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Left Out of Fashion Week
Q:I have an acquaintence who is not in the fashion industry
but who gets invited (usually through email invitations) to all the fashion
week parties (as well as other fashion events that occur throughout the
year). I am in the fashion industry and don't receive any invites to
anything. How would I go about getting invited to these events. She says you
have to go through press people. What does that mean? And is there an
easier way to get my name on these invite lists? Please help, as these
parties would really help me with my business. And I feel so out of the loop.

-- "BL8"


A:I have a gal pal who emails me only 2 x a year. Because I'm being catty, I'll call her "C".
Like clockwork, every year a day before February and September New York Fashion Week, I get this note: "Haven't seen you in so long! Sorry I've just been TOO busy to call you but it's New York fashion week again. Now what shows can you take me to and what parties can you put me on the list for?"
Like clockwork, every six months I hit "Delete".

I'm willing to bet that your acquaintance has learned these 3 key lessons which you need to sort out:
1. she has relationships.
2. she brings something to the table.
3. she works it all year long not just when it's convenient for her.

If you are in the fashion industry, you NEED to understand how press works. (For heaven's sake! Why aren't you caring and paying attention to what other people in the industry are doing??) Who gets it, how they get it. Register with Olympus Fashion Week. Subscribe to WWD - if you haven't already - to understand how news is made. What she's talking about is the publicists for the shows who invite
(A) the press who write about fashion (me, for example),
(B) celebrities who get the clothes seen, and
(C) buyers who pick clothes for their shops ..... which leads me to 2.

It's that age-old question that I've noticed that people rarely ask themselves.
DON'T ---> "What can you do for me"
DO ---> "What do I do for them."
My friend Patrick McDonald, even before he picked up some columns writing about fashion, was invited to shows. Why? He simply looked good. He spoke knowledgeably about fashion and praised the designers. He supported them by not only loving fashion but wearing the clothes, telling others about them, and dressing well for the photographers. He was an ASSET.
What will the designers get out of giving up a seat for you? At about $25k for the small tent in BP and that's before the models, music, and clothes (!), you're costing about $125 a seat. So what will you do for them?

Now that you know how you will help them, make friends. Create relationships with the publicists. Just NOT during Fashion Week. The two emails you sent me RIGHT in the middle of Fashion Week is two more emails I've got to slough through on my Treo during my 20 hour days. Ooof.

So since you're too late for this season, why not go with your friend? Don't tell her how much it would help you, instead tell her how much you admire her access and that you appreciate how hard it is to come by those plus ones and would she consider taking you to one or two parties so that you could see her at work firsthand. Treat her to dinner if she helps you - send a thank you card too!
Then go to the events and bring your cards!
After this FW, make friends with those publicists!

~The QB

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