10 Things They Never Tell You About London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week. A twice a year circus that takes place in the courtyard of Somerset House consisting of the fashion set, models, photographers and bloggers all jostling for prominence. I both love and loathe London Fashion Week in equal measure because yes, it is fantastic and I’m lucky to go, but some people see it as this amazing thing without really understanding what it is like to attend. The A/W13 season starts today (for those of you not fluent in fashion speak this means the collections will be shown to dictate the stuff that we will be able to buy in the Autumn) in London, so I thought I’d put together a piece about the real experience of attending London Fashion Week while I’m sitting checking it out remotely from my apartment in Los Angeles ahead of my return to the fray next season. A big thank you to my usual London Fashion Week partner in crime Sherin for helping brainstorm some of these over Skype with me last weekend!
1. Those benches are really, really hard. Unless the shows theme includes switching out the usual long white seating benches for something that happens to be a little more comfortable, they are very, very uncomfortable to sit on, you feel crammed in like sardines at most shows and some of the slightly longer shows will leave your bum feeling rather numb indeed.
2. You will feel mentally, physically and emotionally drained by the end of it. It will take you a couple of weeks to recover.
3. It is not actually necessary to attend all of the shows. Basically, if you miss one it is not actually the end of the world. In a day there are so many clashes on the schedule, and it is a near miracle if a show actually starts on time, so you might not get to all of the shows you are planning on seeing. Don’t worry or stress about it. See point one, and remember that you’ll be able to catch up on all the crystal clear end of the runway photos less than an hour later, usually on Style.com.
4. If you have access to the Press Lounge where they have a giant fridge of the stuff, you will practically live off of Vitamin Water.
5. Press requests will make you wonder if they whole thing is even worth it. It is a myth reserved for the very elite Susie Bubbles and Rumi Neeley’s of this world that bloggers simply get invited to all the cool shows. Either you get invites based on your relationship with the relevant PR people (which you usually had to cultivate with press requests in the first place), or you have to sit for mind numbing hours on end emailing all the press contacts listed on the London Fashion Week website for each individual show you’d like to be considered for attending.
6. Specialised blister plasters will become your best friends, at least by the end of day one, even when wearing your most comfortable pair of heels. Those cobbles outside Somerset House are murder, and don’t even get me started on the run uphill in the direction of Covent Garden to get to shows on the Vauxhall Fashion Scout schedule.
7. The Pizza Express on the Strand just a few doors down from Somerset House will also become your best friend.
8. Sometimes someone will arrive outside the British Fashion Council tent and all the photographers in the vicinity will go rushing towards them trying to get the perfect shot. Nine times out of ten this person is some sort of reality television star or minor celebrity whom you have no idea who they actually are and have no idea what the fuss is all about. Last season I attended I had conversations with both Kate Nash and Shingai Shoniwa from The Noisettes without having a clue who they were, in spite of having at least one song from both of them on my iPod.
9. As far as street style is concerned, you will feel inadequate by the end of a week of seeing a whole bunch of people with better hair than you, and who manage to hold a clutch in some graceful way or tie their trench coat in some interesting way that you could neither manage or pull off as well as they do, no matter how hard you try.
10. After a few seasons every season in your head will start merging together. I honestly have to stop and think for a moment if I skipped a ’12 season. I don’t *think* I did, but I had to think about it! Actually, the merging of shows inside one season starts the moment you arrive. After your third show of the day and a reporter is asking you what your favourite collection so far has been, you genuinely won’t be able to tell them which you have attended that day without looking at your photographs, Tweets and/ or your notes.
Do any more London Fashion Week veterans want to add to the list of things that outsiders never realise about our Fashion Week experience? (Incidentally, I’m skipping out on this season too on account of being in Los Angeles (I’ll be back for S/S14 though!) so for good social media coverage I’d recommend following Sherin on Twitter and Instagram, she always manages to attend some pretty great shows, and my wonderful best friend and co-Editor at The Glossy Guide Kathryn on Twitter and Instagram, as she will also be popping up at a couple of shows, and hopefully putting together some backstage content for The Glossy Guide too!)