Photo: Lexie Moreland/WWD via Getty Images
New York Fashion Week shows and parties are typically reserved for a small crowd—select members of the media, some buyers, influencers, and a few invested celebrities. This year, TikTok users decided to change that.
Sneaking into fashion shows is nothing new. New Yorkers and students in the city have been doing it as a ritual for centuries. But the number of people trying to attend shows this season has been particularly tumultuous.
In August, videos started circulating on TikTok with topics like “How to Get Invited to NYFW” and “Secrets of Getting into NYFW.” Tik Tok user Tiffany Baira created a video sharing what she calls the “Holy Communion” – a much-needed PR contact list for brands presenting at Fashion Week – via a link in her Instagram bio (or available to the public via the official NYFW website). In the video, Baira promises that the list is outdated but many of the contacts are still the same. It has garnered nearly 350,000 views and nearly 55,000 likes. A comment under TikTok reads, “I love that you never hold anything back. You always share your knowledge.” Baira replied, “Tbh I’ve always had to learn all this the hard way and I want to do my best to help upcoming artists. And that was just the beginning.
Quickly, several other TikToks began sharing a list of emails, highlighting a homemade spreadsheet of direct contacts for advertisers throughout the week, including the most sought-after ones like Tom Ford, Coach and Collina Strada.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with helping each other out,” says 23-year-old content creator Sidney Bernhardt, who posted a video on how to request an invite to the show and included a list of PR emails. Link in her profile. “And more importantly, trying to get rid of the concept of gatekeeping and helping other women.”
The race to democratize fashion week was on — but not at the expense of profit. People are still determined to make a coin. A Fashion Week guide sold for $99. I bought it because I’m a slob. The Dropbox file contains two email templates: one to request event invitations and another to ask designers and advertisers to pull a week’s worth of clothes from their collections. The rest of the kit included another list of PR emails, which were a mix of generic, inaccurate and empty; A free video on the influencer’s YouTube; And a PDF titled “The Ultimate Guide to New York Fashion Week,” full of open-ended suggestions like staying in a hostel and taking the train in the city.
I just spent $99. Others probably have.
It can be said that fashion should not be reserved for the elite. It should be an exercise and even an escape for anyone. But for advertisers like Lindsay Solomon, who runs PR firm Lindsay Media and is responsible for brands like Colina Strada, Sandy Liang and Suzanne Alexandra, it’s been hell.
“I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten this season asking questions. It’s usually three to four times more than what I get,” Solomon told me in the middle of the show. “I appreciate the due diligence it takes. But the general consensus is that you get the information and you’re detonating it, and it’s irrelevant.”
Solomon said he took 24 hours offline over Labor Day weekend to deal with a family emergency. When he returned, he received over 1,000 emails in just one day.
“I’ll be perfectly honest, I feel doxxed,” he said. “If the email comes out of left field, it’s random, like, How did you get my email?“
I had to be the one to let you know that I saw the email in several videos on Tik Tok, the algorithm is available to anyone who can feel the need to appear in a fashion or fashion event. He, in turn, shared a very sketchy email he received, though he couldn’t confirm with certainty that the sender found his contact information on the app. The email highlighted the sender’s relationship with a “well-connected” financial bro named Chad, and added this symbolic sentence, which I add to my analysis: “I’m handsome, and I understand the optics of the press, so make sure mine is physical.” Imagery and composition complement the atmosphere effectively.
When asked about his thoughts on sharing with the fashion community, Bernhardt said, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sharing emails with your friends who are other content creators. Because I definitely think brands are looking for content creators.” Emails from Advertisers. “And it doesn’t just help them by promoting them, but there’s no worse thing a brand can do, like, politely decline your email.”
But for some advertisers, like Gia Kuan, turning down a request wasn’t necessarily an option. Kuan, who runs Gia Kuan Consulting and is also inundated with requests for auditions, sees her overflowing inbox come to life after a party at Marc Jacobs Paradise. In the previous days, there was a series of post-show rumors that an invitation to the party, where Doja Kat, Charli XCX and Pink Panthers were scheduled to perform, was leaked on social media. According to someone who arrived at this event at 10:00 PM and a crowd wrapped around the block, the rumor seems true.
“On the day of the event, someone told me they saw the flyer on TikTok, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I have to support something bad,'” Quan said. “And we had a lot of crazy, it was crazy – but in the end, it was under control.”
Kwan said more than 2,000 people showed up, which was more than expected.
Personally, I was too tired to resist being pushed around, as one usually is when there are so many people trying to get through any kind of door, that I turned around and went home. Brave souls like Jared Muros stuck it out. He sneaked into the party behind people being dragged by Quan’s group and posted about the experience on Tik Tok.
“I was watching a lot of YouTube and Tik Tok videos on how to get invited and how to enter,” Muros said of his preparation for Fashion Week. One of these videos was of Baira. Muros, a model himself, just went to Vogue World. “If they don’t want people sneaking in, they need to step up their game or make sure they’re safe,” added Muros. “Most things, I’m just into it. I don’t want to blame anyone, but it’s more on them. I know going into these events no matter what.
Even the gatekeepers in PR, who are now besieged with questions, know that the system is broken and that a great party needs some chaos. However, both are trying to comply with fire regulations and keep their customers happy.
“I think people need to have an understanding of how much work goes into producing a tight, well-curated show. And to make people wait to come and sit where they want? I don’t like gatekeeper fashion, either. I think it’s for everyone, but there’s a time and place for that. .