Fashion Week is a time where we get to experience some of fashion’s finest, up close and VERY personal. Designers showcase their upcoming collections; models grace the runways while attendees swiftly angle their phones, trying to capture what they believe to be the most standout moments on camera. Expressions of awe pointed fingers and occasional whispers as the pieces keep coming, and coming, anddd coming. How can one keep up?! You may even see a celebrity or two.
While scrolling through social media — longing to be that invitee who gets to make their debut and check Fashion Week off their bucket list of “fashion musts” — you’re probably wondering how YOU, as a college student, can attend such coveted events. It feels especially hard with limited industry connections and no blue checkmark or public figure status.
Despite your worries that these happenings will keep passing you by, I’m here to tell you that yes, it IS possible to attend Fashion Week as early as now, while you’re still a college student!
Don’t believe me? Keep reading. (And no, this won’t require you sneaking in or pretending to “know someone.”)
To gather this exclusive insight so you can live your best Fashion Week life, I spoke with several College Fashionista community members and alums who were willing to give me the inside scoop, just for you!
College Fashionista community member, EnJanae’ Taylor, attended the Pyer Moss Paris Couture show this past summer in New York City. How? She interned in NYC, and her boss helped her get into the show.
She recalls the event being “such an unreal experience.”
“I still pinch myself just thinking about it!”
“As a Black person aspiring to work in the fashion industry, to see Kerby [Jean-Raymond] be the first Black American designer to show at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week was amazing,” she tells me.
“For it to be at Madam C.J. Walker’s estate was next level, and it was such an honor to be there in person to see. It was definitely inspiring, and a day I’ll never forget!”
Her most memorable moment? Being able to see “all the looks and how Kerby took Black creations and incorporated them into fashion looks.” EnJanae’s favorite look within the show was “look 23, which was inspired by improvements to the lightbulb invented by Lewis Latimer.”
Enjanae’s advice for college students who seek to attend these events is to “make connections and not to be afraid to reach out to brands and designers.”
College Fashionista community member Selena Stanley has also attended Fashion Week events, including Miami Swim Week and NYFW.
“I was able to attend both of them by applying for either press or influencer passes. You can do this too if you have a blog, write for your college newspaper, or have a good following on Instagram,” she explains.
Through these shows, she was able to write about the events for College Fashionista as well as several publications that are local to her.
“Every fashion week has press registration a couple of months in advance, so plan ahead!” she divulges.
Selena goes on to explain how these experiences have made her “fall even more in love with fashion.”
“Everyone I met through networking at these events was so nice, positive, and supportive! It made me want to continue writing about fashion and work in the industry.”
Her most memorable moments were seeing celebrities at these shows and people whom she admires.
“My biggest tip [to attend these shows as a college student] would be to go the press or influencer route. Producers will invite you if they believe you’ll add some type of value by being there. Start a blog, and don’t worry if it’s new! Offer to write about the shows you attend. If you want to attend shows as an influencer, don’t worry [about] how many followers you have,” she emphasizes. “I got invited to a couple of smaller NYFW shows as an influencer when I had around 1,000 followers on Instagram.”
Kate Day, College Fashionista’s editor, knew she just had to attend fashion week “somehow.” She expresses her gratitude for knowing people in New York and taking a hands-on approach to building more connections.
“I’m lucky enough to have family and friends in New York, so I booked a flight, knowing I’d have a place to stay, and then figured out the rest.”
“I sent emails to the HR and PR departments of all my favorite brands on the NYFW roster asking if they needed extra hands backstage. I also reached out to stylists and influencers, asking the same. I ended up connecting with stylist and influencer, Audree Lopez, and was able to assist her throughout fashion week by attending shows and creating social media content.”
She highlights that attending NYFW was the most “career-affirming experience.”
“It really solidified that the fashion industry was where I wanted to end up post-grad. I was truly on cloud nine the entire time.”
Her most memorable moment was the last show she attended for The Blonds [NY].
“It was such an incredible show. The energy was unforgettable, and there were so many big players in the industry in attendance. It felt so surreal to be in the crowd.”
Kate’s words of encouragement are all about making yourself known and showing what you have to offer.
“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!” She emphasizes.
“Send a cold email and let brands know what you bring to the table! Also, once you get to fashion week, make sure to network with everyone you meet. The fashion industry is surprisingly small. You’ll definitely run into these connections again!”
Well, there you have it. You’re officially in the know. Maybe I’ll see you in the front row one day, kee-keeing with Rihanna or vigorously taking notes for your next Fashion Week exclusive that requires an 8 a.m. deadline the following day.