Every party has its rules, and knowing them before you go can make the difference between bad behavior and embarrassment and an experience that supremely benefits your business through your superior networking skills.
Here are our 5 Tips for Making the Most of New York Fashion Week:
Never forget that everyone has twenty events and is double booked at all times. Time is short and valuable. If you see someone you want to talk to, if someone notices your outfit, or you are engaged in speaking about your work, the cardinal rule is: Make it quick, make it professional.
- Be early to a show or an event. You are not Lindsay Lohan.
- Elevator pitch. Two lines about your collection will better impress anyone than lengthy diatribes.
- Have business cards or postcards easily accessible, no digging in your bag! Make sure they are small, so easy to tuck away.
- Make sure all the links on your website work.
- Thank people on social media.
Dress to Impress Attitude
Pack Attitude. By this we mean attitude in dress and in tons of politeness. Fashion snobbery is not de rigueur, and makes any outfit instantly gauche. Yes, smile for the cameras, hand your card, be polite, respectful and friendly. This goes a very long way.
Fashion Night Out (and do go without the 7-inch Louboutins)
It’s simply massive. Cabs and transportation are impossible. People are jamming the streets like it’s Mardi Gras and you’ve never seen such crowds.
Map it all out ahead of time. Know that if you are downtown, you will likely not make it uptown quickly. Start out the evening with any event that is most important to you and your business before traffic snarls or too many people take their effect.
When it comes to celebrities, should you say hi and try to make them aware of your collection? There are so many factors in the moment you must assess.
- If in passing, on the street, on the way to a show, yes, but gauge their mood and mode of transport.
- Are they with several people or an entourage? Will speaking to them be supportive or disruptive?
- Can you approach in a friendly, respectful way and engage them on a recent project, song or show…and then hand them your card?
- And finally, suss out the entourage. Is there an approachable PR person who you could speak to first for access?
Strategic Social Media
Be kind. If you can’t say anything nice about a collection, an editor you meet, or a buyer, do not say anything at all. You are not invited to the party because you are rude, you are there as a representative of your brand.
The fashion industry is small and people move around to different positions all the time. The person you barb today might be someone making a key decision about your line years later.
Flawless Follow up
If the buyer who drooled over your outfit or the editor who called you their new best friend does not return your call or email as promised, do not write them off.
- AFW. (After Fashion Week.) Again, the mantra of the fashion world and Fashion Week is everyone is busy and you must assess. Are they the kind of editor or buyer who does the whole international circuit after NY Fashion Week? Then the AFW syndrome will go on for a while. Get friendly with the receptionist and be consistent.
- Try to send a brief email as follow up the next day, with an engaging subject line as a reminder. Or perhaps connect on social media. Wait until Fashion Week is finished before you send a second email or call. Persistence will pay off.
What a curious, detailed code of conduct is necessary for entrée into the Fashion Week circuit. Have a wonderful time!