Everything You Need to Know About New York Fashion Week

How hard is it to snag a front row seat? Consult this handy guide to NYC's most stylish event. 

New York Fashion Week is one of the most celebrated phenomena in New York City. Twice a year every year, it takes the island of Manhattan by storm, bringing with it a whirl of top designers, stylish celebrities, street style stars, and epic parties. With photographers capturing every minute, you can't scan the Internet or social media without seeing at least something Fashion Week-related, but have you ever wondered what it's really like to attend the shows? If so, read on for behind the scenes info on some big changes, and what it's really like to take on New York Fashion Week Autumn / Winter 2016, courtesy of Ro Williams Brann, star of Newlyweds The First Year Season 3. And read more of her style coverage at The Bloggerella

When is New York Fashion Week?

NYFW is held twice a year, falling sometime in both February and September. The upcoming season's collections are debuted over the span of 9-10 days, with the next showing of Autumn / Winter 2016 set to run from February 10-February 18!

Where is Fashion Week located in NYC, and is every show held at the same place?

Nope, and if only it were that simple! The "tents" has always been one of my favorite obscure Fashion Week terms; referring to the massive, pristine white constructions that have housed many of the biggest runway shows at Lincoln Center for the past five years. (Think less camping, more chic "circus big-top", remove the clowns and add tons of famous people). Though last year, Fashion Week took on a whole new re-branding, making its last turn in the tents at Lincoln Center. But not to worry! Each season promises a total NYC takeover, and designers are really embracing the change. A majority of shows are now held all over Manhattan, with the newly popular Skylight at Moynihan Station being the hub (inside scoop: Skylight at Moynihan is actually the old historic post office near Penn Station on the West Side)!

So, what's it like on the inside?

This really depends on the designer, but even with an amazing production team, a majority of the shows are organized chaos. (Though everyone is all for it because #welovefashion.) There's a clear separation between the have's (buyers, celebrities, famous editors, and bloggers) and the have not's (everyone else), with photographers flocking between the front row and "the pit" at the end of the runway. The energy is certainly palpable, but the silence that ensues once the runway light goes up is almost spiritual!

Why are the Autumn/Winter collections shown during the spring, and vice versa?

The collections have historically been shown four to six months in advance so that media can create editorials, and so buyers have ample time to view the looks and place orders. But as fast fashion and consumer demands begin to shift, this is just another aspect of Fashion Week that's slowly evolving. The fashionistas have spoken: we want our fashion, and we want it NOW! Favorite designers like Tom Ford, Burberry, and Rebecca Minkoff are the first to join the ranks of brands aiming to match the excitement of Fashion Week with the ability for customers to buy right away. Runway style has never been so on-demand and it's all so very 2016!

How long does each show last?

Ever heard the expression "Good things come to those who wait"? Just getting into the venue and "finding your seat" (aka casually ogling celebs) can take upwards of 30 minutes, so it can seem a little disjointed that the average show is over and done with in under seven. But they will likely be some of the most magical seven minutes of your life, so all is well worth it.

Are there assigned seats, and who decides on the guest list?

Just like any wedding, assigned seating is of the utmost importance during Fashion Week. The front row is obviously reserved for the likes of Anna Wintour, Beyoncé, Kimye, and celebrities galore, but the majority of seats are filled with the people who make the fashion world go round. This includes everyone from magazine editors, merchandise buyers, and bloggers to journalists, photographers, and friends of the designer. At each show you'll find tons of "official" looking people, dressed in all black with clipboards, who are clearly in charge of ensuring that the right people sit in the right seats. It's all highly orchestrated and intricate, but there's a method to the madness and every show is unique!

What's the big deal about "Street Style"?

Anyone who's anyone stands a chance of being snapped by the throngs of photographers that surround the outside steps of a fashion show, but some stylish pros have turned it into an art form. They are called street style stars, and these days, they've got just as much klout as any other starlet or celeb! In fact, some of the biggest street style stars like Olivia Palermo, Natasha Ndlovu, and Anna Della Russo found fame simply by having a sartorial knack for perfect styling and effortless posing. 

Want to celebrate the shows? Check out these events (free with RSVP!) and for a first-hand look at everything coming down the runways this season, keep an eye glued to Fashion Week Online's live stream!

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