My Fashion Week Survival Guide
You may laugh while watching the ever-entertaining Sh*t Fashion Girls Say video, but the cross-dressing actor makes a valid point when complaining, “I literally have no life until Fashion Week is over.” Whether you’re an editor, blogger, stylist, or simply a loyal spectator, Fashion Week knows how to suck the life out of you—as exciting as it may be.
Now I know what you’re thinking: people complain about being involved with Fashion Week? I used to be one to roll my eyes as my fashion friends conveyed their woes of being around designer gowns and going to parties with the rich and famous…I pitied them not (and still don’t). But after merely four days of experiencing it myself, I understand.
Fashion Week is like being caught in a tornado. There’s nothing you can do to fully prepare for the wild ride—it will chew you up and spit you (and your Jimmy Choos) out. But at the same time, it’s one of the most exhilarating and challenging events to be involved in. As happy as you are when it ends, you’re left with a rush of anticipation for next season.
For those in the thick of New York Fashion Week or those planning to attend next season’s, here are some survival tips that I wish I knew beforehand.
1. Don’t wear heels unless you have invincible feet. Prior to this year, I’d never been to Fashion Week. All I knew were the glamorous pictures I’d seen and lavish stories I’d heard, so I assumed wearing heels was a must. Backstage, however, is not a place for Christian Louboutain’s. Day one I spent upwards of 12 hours running to and from venues and events in four-inch heels, and the result was a very sad pair of feet that were blister-laden and bruised. Lessons learned: 1) you’re going to be around famous designers, models, and celebrities—the shoes on your own feet will not be noticed, so you may as well be comfortable, 2) it’s important to look put together, but also be practical—pair a dress with boots or opt for wedges.
2. Fuel yourself with more than coffee. When you’re running around all day, it’s easy to forget to not only feed yourself, but also to hydrate properly. Coffee may seem like the most accessible and best option when you start to feel zapped and hungry, but reach for water and sources of natural energy (like fruit) instead. That way, you’ll avoid crashing and look more refreshed (caffeine dehydrates your skin). Don’t get me wrong, I have a nonstop supply of coffee on-hand, but for every caffeinated beverage I have, I’ll have two servings of water. Additional tip: Make time for the gym—exercise is essential for clearing your head, and will give you an energy boost better than that third shot of espresso.
3. Be prepared—for everything. This ranges from stocking your bag with snacks, chargers and makeup for midday touch-ups to organizing your schedule and researching the shows you’re attending. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard people mispronounce products and stylists’ names during interviews (not ok!). Not only is that embarrassing for you and the company you’re representing, it’s a waste of your interview subjects’ time, and they’re likely busier than you. Take the extra time to get yourself, your schedule and your notes together, and show everyone that you deserve to be there.
4. Keep it simple—your makeup, that is. As much as I love dark nails, Essie’s smokin’ hot was not the way to go. From carelessly throwing my hands into my bags to grab one of my three recording devices to flinging open cab and studio doors, let’s just say my manicure didn’t last long. There are few less appealing looks than a hand of chipped, botched polish thrusting a recorder into a stylist’s face (I would know since that’s been my sad little hand for the past two days), so opt for nude and sheer shades. Natural nails and makeup is a big trend this year, and looking clean and polished is never out of style, so don’t feel like you need to impress by sporting the latest nail art. Additional tip: Keep a nail file and a pack of peel n’ press nail polish strips in your bag to fix nails on the fly.
5. Enjoy yourself! Attending and working at Fashion Week is an amazing opportunity. Even if you’re only volunteering, seeing designers, makeup artists and hair stylists work their magic is unforgettable, and one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. Give it your all, don’t take any moment for granted, and most importantly, be nice. It’s a high-stress environment for everyone involved, so do your best to not step on any toes while getting your work done. It’s much better to be remembered for your kindness than knocking someone over to get a great picture—even if Vogue deems your shot ‘the pic of the year.’
To see how the makeup, hair and clothes all work together check out Maybelline’s Live From the Runway YouTube Channel.