Before attending this season’s LFW, I was absolutely clueless with regards to getting show invites, obtaining an exhibition pass and as to what to actually do once you’re actually there. Although I by no means have the audacity to call myself an ‘expert’ after just one season, I thought I would write up a (relatively) helpful guide for first time bloggers looking to visit the highly anticipated bi-annual event!
Getting the LFW Exhibition Pass
A month or so before the season is about to start, the LFW website allows for press, buyers and bloggers to register online (fast track registration as it is known as). Here, you are asked to disclose your readership, your pageviews and a little summary about your blog/magazine. Once you have submitted your application, you are then left in the blue a little with regards to when/how you will hear back from them. Season after season, I have applied this way – and I have never once heard anything back. I rather ignorantly assumed that if you weren’t invited, then you probably would be turned away upon entering Somerset House by one of the big, burly security guards I have always seen there in passing.
The truth behind getting the LFW Exhibition pass, which allows you into the media lounge, the displays and the upstairs exhibition at Somerset House is that in actual fact, you can apply on the day just as easily as applying online (if not easier). Don’t be put off if you aren’t immediately contacted by someone from the BFC accepting your LFW worthiness, go along anyway and apply on the day!
I simply went along on the Friday and queued up in the ‘bloggers’ area, located in the main reception of Somerset House. You are asked to hand over a business card (so make sure you come prepared, as everyone asks for these – wherever you go), with the blog address on it, as well as proof of your page-views or readership. This factor, I came a little unprepared for – as everyone seemed to have their blog-spot stats print-outs, however the lovely lady behind the desk allowed me to log into my Google Analytics there and then, which was just as simple.
The only rule with regards to stats is that you have to have over 5,000 unique visitors each month. If you have lower than that (but you have got quite awhile until the Sept LFW starts), you are still able to roam the grounds, snapping ‘street style’ pictures, but you won’t be able to go into the indoor areas this time around. If you write for a blog, but are not the blog owner yourself, then you will need to bring a letter of accreditation from the editor, unless the editor happens to be there with you.
Once you have filled out a short document, proved your stats and handed over your business card, a brand new, shiny bloggers pass is printed out for you there and then, and attached to one of the highly sought after (well, by me anyway – I was excited to get mine) LFW lanyard. Taa Dah!
Getting Show Invites
This is the slightly more tricky part of the process, or more time consuming, at least. In order to stand a good chance at attracting the designers PR’s attention (who receive in excess of 2,000 requests), you need to make your request a little bit different from the others. Let them know what you are offering, what’s different about your blog and why you REALLY want to be there. It’s easy to send a generic email to all the PR’s, BCC’ing them all so that they think it is just directed at them, but unfortunately, this won’t get you very far.
Set aside a few hours, download the catwalk shows contact list from the LFW website (which has all the contact email addresses on) and choose the ones you would really like to attend. Type up a template email (this will save you far more time, as you can insert your opinion of each designer and why you want to be there, whilst still having a basic structure) and then take a little bit of time researching each designer’s collection (preferably from last season), inserting a small paragraph on each email regarding what you liked, and why. Make sure you address each PR with their name (and spell it correctly), and ensure you include your page-views, your postal address (so they can send you the invite) and what coverage you can grant them.
It took me about four hours in total, and as I had expected – I was still turned down by the more popular shows, like Burberry, Jasper Conran and Mulberry, however I was accepted for several other fantastic shows such as Fyodor Golan, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Rohmir, Ekaterina and so on. It is a little hit and miss the first time around, but it’s always worth emailing anyway. You’ve got nothing to lose!
Fashion Scout’s shows, which are a little less prestigious (but still fantastic all the same) are more likely to accept smaller bloggers and publications, rather than only accepting the large publications and buyers, so bear this in mind when applying!
Making the most out of LFW & managing your time there!
I think if I could change anything this season it would have been to have managed my time a little better, as I found myself either with nothing to do, just milling around people watching (which isn’t a bad thing, as Somerset House is fantastic for people watching) or super busy, rushing around trying to get to the next show.
Since the shows aren’t all held in one place, it is worth scouting out where each is located before you go, so that you aren’t in a mad panic once you’re there. Make sure you also know how to get from one location to another. Somerset House and Freemason’s Hall are located within close proximity of one another (about a five/ten minute walk) but unfortunately for us, we went the long way (taking us around half an hour) missing Fyodor Golan in the process.
It sounds silly, but once you know what show invites you have, plan ahead and make sure you manage your time efficiently. If you have a spare hour, fill it with taking some street style pictures, or looking around the exhibition. Once you have arrived on your first day and have secured your pass, make sure you check out all the options that are available to you. There are usually make-up sessions available (this year by MAC, read my post here) in addition to complimentary blow-drys (this year by Tony & Guy), however if you don’t book your appointment early, you run the risk of missing out. Scout out all your options and book ahead!
Hopefully, that gives all those wishing to apply for and attend LFW a clearer idea of what to do. I hope I haven’t made the ‘guide’ too patronizing, as that wasn’t my intention at all. I just know from my personal experience, when Google-ing what to do when attending, there was nothing on the internet (strangely) that gave me any advice in the above topics. Again, if you have any tips – however small, regarding attending LFW, please feel free to comment below and I can add them in.
You can read my LFW diaries here, here and here.
Hope to see you all next season!