Tips & Tricks To Attending New York Fashion Week For The First Time As A Blogger

How is it October 1st?! Almost a month ago I attended NYFW and I received several questions about how I made it all happen. Instead of compiling my tips and tricks into my last New York post, I figured that I would make a separate post dedicated to how I attended NYFW. This post is mainly for my fellow blogger gals out there, but if you’re curious like I would be, then you might enjoy the post too! Here, you’ll find my pre-NYFW to-do’s, who to reach out to, how to gather contacts and when to book your trip.

Organizations & Platforms
For me, the greatest resource that I found for myself was my membership with Style Collective. I’ve been a member of Style Collective since earlier this year and it’s been life changing for me and my blog! I’ve meet so many incredible women, but I’ve also been given countless resources and guidance through this group. One of the many things that Style Collective offers is a NYFW Guide for bloggers. It includes everything from a contact list, a pitch template, tips on when to pitch, how to follow up, what to wear and even a budgeting sheet. Obviously, I can’t share that specific information but it’s worth signing up for Style Collective alone. You can sign up for $10 a month or $99 a year (I think, I could be wrong). 
Another platform that I signed up for that I found super helpful was the official Fashion Week Online website. I signed up for $10 and I received the schedule as soon as it was set (subject to change) and some contacts as well. This was helpful because I could see across the calendar what was happening when, and then choose who to reach out to for show invites. 
The last platform that I utilized was GPS Radar. If you choose to use this platform, you will have to apply and be accepted before you’re able to use it. This is how most of the designers’ shows invites are sent out. It’s an easy way for you to see all of your invites, RSVP and manage your schedule. Through this program you’re not only able to request invites to shows, but designers are able to reach out to you and extend you invitations. Once you’ve RSVP’d, the addressed and times will be listed on each show. When you check into your shows, you’ll present the QR code that they have sent to you. 

When to itch, What to say & When to follow up
From what I read and did myself, it seemed as though the perfect time to pitch is about three weeks out from NYFW. The official schedule is usually released a month prior to the events, so initially pitching yourself at the three-week out mark is good timing. You don’t want to pitch too soon, but not too late that the majority of the invites are taken. 
When pitching yourself for NYFW, you want to keep your emails short, sweet and to the point. The PR reps received thousands of these emails, so if your email is too long, they might overlook important information. For the pitch template that I used and found successful, join Style Collective
I followed up about one week after I sent my initial email. My follow-up emails were very concise and professional. Make sure you’re keeping track of every brand that you’ve emailed, if they’ve responded yet, the date that you follow up and their responses once you’ve received them. You don’t want to get confused or miss any invites! 

When to book your travel & hotel accommodations
I booked my flight about two to three months out to get the best price. One tip is to use the app Hopper to see when it will be the best time to book your flight. We flew Delta and into LGA airport. The security and baggage claim was pretty easy! 
When it comes to finding somewhere to stay, you can either pitch yourself to hotels for a comped or discounted rate in exchange for promotion on your blog, or just find a place on your own. This year, all of the shows were in lower Manhattan, so I’d suggest staying in West Midtown, Hell’s Kitchen, Tribeca, SoHo, Downtown or in any other safe neighborhoods around that area. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza HY36 West Midtown and absolutely loved it! We got a great group rate through Style Collective since they were hosting a conference. Keep in mind that this is one of the biggest weeks of the year in New York, so the rates for hotels go up as well as flights and transportation. So try and book as far out as you can! A lot of hotels allow you to cancel for a full refund if you do it by a certain date if you’re unable to make it. 

Other important things to know about attending NYFW
When you’re attending shows, you’re most likely going to be waiting outside in a long line for a while. Keep a small umbrella, snacks and a water in your bag, you’ll be needing them! Also, be prepared for the shows to hardly ever start on time. I don’t think that a single show that I went to actually started on time. Most of them started about 30 minutes after their scheduled time, which then runs into the rest of the day’s shows at that venue. After each show, the venue is cleared out, so even if you have a show in the same room, you’ll have to go back out and get back in line. There’s a lot of walking involved. So when I wasn’t wearing the most comfortable pair of shoes, I kept a pair of Vans in my bag to swap out with. 
Some of the NYFW official venues have exhibitions and pop-ups inside as well. If you have some down time, I encourage you to do some exploring and research so you are able to experience as much as possible. For instance, at one of the locations there was a TREsèmme hair styling station, a Papyrus coffee bar, an Evian charging station and vending machines with female-designer products for sale. These are awesome experiences and make for some great content!
During NYFW there are a ton of events going on outside of the actual fashion shows. This is when reaching out to PR companies comes in handy! From brand parties, rooftops cocktail parties to presentations and pop-ups, there are a variety of things to get invited to during NYFW. My advice is to research which brands, networks and retailers held events the previous year, find a PR contact and reach out to them inquiring about the upcoming events. 
My last, and probably most important tip, is to network! If you’re not talking to everyone you possibly can, then you’re doing it wrong. I met so many incredible people while I was there. It was the best networking experience that I’ve ever been apart of. Use the time that you’re spending waiting in line or sitting in your seat waiting for the show to start to get to know those around you. For the most part, everyone I talked to was nice and willing to network as well. I’ll be honest, I can be super shy and quiet, but I told myself that I was going to take advantage of this week in New York, and that I did. 

New York Fashion Week was hands down one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had the blessing to be apart of. On my second full day at NYFW, I was sitting second row and waiting for the show to start when I opened up my Timehop app. Two years ago to that day I had tweeted, ‘The things I would do to be at NYFW right now are pretty much limitless.’ I mean, talk about fate?! I’ve had this dream for as long as I can remember and I’ve been working hard over the past few years to bring these dreams into reality. But, I have to take a minute to thank you all, because without you all, this wouldn’t have been possible. So, if you’re chasing your dreams, don’t give up now. Your day will come!