TikTok helped people scam their way into fashion week

Photo: Sean Zanni/Getty Images for 1PENEMY

New York Fashion Week shows and parties are usually reserved for a relatively small number of people: select members of the media, a few buyers, influencers, and a handful of celebrities involved. This year, TikTok users decided to change that.

Sneaking into fashion shows is nothing new. New Yorkers and city students have long been doing it as a rite of passage. But there was something particularly chaotic about the sheer volume of people trying to make it to the shows this season.

In August, videos began circulating on TikTok with titles such as “How to Get Invited to NYFW” and “The Secrets to Getting into NYFW.” TikTok user Tiffany Baira created a video sharing what she calls the “holy grail”, a highly coveted PR contact list for brands presenting at Fashion Week, which can be found at the link from your Instagram bio (or is available to the public). via the official NYFW website). In the video, Baira points out that the list is out of date but promises that many of the contacts remain the same. It got around 350,000 views and almost 55,000 likes. A comment under TikTok read: “I love that you never save anything. You always share your knowledge,” to which Baira replied, “Tbh, I always had to learn all of this the hard way, and I want to do my best to help emerging artists.” And that was just the beginning.

Quickly, several other TikToks began sharing the list of emails, including one that highlighted a homemade spreadsheet full of direct contacts with advertisers running shows during the week, including the highly sought after like Tom Ford, Coach and Collina Strada.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with helping each other out,” says Sydney Bernhardt, a 23-year-old content creator who posted a video on how to apply for a show invite and included a list of PR emails in the video. link in your profile. “And even more so, trying to get rid of the goalkeeper concept, and even more so, helping other women.”

The race to democratize Fashion Week was on, but not at the cost of profit. People were still determined to make coins. A guide to Fashion Week was selling for $99. I’m nosy, so I bought it. The Dropbox file contained two email templates: one to request an invite to a show, and one to ask designers and advertisers to pull clothes from their collections to wear during the week. The rest of the kit included another list of PR emails, which were a mix of generic, incorrect, and blank; a video that was also available, free of charge, on the influencer’s YouTube; and a PDF titled “The Ultimate Guide to New York Fashion Week” packed with open-ended tips like staying in a hostel and taking the train into the city.

I just spent $99. Others probably had too.

It almost goes without saying that fashion should not be reserved for the elite. It should be a practice, and even an escape, for anyone. But for advertisers like Lindsey Solomon, who runs public relations firm Lindsey Media and is responsible for brands like Collina Strada, Sandy Liang and Susan Alexandra, it was hell.

“I can’t tell you how many emails I received this season with requests. It’s three to four times what I normally get,” Solomon told me between performances. “I appreciate the due diligence that is needed. But the general consensus is that you find the information and you just bombard them, and it’s just not appropriate.”

Solomon said he went offline for 24 hours over Labor Day weekend to deal with a family emergency. Upon his return, he had received more than 1,000 emails in a single day.

“I’ll be perfectly honest, I feel doxed,” he said. “Where the email is so out of left field, so random, it’s like, how did you get my email?”

I had to be the one to let her know that I had seen her email in various videos on TikTok, available to anyone the algorithm deems remotely interested in fashion or being seen at a fashion event. He, in turn, shared the most insane email he had ever received, even though he couldn’t prove for sure that the sender had found his contact information on the app. The email highlighted the sender’s relationship with a “highly connected” finance brother named Chad and included this iconic sentence, which I’ll add to my resume: “I’m beautiful and I understand the lens of the press, so you can be sure my physical image and composition will expertly adapt to the atmosphere.”

“I definitely don’t think there’s anything wrong with sharing emails with your friends who are other content creators, because I definitely think a lot of times brands are looking for content creators,” Bernhardt said when asked about the community’s views on the blog. fashion about sharing emails from advertisers. “And not only does it help them with outreach, but the worst thing a brand can do is just say no, like politely decline their email.”

However, for some advertisers, like Gia Kuan, turning down a request wasn’t necessarily an option. Kuan, who runs the firm Gia Kuan Consulting and was also inundated with requests for show accommodations, saw her overflowing inbox essentially come to life at the Marc Jacobs Heaven afterparty. In the days leading up to it, there was constant post-show gossip that the invitation to the party, where Doja Cat, Charli XCX, and PinkPantheress were set to perform, had been leaked on social media. Speaking as someone who arrived at this event promptly around the 10pm start time and was met by a crowd so large it engulfed the block, it seemed the rumors were true.

“On the day of the event, someone told me they saw the flyer on TikTok and said, ‘Oh my God, I have to prepare for the worst,'” Kuan said. “And we had a big crazy crowd, it was crazy, but in the end, it was under control.”

Kuan said more than 2,000 people attended, far more than expected.

Personally, I was too tired to stand being pushed around, as often happens when large numbers of people try to get through any kind of door, so I turned around and went home. The bravest souls, like Jared Muros, held on. He ended up sneaking into the party behind a group of people who were attracted to Kuan’s team, and posted about his experience on TikTok.

“I was watching a lot of YouTube and TikTok videos about how to get invited and how to get in,” Muros said of her preparation for Fashion Week. One of those videos was of Baira. A model himself, Muros also walked straight into Vogue World, the conglomerate’s star-studded event for which tickets reportedly cost $3,000. “If they don’t want people sneaking in, they need to up their game or up their security,” Muros added. “Most of the stuff, I just walked in. I don’t want to blame anyone, but it’s more about them. I know that no matter what happens, I will participate in these events.”

Even the gatekeepers in PR who are currently besieged by requests know that the system is broken and a big party needs some element of chaos. Still, they are trying to obey fire codes and keep their customers happy.

“I think people need to understand how much work goes into producing a tight, well-curated show. And that people come and expect that they can come in and sit wherever they want? Kuan said. “I don’t like goalkeeper fashion either. I think it’s something for everyone, but there’s a time and a place for it.”

This post has been updated.

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