Our column, Ask A Blogger, with Marianna Hewitt of LifeWithMe.com, explores the fascinating world of fashion bloggers—from behind-the-scenes of picture-perfect Instagrams to how to make money as a blogger and more. This week, Hewitt shares what bloggers are really doing at New York Fashion Week.
People often wonder why on earth bloggers go to fashion week. We don't work in magazines and we aren't buyers. But we are consumers and we have really close relationships with many other consumers through our blogs and social media, and at the end of the day, brands want people to buy their clothes.
Bloggers attending fashion week can serve as another marketing tool to create awareness for the show by wearing a current pieces in store to the show or building up anticipation for future pieces to look for, as well as trend spotting. But fashion week for bloggers isn't just about going to shows. There are lot of events, lunches, parties and branded campaigns that go hand-in-hand with this week of fashion.
HOW DO YOU COVER THE SHOWS, BOTH DURING AND BEFORE AND AFTER?
What a blogger does before the show varies from person to person based on what the blogger covers on his or her blog. Since I cover fashion and beauty, I attend shows backstage before to look at beauty trends and see how hair and makeup is done and meet with the teams. I went backstage at Tibi, where I saw beautiful manicures with half moons in pastel colors that I wouldn't have been able to spot from my seat. Another trend I've been noticing before shows this year is Snapchatting where you're going, who you're running into outside and what outfit you're wearing to the show.
During the show, the front rows are full of iPhones. Everyone is Snapchatting or taking pictures to show favorite looks from the collection or a memorable moment.
After the show, I usually post a picture of what I was wearing or a favorite look I saw. At the end of the whole week, I will post an overall fashion week post on my blog, but I'm not updating daily. Other ways to cover NYFW is by working with different brands and media outlets to collaborate. This season, I did Instagram takeovers for The Zoe Report and Bluefly to share my days at fashion week, and I'm doing a series of blog posts for E! and Macy's leading up to their fashion shows.
DO BRANDS PAY BLOGGERS TO ATTEND SHOWS?
Bloggers attend a lot of shows during fashion week and it really is a privilege to even be invited to shows, let alone get paid to be there. But in a time when people want their shows to have a large reach, it is part of their marketing campaign to invite bloggers, and brands have allocated budgets to pay people to attend them, which would include anything from wearing the brand to the show and getting photographed in it to posting to social media live from the show. So far this season, I've seen Snaps from just about every show, giving followers and readers a new kind of backstage pass to Fashion Week. I would say the majority of people aren't being paid to attend shows. We go because we want to or we're fans of the brand, or work closely with the PR or beauty brands who cover the shows backstage. But compensation, if not paid directly, comes in the form of gifted clothing to wear to the show, car service, etc.
DO THEY SEND CLOTHES?
Not for every show, but for a lot. Let's be honest: my first fashion week, I didn't know a single person. No one sent me clothes and I had a standing ticket, but I still loved it so I really appreciate what I get to attend now. As my blog has grown, I've been really fortunate to get brands to send me clothes to wear to the shows and it makes prepping for fashion week much easier. Lots of services are covered to make sure bloggers attend, just like other influential attendees. Apps like Priv, which come to your home or hotel room, offer services ahead of time to get a blowout or a manicure; Car service to make sure you arrive on time, etc. are all perks of getting to go to a show and it's an investment for a brand to make sure you get there and you look good wearing their clothes.
HOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU'RE WEARING DURING THE WEEK DO YOU BUY VERSUS WHAT THEY SEND YOU?
I still shop a lot. I'm a sucker for a trip to Intermix and I like to buy clothes because I feel less obligated to post something just because people sent me items to wear. But brands want to be seen and photographed at fashion week so there has been a lot of gifting leading up to Fashion Week, even from brands not showing, just so they can have a presence. I would say about half of my wardrobe for New York Fashion Week has been gifted.
HOW DO YOU PICK OUT YOUR OUTFITS FOR THE SHOW?
I started getting my clothes together for New York a few weeks ago, I haven't started on Paris yet but this week in NYFW will probably inspire me. I start by looking at items I already own and seeing what has been sent to me so far and put looks together. I have a huge rolling rack in my living room and as new items are sent to me, the rack piles up. I try on different pieces and mix and match until I'm happy with my outfit. When I'm finished, I take a photo on my iPhone. I pack outfits together as a set so when I arrive in NYC, they're all together and I can be semi-organized. Having clothes gifted by the brand makes it easier to decide what to wear to shows. Then I finish off the look with my own shoes, bag and accessories.
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