Welcome to The Director’s Cut, an interactive column featuring fashion, beauty and career advice from RGNN Director and Founder, @isabelevabohrer.
As mentioned in my intro to our Fashion Week Career Advice guides, there are three main ways for university students to attend fashion weeks: as a volunteer, an intern or as a content creator. If you got that golden ticket to your dream show, keep in mind that fashion weeks do not happen in a vacuum. While you are at it…
Tip #1: Don’t wait until the last minute.
The most common mistake I see students making in their fashion week planning is waiting until the week before rolls around and then seeing if they can attend shows. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Yes, there are organizational details that are certainly finalized at all these events up until the last minute. But if you want to increase your chances, plan ahead. And btw, that goes for planning your outfits, too.
- If you are volunteering or interning, ask about the dress code. All black is always a good idea for interns and volunteers – you do not want to distract from the designer’s clothes!
- If you are invited to attend a show as an influencer, show the designer support, and wear their clothes (if you can afford them). If you do not own anything by that brand, you could also ask the PR contact if you can loan a sample for the show.
- If you are looking to get your photo snapped by street style photographers outside the show, go for an eye-catching outfit.
- Yes, the more eye-catching your outfit, the greater the chances are that you will be photographed by street style photographers. But be reasonable when it comes to functionality. Don’t wear huge hats that will block other’s from seeing the show. Don’t wear a coat that will take up an extra seat next to you. And especially if you are volunteering or interning, wear practical shoes.
Tip #2: Do take advantage of other events going on.
DM people who are or who you think might be attending fashion week in advance on Instagram, for example, to meet up, break the ice, network. In fact, the more you start networking with other influencers, for example, you might even discover that they have a plus one for an off-site event and you can come along!
Tip #3: Do your homework.
Know the names of all the major players (designers, editors, stylists, models, etc.). Especially if you are thinking of going backstage and interviewing someone, know who they are, their work, and what you are going to ask them.
Tip #4: If you are interested in photography, do take street style photos OUTSIDE the shows.
It’s free and you do not need to get invited! That’s a great way to break in and get to know people. And who knows, there might even be room at the show in the last minute and they could let you in. That said, don’t sit in the front row with a huge camera – go to the photo pit (where all the photographers are, at the end of the runway where the models pivot and where you get the longest look at the outfits). If you are accredited as a photographer, wear black so as not to distract from the designer’s clothes in any of the photos taken by others.
Tip #5: Don’t burn any bridges.
The fashion industry is small. It might be difficult to break in at first, but then you will find the same faces popping up over and over again. So, always be friendly, you never know who might cross your path again in the future. I always tell students that their peers are the future editors, photographers and more, so don’t forget about connecting with those in your generation, as well as those who are older than you.
Tip #6: Don’t forget to COVER THE SHOW.
Especially if you have been invited as a content creator. Post live on Instagram and on your blog/website/channel at least in the same week. The fashion industry moves fast, and people want the content almost in real-time.
Tip #7: Do say thank you.
Say thank you to those who invited you and send them a link to the content you created, even if they did not ask for it. Tag the designer AND the PR agency in your posts. Going that extra step and keeping in touch, especially with PR contacts, will increase your chances of getting invited again!
Tip #8: Do stay in touch afterwards.
The show might be over the minute everyone scurries from one venue to the next. Stay in touch beyond fashion week. You never know what opportunities might come up. Follow up with people on Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn or email. I highly recommend taking screenshots of people’s Instagram handles while at the shows. There will be so much going on you will not remember everyone’s names, their position, handles, etc. You’ll thank me later.
Tip #9: Do what you promised.
If you said you would volunteer or intern, do what is assigned to you. If you said you would create content, create the content. Respond to emails even if you have decided not to attend a show. Madrid Fashion Week, for example, has a strict no show policy – if you are invited to a show and do not show up, you will not be invited again next year.
Tip #10: Do take career of your health.
Fashion week, let alone fashion month, is stressful. So many shows, so many events, so many afterparties. Especially if you are juggling school at the same time, get sleep (yes, this is unrealistic, but at least get some extra sleep before fashion week starts and after, if possible). Stay hydrated, have snacks on hand and have a great time!
And one last piece of advice if you didn’t get to attend – never give up on your dreams!
Think of fashion week like applying for colleges. Always keep a safety school (or safety fashion show!) on file. Expect sending out many, many, MANY emails and not getting a response – that is absolutely normal. If you don’t get into any of the shows you were interested in, or if you don’t get that dream internship, don’t get discouraged, you can try again next season. The strategy of a brand is not set in stone – one season, they might be giving preference to a slew of celebrities, and next season, their focus might be on TikTok content creators. The problem is not always you, it might be them, so don’t give up easily!
Questions or comments? Follow me on IG @isabelevabohrer and say hi! See you soon!