How to Get Invitations for Paris Fashion Week

another season of fashion weeks has just started with men`s fall/winter 14 collection presentations and before heading to paris myself i thought to share this "little secret" with you. when i was first attending fashion week quite a few seasons ago, i knew very little about how things work and i wish i could read a post like this to help me get my foot inside the shows. every capital has its own rules and ways of how to get invitations to the shows, i will share my experience with paris and hopefully that will give you an insight of the whole process.

start planning early
in fashion everything starts a few months early so it`s good to start planning your fashion week trip a few months before. the competition is enormous and many designers and fashion houses have very limited number of invites. people from the business have a great advantage and they`re the first to get their front row seats. bloggers are a kind of after thought that get invited if there is any space left, so make sure to be ahead of everyone else and be the first in line.

get a reference
as i said bloggers are in most cases the last to get invited to the shows unless you`re bryanboy, in that case forget the whole post, invitations will find a way to get to you. being (just) a blogger isn`t enough to get you trough most doors so a good way to go wold be finding a magazine, a website or another media that would be happy to collaborate with you and make a compensation: a letter of referral in exchange for your reports from the shows. you would be amazed how many magazines appreciates such initiative and some might even pay you for your hard work.

get accredited
one of the reasons to start planning as early as possible is that closing date for accreditation requests is 2 months before the start of fashion week. accreditation is a very good way to go but it`s not a guaranteed invitation. "the french federation of couture, ready-to-wear tailors and fashion designers" is responsible for managing the accreditations and on their website you can find the instructions on how to request for one. you will need a letter from your media and a filled application from the federation.
the reason why you should try to get an accreditation is that the federation sends the list of approved accredited press to each designer and fashion house. your chance of getting an invitation will rise drastically.

get the right contacts
it`s all about the right contact. if you have your own that`s great, pr people are usually more favorable towards bloggers and press they already know and have good relations with. if you don`t have any contacts than the federation provides with most email addresses and phone numbers.

beg for the invites
well... begging might not be the best option, you need to retain a certain level of professionalism for pr people to take you serious. write a nice email that`s very clear about what you`re asking for and make sure to include your reference and the referral letter form your media if you have one. if your blog is your only reference than make sure to include your blog`s statistics and the number of any social media followers you may have. if you got accredited make sure to mention that as well. you will need a mailing address in paris in order for pr guys to send you your invitations, so make sure to get one before requesting them. ask a friend that lives in paris or arrange the mail to be sent to the hotel you will be staying at. don`t forget to write the address at the bottom of your email.

don`t expect too much
you arrived to paris and got your invitations. it`s a great joy to receive a big stash of invites but don`t expect too much. if it`s your first season and you don`t have any relations with pr and you`re not besties with the designer the chances of scoring chanel will be slim to none. it does depend on the reference you have and who you represent (your blog or an established fashion magazine). most certainly you`ll get invitations to smaller shows that don`t get as much coverage, but you might be lucky and gain access to bigger shows. it all depends on how pervasive you were in your request email and how much mercy the pr reading your email will have.

don`t give up
you didn`t get invited to the show you were dreaming to attend since you were 5? don`t give up, not everything is lost yet! you`ll find the fashion week schedule on the federation`s website along with the address to each presentation. some are invite only and you`ll have to use your detective skills to find the right location but many chances are it`s at the same location as the previous season.
so you go to the show regardless of not holding an invitation. it`s actually a special experience just to watch all the editors, celebrities and the fashion crowd pose in front of street style photographers. you get to experience the fashion circus at its best. when you arrive at the venue you have a few options. you can go talk to the person in black responsible for letting people in. impress him and you`re in. you can very kindly ask if he can put you on the waiting list for standing space if there will be any room. if you`re early enough you just might get lucky. one other chance is putting your puppy eyes on and right after everyone got in and the show is about to start make the pr feel a bit sorry for you so he will let u in. the third and most brave one of all would be to crash the show. the best way of doing this would be to make an act and try to fit in with the fashion crowd. if you don`t make it obvious and walk in with a friend with an invite you just might succeed. but no matter what don`t make a scene, you might risk getting banned from every show for seasons to come. it`s not worth it. i heard many stories of people getting inside the venue with just asking the pr kindly, but don`t get upset if it doesn`t work. the space really is limited.

stay in contact even after the shows
you got the invitation, you saw the show, it was magnificent, you wrote the report and got it published, what now? don`t think you got the invitation and that`s the end of it. this is the chance to build a relationship that you can benefit from in the future. write a thank you email, include the links to your published articles or ask for the address to send them a print copy. you were invited for a reason so make sure to exceed their expectations and show the results. they will appreciate it and you can be sure they will be more likely to include you in their future events. built relationships with the brands you really love, subscribe to their newsletter, follow them on twitter, ask about products and write about them on your blog. if you think of them even when you`re not asking for something it will show them you`re not just a blogger trying to impress readers with attending their show. genuine relationships can take u a long way.

see you in paris!

photos: cmt, lookbook, favim, la modella mafia, simon procter, fashion pr confidential

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