Meet Melanie Sutrathada, an actor, host, and tastemaker based in New York City..png

Meet Melanie.

Melanie Sutrathada is a New York-based host, actor, and tastemaker with a love for laughing entirely too loudly, shopping 75% off retail, and binge-watching Netflix. 

Everything You Need to Know About NYFW.

Everything You Need to Know About NYFW.

New York Fashion Week, also known as "The Shows", is almost here! The streets are buzzing with amazing street style and the hum that comes with influencers, editors and buyers flying in for Fashion Week. As Carrie Bradshaw once said, "Every year the women of New York leave the past behind and look forward to the future...this is known as Fashion Week."

Growing up in California, I didn't think about New York Fashion Week often. I never imagined I'd end up in the fashion industry and I certainly didn't think I'd ever receive an invitation to a show (let alone be able to afford a flight out to New York).

Now that I've been in New York for a few years, my mindset has changed so much! While I wouldn't say I'm a fashion week expert, I've definitely been to my fair share of events and shows. I've collected the questions I've been getting over the past few weeks and have included them here in a guide to New York Fashion Week.

Fashion Week Itself:

What is fashion week? Why does it matter?

Fashion Week is an industry event for buyers, reporters, editors, etc. It's full of shows, presentations and events where top designers showcase their latest collections. The shows are timed so that editors and magazines can create editorials around the new trends and the season's must-have items. This is also when buyers place their orders.

Fashion Week is as much about the upcoming clothing trends as it is about the latest styles in accessories and make-up.

Where is it?

NYFW used to be held at large tents in Bryant Park and then moved to Lincoln Center. Now, the three main studio spaces are Milk Studios, Skylight at Moynihan Station, and Skylight Clarkson Square. However, some designers choose to have their shows at different spaces all over the city depending on their aesthetic, the amount of creative control they want to have, and budget.

Does every city have their own fashion week?

It really depends on the city.  There are about 40 fashion weeks held in different countries around the world each year. Fashion Week's "Big Four" are located in New York, London, Milan and Paris, with each city known for a different style. Some designers show in the same city every year, while others jump among the Big Four. New York is known for ready-to-wear; London for edgier, avant-garde designs, Milan for its over-the-top looks; and Paris for haute couture.

When did Fashion Week start?

New York Fashion Week was started by fashion publicist Elenor Lamber in 1943. She wanted to give American designers the opportunity to showcase their work and draw attention from Paris during the height of World War II. Back then, it was referred to as "Press Week" and was held at The Plaza Hotel.

When is fashion week? Didn't it just happen?

If it feels like it just happened, that's probably because it did. Each of the Big Four holds a fall/winter collection show in February and spring/summer collections show in September. The collections are shown about six months ahead of time so that buyers can place their orders and have the pieces arrive in time for the new season. This season, NYFW runs from Thursday, February 11 to Thursday, February 18, 2016.

There are various other runway shows that happen throughout the course of the year, but fashion people are referring to the biannual shows when they mention "Fashion Week".

How long are the shows?

They're surprisingly short! The majority of runway shows last 7-10 minutes (yes, you read that right). Getting in to the shows and in to your seat is a completely different story though. It once took me 20 minutes just to walk 100 feet to my seat. Fun fact: shows rarely start on time, so there's a lot of time spent texting and schmoozing. A majority of the ones I've been to started at least 20 minutes late!

What is a show actually like?

After the aforementioned schmoozing and battling the crowds to get to your seat, the lights dim and music starts to pump through the speakers. Not all runways are linear in order to make more room for VIPs and industry insiders. No matter what the runway looks like, there are always at least 15 photographers standing on the risers (also known as "the pit") snapping away at every outfit There are typically 30 to 40 outfits or looks that come down the runway and at the end of the show, the designer comes out for a final wave. And just like that, the show is over. The crowds rush out, selfies are taken, and the amazing people behind the shows scramble to get set up for the next one.

Who goes to the shows?

The shows are invitation-only and tickets are reserved for those in the industry. This means that you'll see buyers, industry influencers, friends or clients of designers and fashion editors. You'll also see a slew of celebrities in the front row.

How do you get invited?

Reach out to the publicists or public relations team for any brand that you'd love to see. The key is to reach out at least a month in advance as that's when the teams are just starting to put together their invite lists. To raise your chances of getting into shows, I'd recommend emailing the publicists as early as 3 months in advance to start developing a relationship with them. The fashion industry is all about relationships and having a good rapport with a brand's core team will make all the difference when it comes to Fashion Week.

I can't go. How can I still participate?

Over 50 designers will livestream their shows, so you can still watch them no matter where you are. Follow along with the #NYFW hashtag and you'll be in the loop of everything and anything happening. Be sure to also check out #LTF, #MFW and #PFW!

The Nitty Gritty Details:

What should I do besides go to the shows?

Where do I begin?! The possibilities are really endless. I'd recommend emailing the PR teams for the brands that you really love and scheduling a visit to their showroom. This is a great opportunity to take your online relationships offline as well! Email your Instagram friends and set up a brunch so you can finally meet face-to-face. Ask around and figure out what presentations and after parties are around. Set up a few shoots with a photographer so you can get your outfit shot for your blog. I would highly recommend Joe Loper of Guerrilla Photography. His work is amazing!

Where should I meet people?

Some of my favorite restaurants for a sit-down meal are ABC Kitchen, Southern Hospitality, S'Mac, and Tablespoon. For a quick bite, I'd recommend Dos Toros or Liquiteria. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee, Tea & Sympathy or Birch (their almond tea is absolutely amazing and pink).

I need to get my hair blown out/nails done. Where should I go?

Blowbar is supposed to be amazing for getting your hair looking and feeling amazing quickly. For nails, you can't go wrong with Paintbox. If you'd rather have the services come straight to you, PRIV kicks butt on so many levels.

What should I wear?

This is one of the most fun parts! Wear whatever you'd like. I've seen everything from hoodies and sneakers to ball gowns and 6-inch stilettos. Fashion Week is all about setting trends and breaking barriers!

What should I bring with me to the shows?

Fashion Week can be crazy, so it's much better to be safe than sorry. I would bring the following:

  • Flats that you can put in your purse. There are few things less attractive and generally uncomfortable to watch as a person with blisters hobbling along the streets.
  • A fully-charged phone and a portable charger so you can snap and Instagram your way through the shows, after parties and  showroom meetings.
  • DSLR or digital camera with an extra memory card.
  • Sole Serum. I use this religiously during Fashion Week and it really makes a difference when I've been wearing heels for too long.
  • Business cards are a must.
  • Lipstick. This is one of the easiest ways to change your look and adds a bit of pop to your outfit.

Are you excited for Fashion Week? What are you looking forward to the most? Any questions I didn't answer? I want to hear all about it in the comments below!

Photo by Guerrilla Photography.

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