Dominic Jones

Whether you’re a student or builder, follow this guide and you to can get into the elite world of fashion shows, finally!

Preparation is key to success. Look up which of the shows you want to see - be realistic, don’t go for the highest profile shows and don’t try to go to two shows at the same venue on the same day. Then do background research on your chosen show(s). Find out who styles it, who does makeup and hair, and which PR company looks after each designer, and their personal account.  The more names you remember and relay correctly, the more hope you have of talking your way out of any trouble you might come across.

There are two ways you can go about actually getting into the show. The first is through the front door - it takes bottle, but is quicker and cooler.

Head to Borders, and browse through the international fashion magazines. Look for the name of a fashion editor, or editor at large - one the person on the door will recognize but hopefully not remember. Choose a name and tell the fashion kid on that door that you’re the assistant of  your chosen big wig.  By going for an international editor there’s less chance that the person doing the door will know them personally, or more importantly, know who their assistants are. Instant credibility.

You will need to look the part if you’re playing this role. You can’t turn up in jeans and trainers. If you don’t have a designer wardrobe or an otherwise ‘high fashion’ sense of style, go for dark colours - black, grey, or navy. Keep it simple, clean and smart. If you’re a fashion student and thinking about throwing some crazy look, don’t bother. They’ll smell you coming a mile off - these people know their own. Extra points if you bring a smart black leather bound notebook and a small camera.

You may get lucky and be let straight through, but chances are they’ll question you, which is where the earlier homework will come in handy. Tell them that whomever you’re assisting is back at the hotel doing interviews, that they told you to come and cover this show on your own, and that your name was on the door. Now you need to drop in the name of whoever looks after the account of the designer, which you should have found out beforehand. You can do this quite easily by calling the PR company the day/week beforehand and asking them. If they are still unsure repeat that they said it had been organized through that person. Even try and speak to them yourself.  This is a stressful time for the door people, so if it makes their life easier they’ll just go with it.  Don’t get rude, stay calm, be persistent and polite and it will always work out in your favour - even if that means having to stand for the show.

The other way to break in, my personal favourite method, has always been through the back door. I’ve gotten into many amazing shows over the years with this technique.

There’s nearly always a back entrance for people working on the show. If you’re subtle about it, you, and even a few friends, can get in this way.  But don’t push it – four people max. Arrive roughly twenty minutes before the show is scheduled to start - this may seem like cutting it close but shows always run late - normally around half an hour behind schedule. If you don’t know where the back entrance is, jog up as a group to someone at the front of the show, such as a security or PR person, and explain that you’re here to help the show’s stylist (whose name you should have looked up earlier), and that you’re running really late. Ask if they can show you where the work entrance is, and they should take you straight through. If they question it, explain that your names should have been left, that you’ve been try to contact the stylist yourself but they’re not picking up the phone. This will pretty much always work as no one wants to fuck things up, so they’ll just let it go.

Once backstage it is important that you stay under the radar and don’t get under people’s feet. At the same time, however, you should look confident like you’re supposed to be there. If it looks like the show will not start for a while, chill somewhere out of the way. Have a drink - there’s nearly always free Redbull and Vitamin Water.

From backstage, you should be able to see the entrance to the catwalk. Casually walk through and check to see if they’re seating people yet. If they are, confidently take a seat-aim for the third row, I’d say.

There you go, see you down the front row in Spetember.