It's exactly a week today till the opening day of London Fashion Week, and as the PR companies are frantically shipping invites, and designers are desperately finishing their collections, press & bloggers like me are planning the week ahead of us. Fashion Week, no matter which one you attend whether it's London, New York, Paris or smaller weeks in major cities across the world, can be a pretty stressful ordeal. However, with a few handy tips it can be a fabulous week of events, parties, business mingling and creativity, with a little work in between. Over the last four seasons of LFW that I've been lucky enough to attend, I've picked up a few handy tips, so below I've put together my essential guide on how to survive fashion week:
Prep is key: You may think your hard work is done after you've spent many days emailing to request show tickets and befriending PR companies, however to have a truly stress free Fashion Week experience you need to prep like a boss. If you have a smart phone then you have all you need to make those daunting schedules look effortless.
I add all invites for shows, presentations and after parties onto my phones calendar, including the event address, times and PR company. I'll also add little notes, such as where I'm sat or what I plan on wearing. Trust me, it may take a little time to do this, but when you're running from one show that over ran to another and you can't remember the address, you'll be thankful! Another tip is to know your area. The night before, make sure you've had a little google at where each event is held, look for the closest tube stations on a map if needed and note them down in your phone. If you have an iPhone like me, then I suggest using your notes app. Adding details like this simply saves time, stops you getting stressed and makes the whole day pass drama free! Oh and while you're prepping like a boss, check the weather the night before, make sure your paper tickets are out ready for the next days events, and if your have e-tickets then SCREEN SHOT THEM! As from past experience, it's great that you have a ticket on your Gmail but if you don't have a signal to be able to load it at the show, you're screwed! And one last thing before I move on, wonder why I include the PR details? It's not just so I know who to contact while at the show if I have an issue. It's to remind me who to tag while posting on social media while you're at the event. Tag your new PR friends when you're streaming live, posting photos or videos, not just the designers. The PR likes to know you've had a good time, plus it shows them you're actively supporting the brand they've invited you to. After all, that's why you got a ticket, but please remember, Drunken hoe isn't cute. If you tag PR companies in some, let's say, tragic posts, you may never hear from them again... keep it professional, but do have fun!
Basic Beauty: You may be having lots fun gossiping with new friends and running from show to show but remember you'll still want to look groomed and effortlessly chic, well, I do anyway! During LFW I usually carry a medium clutch and therefore have to carry only basic essentials with me. I do advise that taking the bare essentials is always better than carrying a huge bag full of things you'll never need or use. My suggestions? A small powder compact with mirror for touch ups and quick hair checks. A mini perfume, a cute lip gloss so you don't get dry lips and mints, for minty fresh breath after all that champagne and gossip. I also suggest tissues, as let's face it, you never know when you're gunna need a tissue! My favourite compact at the moment is the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Compact Duo. Not only is it super stylish, but it contains a small lipstick, a great quality powder and sponge with a mirror perfect for checking how you look on the front row, oh and touching up your make up of course!
Portable Charger: This is simple, you're out all day at fabulous events so you're obviously going to be using your phone a lot, for photos, social media and maps for getting around. Therefore, with your phone having so much important information in it you can't afford for it to die at a critical time like fashion week. So keep it charged and keep it happy. I suggest having a portable charger with you and also look out for coffee shops that have charge ports in them, just in case.
A quick tip: if you're attending shows with Fashion Scout this season like I will be, the ITSU store on the corner near Freemasons Hall has a large toilet for outfit changes, great snacks and lots of charger points!
Dress for Versatility: This is a tip I picked up the first time I attended a show. Wear clothes that are versatile enough to wear on the street, but also fabulous enough to wear at the show. You may need to wear the same outfit to more than one show or event so make sure that whatever you wear will be suitable. Planning is key, so take my advice on planning the days outfits the night before. Look out for the weather too, but also remember that fashion Week is your chance to dress to impress, so be versatile but totally fabulous. I've been known to wear pieces that I can change while at the shows, such as wearing two logo tee's at once, being photographed in the top one which I'd then take off to reveal the next one to be worn at the next show. Some clever thinking and forward planning really helps, especially if you’re planning to stand out for the hoards of Street style photographers. Keep them coming for you, keep them cominggggg!
Shoes: This is a new tip added to my Fashion Week prep, as last season I made a vital mistake. Heels, now I’ve worn a few pairs here and there at select events, and when I have my look has been photographed and I’ve done really well. However, when I cracked out a 5 inch pair of boots for the FDC Young Designer Awards where I was on the judging panel, I forgot to do something you should always do with new heels, no matter how seasoned you are, and that’s to practice walking in them. Now I did try them on at home, and despite them being super high, I strutted like Kaia Gerber perfectly. However, silly me had only walked on carpet at home, and as soon as I hit the marble lobby of The Pullman at St Pancras, I realised that I was NOT prepared at all. A rookie mistake that I won’t make again. I styled out my shakey marbled floor strut as best I could till I reached more carpet. I don’t think anyone noticed, but I didn’t feel confident and was very nervous of falling, and heels without a confident walk is just a big NO! So remember, wearing new heels at fashion week? Then practice your walk on a stone floor not just carpet!
Business Cards: Whether you're a blogger, designer, student, artist or editor, having a business card made up and ready to hand out could be make or break. Fashion Week is about creativity, business mingling and fashion, so don't be afraid to promote yourself or business casually with the right people. You never know where it may lead.
Flexibility: This tip is a more of a state of mind. Fashion Week is busy, shows overrun and you get ticket invites to some shows minutes before it's due to start. Be flexible and go with the flow. If you're desperate to see a show, arrive in plenty of time and be prepared to queue (unless you're front row, then be prepared to walk straight in and have your photo taken!). Just be flexibly and prepared to miss a show here and there as that's the nature of such a tight schedule. Sometimes a show may be so over subscribed that you can't gain entry. Just smile, go with the flow, and enjoy the next party!
Smile: Last but not least, don't forget to smile. You'll be meeting lots of new people, hopefully making new friends and doing lots of networking. Remember that Fashion Week is actually big business, hence the business card tip, so keep a smile on your face at all times and remain professional. Also remember you may be sneakily photographed, you don't want to find embarrassing photos of yourself with a moody face. The more you smile, the more you'll have fun, and the more people will want to say Hello to you, and you never know where that Hello could lead...
Wishing everyone a successful and totally fabulous London Fashion Week, I hope to catch you at the shows.