NZFW attracts a diverse range of clientele: there are the media crew (those who represent various magazines, online websites or their own blogs), the somebodies (ranging from dated TV presenters to successful photographers), the well-acquainted (those who have attended five times on the back of their friendship with a well-established designer), and finally, the first timers (those who have been invited to just one show courtesy of a friend, family or a winning ticket). In that the range of people is so varying, you don’t meet the snobby without bumping into the uncomfortable, hear the ponce without first basking in the ignorance.
For most of our faces are unknown – or at least, unconfirmed – until we speak, there’s a lot riding on the words which come out of our mouths. They allow people to characterise us as one of the four labels. In fact, we may even be labelled as two: a member of the media crew, but blatantly inexperienced in thE position.
You ought to have an idea before you attend Fashion Week of where you fit in the mix. Otherwise, you can do as I have always done, and fake it ’till you make it. The beauty of being unknown is you get to choose who you are at absolutely every moment. Here’s how to be any single of the four voices at Fashion Week (all remarks are based off real conversations heard throughout the week).
What to say as the media crew:
“I’ve decided to do a summarising post.”
As media, it’s mandatory that you over-estimate yourself. At the beginning of the week, announce that you’re doing an in-depth post on each and every collection you see, a separate one for backstage, and another to cover the outfits of the attendees. As a result of shit photos, lack of time and energy, roll out highlights, Top 10’s, must-sees and anything else inclusive of the world “overall” instead. If asked, argue this was the original plan. Imply you’ve studied your analytics and worked out this is what your viewers want to read. Understand, but don’t voice, that you never gave them the opportunity to want anything else.
Also, complain about tiredness and your need for coffee every 20 or so minutes. Announce that you haven’t eaten all day, even if you grabbed a sneaky burger earlier. Comment on the lighting of shows, not the collection. Use words like ‘incredible’ or ‘harsh’.
What not to say as the media crew:
“I’m sticking to my schedule.”
“All my photos are clear.”
“That energy gum really works.”
In the media centre, we thrive off shared experience: of shows, of tiredness, and of disappointment at failing to meet deadlines. Stick to these three topics and you’ll be sweet. Remember that you’re a reporter – you love the drama, and you love when things don’t go to plan. So even if something has gone right, don’t imply that this luck will last. Anticipate a break-down in the near future.
What to say as a somebody:
Meet your go-to response for when anyone asks your name or questions your state of being a someone. Get personally offended when an usher informs you, “sorry guys, you’re going to have to move – D is the second to last row.”
What not to say as a somebody:
“What’s in your goodie bag?”
As a somebody, you couldn’t care less about the goodie bag. In fact, you haven’t even noticed it’s presence. You probably won’t take it for free shampoo is worthless to you. Plus, you’ll probably get five more today. You couldn’t possibly carry all those; it’d ruin your look when you get photographed.
What to say as the well-acquainted:
“Oh yes, we were at The Blue Breeze last Saturday. *Insert designer’s name* is such a laugh.”
Imply that you’re somehow connected with everyone – and intimately. Suggest that brunch with Trelise Cooper (and 20 other people) was one-on-one, for pleasure (not business), and last weekend (not three months back).
What not to say as the well-acquainted:
“I love the view from the fourth row.”
Sometimes you’re not as close with your designer-friend as you thought you were. To save your reputation, when you find yourself further back than expected, don’t mention it. Zoom in on your phone to save capturing heads in your snap story. Most importantly: avoid being seen.
What to say as the first timer:
“I think I just got photographed by Sam Lee.”
As a first timer, you may take one of two routes. The first involves being super excited and easily phased by all that is involved in Fashion Week – including the idea that you are. You should make it apparent that you know all the faces and names of people. You’ve just never been directly associated with them. When the opportunity arises, internally (and sometimes externally), voice your elation at their presence.
“Well that was a load of the most pretentious crap I’ve ever seen.”
The second route is usually taken by those who’ve simply been invited to a show and said yes because they’re free Thursday night and wouldn’t mind seeing what all the fuss is about. View eccentric collections on surface-level, assume you’re expected to wear the clothes as such, and openly laugh at the absurdity. Hint towards those working in fashion that they should get a real job.
What not to say as the first timer:
There’s not really anything you can’t say. You have free reign to make remarks you shouldn’t, to have ill-informed opinions of collections – entirely based on the ‘wearability’ of the clothes – and to forget the names of designers. You can even add that Jason Gunn was an excellent addition to the 2016 New Zealand Weddings Magazine show.
That aside, no matter who you are at Fashion Week, make sure to enjoy yourself.
Photos: Two Dark Coffees