exception). That includes: buyers; press; designers; people on social media (#NYFW) with clout (like bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, and other fashionistas with large followings); and lots of big name celebrity guests. But there are plenty of opportunities for NYFW experiences for the average person. I was there last week with my daughter to experience it, in all of its big apple glory.

Here’s what I learned:

Tiffany's Fashion Week New York International Extravaganza, Plaza Hotel

Tiffany’s Fashion Week New York International Extravaganza, Plaza Hotel

Couture Fashion Week at Crowne Plaza Hotel Times Square

Couture Fashion Week at Crowne Plaza Hotel Times Square

  • VIP tickets might be worth it. When shopping for tickets you’ll find options for VIP seats, i.e. the front row, which is worth it if you want the best vantage for photography. VIP seats may also get you champagne, gift bags, discount cards, a party invitation, and backstage opportunities. Alternatively choose much cheaper back row seating near a wall where lots of people stand for great views.

    Entertainment at Couture Fashion Week, NYC

    Entertainment at Couture Fashion Week, NYC

  • Look for freebies. On Eventbrite, we also nabbed some free tickets for iCU Fashion Week. Another freebie was the outdoor Macy’s Fashion Show that we didn’t know about until after the fact. No doubt other stores had shows throughout the week. Web search your favourite stores to find out what’s scheduled. And read this blog post by Laura Gurfein on Racked New York (click here ) to read about more free stuff.

    Macy's NYC

    Macy’s NYC

  • New this year. There were some CFDA sanctioned shows with tickets made available to the general public. I would give those events priority in future years. Read about Givenchy free tickets here.
  • Go ahead and see if you can get invited. Write to your favourite NYFW designers and make your case. Do you wear their fashions, talk about their fashions, and/or use social media to promote them? You might be one of the lucky ones. You won’t know if you don’t try and it sometimes just takes persistence.
  • Download the NYFW app. This mobile application will keep you apprised of the ongoing schedule and you can even live stream fashion shows from the comfort of wherever you are.

    Designer, Lie Sang Bong

    Designer, Lie Sang Bong

  • Join the paparazzi. This September the big events were primarily held at Skylight at Moynihan Station, MADE at Milk Studios, and Skylight Clarkson Square. Hanging around the venues could reward you with some celebrity sightings. At the shows we attended, there were people that the press paid special attention to but we had no idea who they were. However, at one event we did see Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, identifiable by their cross-body sashes.

    NYFW with Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA

    NYFW with Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA

  • Don’t fret over how you’re dressed. We put some thought into coordinating our outfits as we packed but really, as long as you are not too casually dressed, you’ll be fine. Of course, we gawked at the beautifully styled people, mostly young women, but then again we saw many who hadn’t gotten carried away with their attire. I know I like comfortable footwear and thought I’d look out of place without heels, but I saw lots of people in flats. For those who think this is the time to go wild, I’ve read that if you are dressed outlandishly, the organizers won’t want you in the front row. I expect that depends on the show. Best outfit I saw? A little white dog in a blue sequined jacket and matching hat. Adorable and well behaved in his front row seat.hungryroad_NYFW-18
  • Uncross your legs. Immediately before the show begins, you may hear “Uncross your legs and please push in your bags, ladies and gentlemen in the front row!” That’s for sake of the photographers and videographers and their concerns like keeping feet out of their pics and shadows off of the runway. And cell phones are now becoming more of a problem; most people are capturing the events on their phones, whether for personal or professional use. Here’s an interesting article on NYFW from a fashion photographer’s often frustrating point of view.http://fashionista.com/2015/09/fashion-week-getty-photographer
  • Book early. New York Fashion Week is a really busy time and hotels take advantage and mark up the prices. Book early and you may get a better price. I kept watching the prices after I booked and they continued to rise. The Fashion Institute of Technology offers a discount code for some hotels in their neighbourhood and you might want to take a tour there. Read about that here.

And while you’re there take advantage of the plentiful and sometimes comical photo ops. Walk the catwalk, get your picture taken with a celebrity, or join the line to get a selfie on the red carpet in front of an NYFW backdrop. They’re free souvenirs! But do it before the show because afterwards, the organizers may be eager to clear the crowds quickly in preparation for the next show.

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Do you have any NYFW tips to share??

 

BEST VALUE: Not to be confused with the jewelry company Tiffany and Co., Tiffany’s Fashion Week New York was the best value, organized by designer Tiffany McCall. Fashion shows generally last 30 – 45 minutes but these $55 tickets bought an entire evening of fashion shows at the famous and very luxurious Plaza Hotel. We enjoyed dressing up for what was promoted as a strictly enforced black tie event but there were all forms of dress – right down to jeans and flip flops. Dressed appropriately, we got bumped up to spaces available in the front row. We watched ongoing shows with different designers from 6 pm to 9 pm but by then had been sitting long enough and left. It probably went on for at least another hour judging by the program that included musical entertainment.

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Design by Tiffany McCall