Everyone hears so much buzz around that elusive, mysterious event “Fashion Week,” but it seems no one ever gets down to what really happens at the actual shows.
Fashion shows, street style stars and parties come to mind when you first think about Fashion Week and you’re about 98.2% correct. What does it really mean and why are people literally at the brink of exhaustion when it’s over? Let’s break it down so that it can consistently and forever be broke. Love Jones.
Let’s start with the basics:
What is Fashion Week?
Fashion Week is a weeklong fashion industry event held in the four fashion capitals: New York, London, Paris, and Milan. During this week, fashion designers display their latest collection for the upcoming season. For example, the Spring/Summer 2016 (SS16) Collection will be presented during this upcoming Fashion Week in September. It’s a little confusing but they present ahead of time so that buyers can place orders for the upcoming season and press can get ideas for editorials, fashion features and trend forecasting.
What is Fashion Month?
Fashion Month refers to the collective Fashion Weeks held in New York, London, Paris, and Milan because they occur consecutively between September and October and February and March.
Are the Fashion Week shows held in the same building?
Nope! That’s where you can feel the exhaustion creeping over your life. The majority of the shows take place in a centralized area, think Lincoln Center in years passed. However, there are a lot of shows that happen “offsite” better known as all around the city. I hope you’ve packed your flats.
Are fashion shows long?
Surprisingly, NO! It takes more time to get to and into a show than the actual length of the show. They usually last up to 20 minutes. So, don’t look away or you’ll miss it.
What’s the difference between a Fashion Show and a Presentation?
Good question. A fashion show production occurs with models strutting down the runway presenting up to 40 looks and usually ends with a finale parade. The presentation, my personal favorite, is where the models serve as live mannequins by posing in the latest designs. There’s no traditional runway. Models are stationed around the room and this allows the attendee to get an up close and personal view of the designs. It’s hard to catch those models whizzing past you down the runway!
Some designers forego all of the hoopla and present their collections in a showroom.
Who attends Fashion Week?
Basically, anyone who is associated to the fashion industry will be in attendance: Magazine Editors/Journalists, Celebrities, Socialites, Brand/Retail Executives, Stylists, Buyers, Photographers, and, of course, Bloggers.
What should you wear to Fashion Week?
Your best and most creative looks! I’ve heard that attendees used to show up to fashion week dressed in all black. Well, those days are ov-ah! Street style is just as intriguing as the looks coming down the runway. So, come correct or don’t come at all!
The Nitty Gritty
So, you’re “in” the fashion industry and you want to know how to get into shows.
Well, things have officially changed. In years passed, you used to apply for a press pass, which really didn’t do anything on its own except get you inside the Lincoln Center tents. Then, you would contact PR agencies to get invited to the shows. This year, only major media outlets have been granted press passes. So, you really just skip the whole press pass process and go straight to contacting PR agencies to get into shows.
How do I find PR agencies?
Tap into your personal PR contacts. If you don’t have an overflowing PR Rolodex, Google is literally going to be your best friend.
What are PR agencies looking for?
I’m literally pulling this one out of the sky. I’m going to go with you need a reason to be at the show. For example, as a media outlet/blogger, they want to know about your readership statistics and influence.
How do I find out which designers will be presenting during Fashion Week?
Remember your best friend, Google? Yeah, you’ll be using her a lot. Check out the IMG NYFW Calendar. There’s, also, a more comprehensive list of shows here from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
What happens if I can’t get into the shows? You have the option of live streaming the shows right from the front row of your sofa at New York Fashion Week Live. I should really try this option especially during the February shows. New York is very unkind during the winter.
15 Black Models You Should Know
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1. Ataui Deng
Alek Wek's niece is making a name all her own. The Sudanese beauty is a mainstay on the runways of Diane von Furstenberg, Zac Posen, Christian Siriano, Mara Hoffman and Tracy Reese.
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2. Grace Mahary
Grace Mahary is a long way from her original career path (basketball!) but the Canadian is still putting her long legs to good use, walking the runway at Chanel, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Michael Kors, Narciso Rodriguez and more.
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3. Fatima Siad
"America's Next Top Model" was just the beginning for Fatima Siad. The Somali-Ethiopian stunner went on to star in campaigns for Herve Leger by Max Azria, Ralph Lauren and Aveda, and storm the runways at Dries van Noten, Hermès, Andrew GN and Ralph Lauren.
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4. Cora Emmanuel
Born in Martinique, Cora Emmanuel has bone structure most models would kill for. The breathtaking beauty has sauntered down the runway for Alexander Wang, Michael Kors and Bottega Veneta, whose show she famously opened and closed.
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5. Betty Adewole
If you've seen Tom Ford Beauty's arresting ads, you're familiar with Betty Adewole. Hailing from the UK, the gorgeous model strutted down the catwalk at Alexander McQueen, Ashish, Naeem Khan, Ralph Rucci, Opening Ceremony and more.
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6. Diandra Forrest
The first model with albinism to be signed with a major agency, Diandra Forrest is a pioneer in the fashion industry. The Bronx-bred beauty, who was discovered while walking down 34th Street, has stormed the catwalk for Vivienne Westwood, Lois Samuels, Harlem's Fashion Row and Mataano.
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7. Grace Bol
Even if you don't know her name, we're pretty sure you recognize Grace Bol's glowing skin and radiant smile. The Sudanese beauty is a favorite of designers from Riccardo Tisci to Vivienne Westwood.
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8. Jasmine Tookes
Jasmine Tookes' ancestry (white, black, Brazilian and West Indian) is as unique as her look. The California girl, who was discovered while shopping with her Mom, has walked for Versace, Miu Miu, Calvin Klein, Prada and more.
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9. Nyasha Matonhodze
At just 16, the Zimbabwe-born bombshell nailed the gig models dream of: she was picked to be the face of Louis Vuitton's Fall 2011 ad campaign. She's since walked for brands like Emanuel Ungaro, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Marc Jacobs and of course, Louis Vuitton.
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10. Chantelle Young
One of the first major models with vitiligo, Chantelle Young went from being plucked from Instagram by Tyra Banks herself to appearing on "America's Next Top Model" to walking the Ashish runway at London Fashion Week.
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11. Jeneil Williams
Anyone who studies the collections each season is familiar with Jeneil Williams. The Jamaican beauty is a high-fashion designer favorite, having walked the runways at Lanvin, Burberry, Zac Posen, Nicole Miller, Diane von Furstenberg and many others.
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12. Imaan Hammam
From her thick hair to her radiant skin, designers can't get enough of Imaan Hammam. The Dutch model of Moroccan and English descent is a veritable runway darling with designers like Givenchy, Hermes and Jean Paul Gaultier booking her season after season.
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13. Georgie Badiel
It's hard to pick what we love most about Georgie Badiel: her flawless skin, her deepset eyes or her perfect bone structure. Born in West Africa, the 26 year-old is a mainstay for designers like Tracy Reese, Diane von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs.
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14. Melodie Monrose
Melodie Monrose is a force to be reckoned with. Proof? She walked in 49 shows in her debut season. Since then, the Martinique stunner has graced the runways of everyone from Prada to Gucci to Marc Jacobs.
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15. Ajak Deng
Hailing from Australia (but born in the Sudan), Ajak Deng brings a flair to the catwalk like none other. Her signature walk has graced the runways of Lanvin, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior, Mary Katrantzou, Jason Wu and Givenchy to name a few.
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