Let's clear something up: There are no official rules for New York Fashion Week. Aside from the venue directions you may find on an invitation, few instructions are ever given on specifically how to attend a fashion show, navigate crowds, or stay on top of a hectic schedule. But unofficial rules? There are a few we swear by (and learned the old-fashioned way).
Now, with NYFW beginning in just a couple days (stay tuned for tons of coverage and behind-the-scenes peeks, of course) we're sharing what we know in 11 condensed "rules." These often go unspoken but ring true for pretty much any seasoned fashion week attendee. Curious to know a little more about what it's like on the inside? Keep scrolling.
1. Just as a runway show is about to start, a photographer will always yell out "uncross your legs." This is to ensure that a stray limb doesn't interfere with a clear shot from one end of the runway to the other. Feel free to sit uncrossed from the get-go, but know that without fail, someone will remind you anyway.
2. There are three things you're likely to find in every editor's handbag during fashion week: a Mophie, some sort of on-the-go snack like a protein bar or a bag of almonds, and a crumpled-up pile of papers with barcodes on them—these are usually handed to attendees as they check into each show they attend.
3. Cameras are everywhere. Even if they're not pointed at you, you probably know when you're in the background of someone else's street style shot or sitting in the second row while a celeb has their photo taken in first. Let's just say we're aware of the lens and try to avoid making any obviously disapproving faces that have potential to be captured forever.
4. Always get to a show on time, but also be prepared to wait. With a few exceptions, such as Marc Jacobs (whose show always begins promptly), everything starts about 15 to 20 minutes later than the invitation says. And there's one more caveat…
5. Nothing begins until Anna Wintour gets there. If the Vogue editor is scheduled to attend a runway show, don't expect it to begin until she's found her seat. And after the designer's final bow, Wintour's often the first to exit the venue, as well.
6. Blurry runways photos are usually not worth it. Capturing a model mid-walk from an unobstructed angle is not an easy task. We may all love to have something we can share with social media, but it's not the most important part of fashion week. Watch the show, pay close attention, and be present—nothing can replace that.
7. The biggest question of the week is usually "What's faster: the subway or a taxi?" The answer depends on the time of day.
8. Dress to impress, but not at the expense of your comfort. In our experience, the hardest-working people at fashion week are the ones who never stop moving and are constantly on the go. Wearing something that's obviously impractical (heavy jackets in heatwaves or peep-toe booties in a blizzard—we've seen both) is never a good idea.
9. It's all too common for editors, influencers, models, and celebrities to wear pieces to fashion week that have been loaned or, in some cases, gifted to them. Rest assured that it's not common for everyone in attendance to have an unrealistic shopping budget.
10. Make your downtime work for you. There may only be a couple hours throughout the day when you're not at a show or presentation, but the busiest attendees make the most of the minutes they have. Answering emails and charging their phone in an Uber—done. Getting lunch while catching up with an out-of-town work associate—definitely. Walking to your next appointment just so you can squeeze in some exercise for the day—another good reason to wear comfortable shoes.
11. It's not a race; it's a marathon. For those attending fashion week for all seven days—or what's more, for an entire month across four countries—burnout is too real. Get sleep, eat whole foods, RSVP to afterparties thoughtfully—it's not the most glamorous advice, but we editors live by it.
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