A Beginner’s Journey to NYFW

A little over a week ago, on my birthday no less, I woke up to an email containing an invitation to the Francesca Liberatone runway show at New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Attending NYFW is not something I dreamed of since I was a little girl, but definitely since I started my blog in August 2015. To say I was ecstatic is an understatement, but I did realize it entailed quite a bit of commitment. The next few days I got more and more invitations flooding my inbox, but unfortunately due to my university and work commitments, I had to miss out on majority of the shows I was invited to. That didn’t stop me from making it out for the weekend to NY.

Now, I have to be honest. I got very lucky that I had enough Aeroplan rewards miles saved up that I could get a flight and hotel for a night without sparing a single dollar. The true commitment I made going to NYFW was time and taxi/food money.

Before I knew it, my carry on bag was packed with three pairs of shoes, two handbags, a coat, and about four interchangeable outfits. Yep, just for one night (more on capsule packing at a later date.) I got on a plane, and I took off into the unknown.

First and foremost, by “cheaping out” with my Aeroplan miles, and booking a hotel that wasn’t very close to all the NYFW action, I really punished myself. I headed to the area to meet up with some familiar Toronto faces, and decided since I had time to spare, I would take the subway and walk. Picture this for a second: a young woman in a massive fur vest, over-the-knee high-heeled boots, running through New York’s subways trying to get from Times Square to Meatpacking District. Enough said.

Being so far from all the shows meant I couldn’t easily scope out the scene during shows I wasn’t invited to. Obviously I wanted to dress up for the show I was attending, but wouldn’t want to be exploring the surroundings in high-heels and a dress. As a result, due to having to travel back and forth across the city (and spending money on Uber and taxis, since you won’t catch me dead in the subway in Louboutins), I didn’t get a chance to see what’s going on, except in the moments before and after the show I attended.

TIP: Get accommodation as close as possible to the scene.

Going to the show, I didn’t know what to expect. The only Fashion Week experience I’ve had to date was TOM* (Toronto Men’s Fashion Week), and the (now cancelled) Toronto Fashion Week. I headed to Skylight Clarkson Square by myself, and got in line for the standing tickets. What I didn’t know, was that as a standing ticket holder, you actually don’t have a guarantee to get into the show. Luckily for me, the cut-off happened right behind me as I walked in.

TIP: Arrive early, and be prepared to stand in your heels, in your coat, in a hot room, waiting.

img_9924Despite having a standing ticket, I was lucky to get a seat in the back row, and finally, after a half hour of waiting, I got to sit down and rest my feet. Almost everyone around me was in pairs, and had their “photo-taking buddy” while waiting for the show to start. The couple beside me was taking a Snapchat selfie, so being the kind-hearted soul that I am, I offered to take a picture of them for them. Of course, I followed up with “you’re going to have to return the favour” to make sure I got my NYFW shot.

 

TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask.

The collection was beautiful, and it was such a different experience from the shows in Toronto where I could actually get a front-row seat and people knew my name. In New York, I was a nobody, in a sea of fashion and media gurus, veteran and new. It was definitely a learning experience, and extremely humbling (even though I already consider myself to be quite humble.) At this point, all I could do was thank the PR firms who invited me to shows, and hope to hear from them again in the future.

TIP: Follow up. Whether you attended or not, follow up with the companies who invited you to ensure you will be on their media lists, and will get future invitations.

The weekend flew by, although during the adventure the two days felt like the longest days of my life. From complete exhaustion from being awake 6:00am to 2:00am, to getting stuck at LaGuardia Airport for two and a half hours longer than necessary due to weather delays (after having rebooked my flight twice due to cancellations). Although I got to hang out with some familiar faces while I was in NY, I still managed to sneak in plenty of alone time, which once in a while is incredible. It was definitely a learning experience overall, and I am more prepared than ever for the next one.

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Have you had a humbling beginner experience recently? Where was it? Let me know in the comments below!

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