Regardless of if you’re a newcomer or seasoned stylist working in the fashion industry, attending Fashion Weeks’ are a no brainer for growing your industry knowledge, network and building content.
Fashion Week can be quite an investment, both in terms of time and money. So in an industry that is in general time poor, how do you best leverage a highly reputable industry event to build your styling brand?
We at Australian Style Institute have attended more Fashion Weeks than we would probably like to admit. We’ve collated the top tips we wish we’d known prior to attending our first shows, from how to get tickets to what to wear. Keep reading for our best advice.
Should you buy tickets or get accreditation?
With Sydney’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week opening its doors to non-industry ticket sales, the option of attending fashion week has now been opened to the public. While this may have some industry folk groaning, it can be viewed as the best of both worlds when it comes to accessing tickets.
Whether you opt to purchase tickets or apply for accreditation, it’s really up to you and what you want to get out of the experience.
Opting for media accreditation (if you can get it) means you can attend more shows and save your $. However, it does have its downsides. Unless you’re a fashion blogger with a follower account ending in K, or an editor of one of those hip online fashion mags, your odds of securing a quality seat with a good view isn’t great, and you’re also not able to choose which sessions or shows you go to. But, if your aim is to attend as many shows as you can to grow your industry knowledge and absorb the atmosphere, then this is a great option.
For those happy to spend to secure better seats or unable to get accreditation, both MBFW and VAMFF are open to the public through non-industry purchased tickets. While these can come at a price, they are a great investment if you plan to attend a few select shows and make the most of your experience.
If you have the option to choose, we recommend earlier shows. Fashion Weeks’ are now equally about what happens on the runway as much as outside. If part of your objective is to get shot by a prominent street style photographer, curate some incredible imagery for your own socials or simply people watch, outside and during the daylight is where it all happens
In terms of where to sit, we recommend as close to the front as you can afford. It can be tempting to get the cheaper seats towards the back and attend more shows, but in 2020, content is key and the best imagery is taken from upfront.
As a last resort, if you miss out on accreditation you can email brands directly. Brands usually have a number of seats set aside to distribute as they wish, and if you have something you can offer them (a blog post or high-quality imagery) they might just give one to you. At the very worst if they don’t have space, they may still put you on a networking email list for future use.
With the ever-growing list of runways, panels, after-parties and pre-parties, working out which events to attend (especially for a newcomer) can be super confusing.
Gala or Opening Night shows which usually have a greater selection of designers are a guaranteed good time. Graduate shows like that of VAMFF’s Swinburne show are also likely to bring some new and different inspo.
For single brand shows like those at MBFW we recommend doing your research. Don’t simply choose brands you are already familiar with, but widen your net by researching the previous shows of other brands.
Usually, shows which are off-site, tend to offer the greatest ‘wow factor’. These brands have a larger budget and if they are choosing to show off-site, it’s probably for a reason.
If you’re lucky enough to get accreditation and have been invited to several shows, still do your research and choose a select group of shows for each day and RSVP to those only. Runway fatigue is real and you wouldn’t want to miss the show of the season because you’re running around trying to make it to every single thing on offer.
Between the regular runway shows, both MBFW and VAMFF offer several panels, lunches and talks. Many are paid but some of which are free. Try to attend at least one to hear from industry leaders. Check out VAMFF’S schedule to find a few you might be interested in.
On top of events, if you’re just looking to learn a little more about some upcoming designers, the Australian Fashion Council has their Curated pop up of some of Australia’s best up and coming designers located in the Emporium, Melbourne.
Getting the best street style pics & growing your presence
A big part of Fashion Week is the street style that happens outside the venue. Whether you’re wanting to get snapped or keen on snapping some other well-dressed attendees, there are key ways to ace it.
Shooting street style at Fashion Week is a powerful way to gain exposure. Get to the show an hour early, bring your camera and don’t be shy. Most people expect to be photographed at Fashion Week and you never know who might be around the corner. Ensure to ask for the relevant social media handles; from brands to models to PR, you might just get a few reposts and new followers on your social.
If you’re wanting to simply get some photos of your own outfit, bring a buddy. You will have noticed all the fashion Week regulars attending in packs (The Hadids, Jenners and Kardashion-Wests). Not only is it just simply more fun with a partner in crime, but you have someone there to take a (fake) candid photo or two.
What to wear
What to wear is probably the biggest decision you will have to make for Fashion Week. Street style is big business and if you want to get noticed by a few cool photographers, a little for thought goes a long way. The big influencers, editors and creatives plan their outfits weeks in advance, often partnering with brands. So, the calibre of the outfits around you is TIP TOP.
Pre-plan your outfit and try it on ahead of time. We’ve all planned an outfit in our head, then put it on the night of only for it not to work.
Where possible, wear clothing from local brands or designers, especially if you have anything from a brand walking that runway.
Coordinate an outfit with a friend or several. There is nothing more street style photographers love than a girl gang in matching outfits who know how to walk in step.
While there may be a tendency to overdress for Fashion Week, this isn’t the best way to get noticed. Especially when it comes to Australia where we are known for an especially laid back sense of chic. Also, remember this isn’t a club or a formal event, and like the women in the know at Fashion Journal put it ‘Leave tight and bright for later in the night’.
If you’re aiming to ‘fit in’, the done thing at Fashion Week is muted colours, big and baggie, probably paired with the latest sneakers for enhanced speed and agility (those Fashion Week rises can be hard to manoeuvre).
The aim for Fashion Week is to look polished but not over the top. Stick to your personal style but don’t go crazy. If you’re still a bit unsure. Check out a few of our favourite street styles here.
Finally, while attending Fashion Week is great for growing your industry knowledge, networking and building content, it is also a great occasion for you and a few friends. So whatever else you get out of the experience, most of all, enjoy and have fun! If you’re attending, tag us @australianstyleinstitute #ASIstylist ; we’d love to see what you get up to.
Written by Bronte McCallum