|A photo I took second row from the Luca Luca S/S '12 runway show|
Happy weekend, everyone! I'm writing this as I sit inside a cool, air-conditioned house because, well, it's 100 degrees outside down south and it's not getting any cooler anytime soon. It's not often that I write random posts, but now that I'm back from my beach vacay, I'm starting to think about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in September (6-13) already (press registration is in a mere three weeks!). I know when I first started out, I was clueless. In fact, I had no intentions of ever even going to fashion week (what? bloggers can cover it?). I had no idea. So, as I gear up myself for this season, I thought I might share a few of my tips if you're applying as a blogger this year. Enjoy, and feel free to ask questions in the comments!
1. Join an ad network.
First and foremost, the only way I even knew about fashion week when I started four years ago, was through my ad agency (which was comprised of mostly beauty bloggers, rather than fashion, at the time. I later changed direction and joined Glam, my current network, which I adore.). By joining an ad network, you have access to many opportunities, as well as other bloggers who can share tips with you - and might even be willing to room with you! While your ad network won't grant you that coveted media pass, it's a great credential itself for when you do decide to apply. Some of the large ones are Glam, Lucky Style Collective, Style Coalition and Total Beauty.
2. Apply for official press credentials.
The first fall I attended fashion week in 2008, my blog was only four months old - eek! I decided to apply for press credentials (you do this at the fashion week site by clicking on "press." They'll ask for your photo, basic info and links to any past coverage) and to my huge disappointment, was declined. Yes, it happens. And it happens to many! But, don't let that discourage you from applying. You should apply wholeheartedly, and if you do happen to be declined, you can still attend shows to cover on your blog. Wait...what?
3. Press credentials aren't necessary.
Yep, you read that correctly. A press credential is fancy (I mean, you do get to wear it proudly atop your LBD all week), and it gets you the official media bag filled with goodies from the sponsors, but it isn't necessary to cover shows. What it does is it gets you on the "list" for designers to contact YOU to attend their shows - and you also get a list of designer contacts in case you want to contact them yourself. A great thing, might I add, and why I'll be applying personally. But, if you don't have credentials, you can still email your PR contacts directly to see if they have a spot available at their show. (If you're in beauty, you'll mostly want to work backstage.) How, you ask?
4. Be professional.
I can't say this enough. Covering fashion week is truly an honor and not to be taken lightly at all. You can't just toss out an email and expect a magical "yes." Hopefully, you have already built up relationships with the PR folks who are handling the shows (otherwise, isn't it a little awkward? shrug.). When you email, make sure you keep it to-the-point with honest facts (don't lie about your site's numbers; it will get you nowhere) and, obviously, a link to your blog and any credentials or past fashion week posts you've written on the brand. They'll like that, trust me. And if you don't have a press pass, modemonline.com is an excellent source of contacts you can use to contact PR.
PR will probably hate me for this, but it's important to follow-up if you don't hear something back. There are tons of people emailing and if you don't hear back within a couple of weeks, it's time to send a quick "checking in" note to make sure you haven't been forgotten. Hey, it happens. We're all busy! Not to mention, the early bird always gets the worm. (P.S. Just one follow-up note is sufficient. Otherwise, you risk becoming annoying.)
And that's pretty much it on the application process! I can't believe I've been covering shows for four years now. If I had let being declined the first season get me down, I wouldn't be where I am now. The first season I covered backstage at Marchesa (hello, dream) and saw amazing shows like Lela Rose and Milly. Someone has to give you a chance.
Fashion is a cutthroat industry, and only those who can fight through it all will survive. So, keep your peep-toes crossed, but if things don't work out the way you thought, go to your next plan of attack. Be persistent. Hope to see you at Lincoln Center, darlings! xo