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How to Get into New York Fashion Week 5 Ways

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I’ve received tons of e-mails from people who want to know how to get into New York Fashion Week without press passes or invites. I am reluctant to give out any tips to these folks, because it seems that they only want to attend to celeb spot, rather than to actually bask in fashion glory.

Fashion shows last only 15 minutes, and people push in line and get edgy like at a basketball game. Imagine 2,000 people trying to exit and re-enter a basketball game every 15-20 minutes.

My advice? If you want to celeb spot tune into VH1. There are enough wanna-bes and frelebrities (free loaders who really want to be celebrities) milling around the tents. For those of you with a real interest in fashion and how fashion week works, here is the low-down.

How to Get Into New York Fashion Week

Get a Press Credential

Technically, you need to be a credentialed member of the press to get into the tents. In reality, anyone can enter the tents if you have an invite. You can even get in if you don’t have to have a pass, but do act like you got some sense.

For example, I was rushing in for the Tracy Reese show, when a father and his daughter just happen to make their way into the tents. By the way he was dressed, it looked like he could have been of “money” and his daughter was absolutely adorable. However, he was a total geek when trying to get into the show. He first asked the PR staffer what was going on (a sure sign he didn’t belong) and then, overlooking the big sign that read Tracy Reese asked what show was next. Needless to say, he and his daughter were booted out of the tents.

Get Invited

You have to be invited to a show. Once you are inside the tent, that doesn’t guarantee that you will get into a show.

For the really popular shows like Marc Jacobs or whatever celeb of the moment, it’s a minor miracle to get an invite to stand. However, if you have a look, you can often get in. This is because it’s important for PR firms to fill the audience with characters that would give the show a “fashiony” look for the folks at home.

For look inspiration, check out folks like Patrick McDonald and NYFW institution, crazy suit guy.

Guy wearing a crazy suit -- that's how to get into New York fashion week
This guy really makes a statement with his outfit.

Be a Blogger

Start a blog and take pictures of yourself wearing the designer’s clothing. For the past few years, the fashion show audiences have been filled with bloggers. When I first noticed this, I asked a staffer at fashion powerhouse PR Revolution about the increase in invites for bloggers. I was told that bloggers are invited because “they show up” and most write “very positive things” about the lines.

Tell a Story

If you really want to go to a show and you don’t have an invite, spin a little story. Say that you are from XYZ magazine and your editor would love it if you could cover the show.

If you get a sympathetic PR staffer, you might get in, if you get a cranky, overworked staffer, you will be escorted out of the tents.

Make New Friends

Shows last only 15 minutes. The real action takes place outside in the tents. Hang around in the lobby, eat a sugar-free cupcake, pick up some copies of Elle, and get a free We bag. Strike-up a conversation with a reporter from Iceland. Ask if they are hiring, so next season you can head to the tents legit.

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