Full disclosure: I’m writing this article wearing a hard hat in a damp construction shanty in the Meatpacking District. I am not the target market of New York Fashion Week (NYFW), but one thing is for sure: I absolutely love it. For two weeks, NYC is flooded with even more materialism and pretty people than it usually has, and the excuse to party on Tuesday nights (all in the name of networking of course) is never more palpable.
Sure, there are downsides to Fashion Week. Longer lines at restaurants, overcrowded bars and clubs, sleep deprivation. But if those are really dealbreakers, why did you move to New York in the first place? I don’t like being photographed and I don’t particularly enjoy wearing stilettos, but that’s not going to stop me from enjoying a little prosecco and good company at a 2 p.m. fashion show as I leave my construction site on the Upper East Side. The whole week is an open bar with hors d’oeuvres if you play it right. Explore the space and make some friends.
Modern day NYFW was started by fashion great Fern Mallis (I complimented her shoes one time at an event, not sure if she appreciated it), executive director of the Council of Fashion Directors of America (CFDA). The CFDA wanted to extend the reach of NYFW while still maintaining the premier status and exclusivity of the brands showcasing their designs. In 1993 NYFW took over Bryant Park, setting up a series of white tents and runways. From there, they established a citywide calendar of shows hosted in the hottest locales of New York City’s most fashionable neighborhoods.
Tips for NYFW from a straight white male in construction:
- Support your friends: If you have any friends in the industry or that are industry adjacent, do whatever you can to help them through this glamorous and difficult time. Bring them coffee, attend their shows, compliment them incessantly, buy them copious amounts of alcohol. NYFW is a marathon and we all need support. Plus, you might get that highly coveted +1 to that cool event y’all were talking about.
- Get there early: Lines are the worst. Just assume fashionably late doesn’t apply.
- Don’t waste time with people who don’t want to interact with you: If you’re trying to convince someone to be your friend, you are doing it wrong. Be authentic and make meaningful connections with people who actually want to talk to you. No one likes a social climber.
- Always have a friend: This seems like a given, but it’s never a good look to be standing alone at a party. Especially during Fashion Week.
- Learn when to say no: I’m still working on this one myself. Everyone is attending these events for a reason; make sure yours isn’t just to keep the party going. Thousands flock to the City to attend NYFW and bring their best whenever they step outside. If you’re exhausted, or hungover, or have a pimple, it’s totally acceptable to sit this one out.