London Fashion Week for Beginners

Eeek! It's August! Where has the Summer (yeah, right!) gone? Can't believe it's almost time for Fashion Week to roll around again, only a month away peeps! Back in February I represented Fashion Filtered for the first time at London Fashion Week (LFW). In the past I had got tickets to shows with an actress friend of mine, arriving minutes before shows start in chauffeur driven cars, being escorted to front and second row seats, being handed goodie bags, accepting invites to after parties and being papped... Going under my own steam was a totally different experience! I was relegated to standing, hours of queuing and was lucky to get a free coffee in the Press Room. If S/S13 will be your first London Fashion Week here is my advice to see you through what can be an eye opening and exciting experience.

Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Week dates:

New York    06th - 13th September 2012
London        14th - 18th September 2012
Milan            19th - 25th September 2012
Paris             25th September - 3rd October 2012    

Firstly you must register for press or blogger accreditation through the London Fashion Week website. If you are press you will need a commissioning letter from your Editor stating why you need to attend the shows. If you are a blogger you must submit Google Analytics stats proving the number of unique visitors to your website and how frequently you blog etc. You must also provide a UK address, this is where tickets will be sent. Don't expect to hear back straight away, you will only find out if your application is successful a few weeks before Fashion Week. If successful you will receive a unique Badge Reference Number, you'll need this when applying for tickets...

Accreditation alone won't guarantee entry to shows. It does get you in to the Somerset House Fashion Week Exhibition, and depending on whether you are a blogger or press, entry to the press areas where there is free WiFi, free drinks and seating so you can upload stories as they happen. To get tickets you need to speak to the relevant PRs representing the designer that you want to see. If you don't have a Fashion Monitor account (subscriptions are pricy but totally worth it) there is a list of contacts on the LFW website. Part of the point of press and blogger accreditation is to verify who should and shouldn't be at the shows. Seating, and even standing, is greatly limited so Fashion PRs will only give you a ticket if it's deemed that you really need to be there. Its a tough call for them to make and they are swamped with requests every season, don't take it personally if no-one replies to your emails and keep trying. Timing is everything when applying for tickets; apply too early and you'll be forgotten, apply too late and you'll miss out. Applying can feel like a full time job and can take days, its a good idea to create a template email. Remember to change names and designers in template emails as putting the wrong information will make you look disinterested and uncaring and will lessen your chances. Always be personable and friendly yet professional and to the point. Most PRs represent more than one designer, if you are sending requests to a generic show tickets email address at a PR company do your research first and include all the designers you want to see in one email (rather than being annoying and sending 10 emails). Some PR companies will set up an email address for each designers show so you still may have to send separate emails. Always check and double check emails before sending!

If you get past all these steps you are going to London Fashion Week. Before you even think about what to wear you need to consider how to organise your daily diary. Tickets will arrive between a week and a few days before the shows, make sure you RSVP straight away. You'll find that there may be some clashes so make sure you plan which shows you are going to and let PRs know if you can't make any so they can let someone take your place. Most shows take place in the British Fashion Council (BFC) tent in Somerset House or at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout at Freemasons' Hall in Covent Garden. Many of the big designers will have shows at other venues anywhere around London on private premises. They can be really spread out and it could take you up to 45 minutes to get to from one show to another. If you don't have the luxury of your own driver and can't afford taxis you'll need to really plan carefully and map your route on London Transport in advance. Don't risk being late to shows, its much better to skip a few so that you don't get stressed out, it can be really upsetting and tiring! Shows ALWAYS run late, usually around 30 mins late, don't look upon this as your safety net. Despite running late everyone starts queuing 15 to 20 minutes before a show is due to start, you could be waiting for up to an hour for a show to begin. If you have standing tickets and end up at the back of the queue you may not get in, this is really harsh but I have been turned away before, even with a ticket because of overcrowding and last minute tickets being given for seating, bumping everyone down.

Everyday will be a long one and you'll spend hours on your feet so dress stylishly yet sensibly. This is London so there is every chance that there will be a heatwave or it will be pouring with rain, check the weather before you leave the house and dress accordingly. No matter how trendy and fashionable you think you are you will be invisible at LFW amongst the competing outrageous outfits (most worn by people just hanging around Somerset House and not even going to the shows), so you may as well let go and just enjoy yourself. Save the money you'd spend on clothes and invest in an iPad or MacBook Air and a decent camera for reporting live from the action.

On the topic of 'equipment' make sure your phone, camera and laptop or tablet are fully charged, bring the charger with you and a back up battery pack if possible. Your phone will be your best friend at LFW for taking photos, checking emails, browsing the internet whilst waiting around, uploading stories to your website or blog and checking maps. Even if fully charged it will run out of juice before the end of the day. Luckily Vodafone, one of LFW sponsors, offer charging facilities in the Press Room at Somerset House, otherwise get a emergency battery pack from the Apple Store.

Finally, enjoy yourself! It is such an exciting and adrenalin filled experience. Get plenty of rest between shows so that you have the stamina to get through the week! Image from

No comments:

Post a Comment