Here’s How Fashion Editors Really Prepare for New York Fashion Week

Two women attending New York Fashion Week.

Jared Siskin / Getty Images

If you’ve noticed your local Unhinged Fashion Girlies acting slightly more unhinged than usual, there’s a good chance fashion week is right around the corner. The upcoming fall/winter 2023 season will be my eleventh time attending New York Fashion Week, and after 10 successful seasons, it’s safe to say I’ve learned a thing or two about how editors prep for fashion week.

From planning out editorial coverage to booking beauty treatments, the weeks leading up to the shows are as hectic as fashion week itself. As a result, most editors have their own list of priorities, be they enjoying fancy facials, snagging coveted reservations, or hopping from one gifting suite to the next and loading up on fashion freebies.

“Preparing for fashion week is kind of like getting ready for your birthday, but it's a biannual event,” says Sierra Mayhew, Associate Editor at Who What Wear. “I take it very seriously and begin planning at least a month ahead.”

Just as we all have our own personal style, we all gear up for the most important week of the season slightly differently. Below, hear from nine New York-based editors (myself included!) on exactly what NYFW prep really boils down to. And, of course, how we figure out what we’re wearing.

Kendall Becker during New York Fashion Week.

Kendall Becker

On Mapping Out Coverage and Schedules

Kelsey Stiegman, senior fashion editor at Bustle: “Fashion week prep starts about a month before New York Fashion Week begins. Meetings around the office begin and I assign any features we need to get up quickly—once fashion week starts, evergreen features take a sideline.”

Aiyana Ishmael, editorial assistant at Teen Vogue: “Right now, the Teen Vogue team is mostly drafting big-picture features for fashion month. We also will, of course, keep an eye out for any big fashion trends that come out of this year’s runway shows and street style.”

Bella Gerard, freelance fashion editor and content creator: “When I’m attending fashion week as a freelancer, securing stories in advance is key. I typically reach out to editors about a month before the shows kick off and send over a few trend pitches. Once I have those confirmed, I let publicists know which outlets I’ll be covering for. As the week goes on, I’ll send out even more pitches tailored to specific shows or celebrity style moments.”

Stiegman: “Bustle’s coverage kicks off with celeb sightings at Paris Haute Couture Week (this season, Kylie Jenner reigned supreme). From there, I start assigning updates to our evergreen features. Last season, we brought in a freelancer to help publish stories while I was busy attending shows, which was an incredible blessing.”

Ishmael: “I’m excited to see what celebrities and influencers are sitting in the front row during NYFW that we wouldn’t normally cover. It’s been great to see the range of stars sitting front row at men’s and couture to gauge who might make appearances in NYC. We can always expect the bigger houses to pull out all the stops.” 

Olivia Marcus during New York Fashion Week.

Olivia Marcus

Olivia Marcus

On Buying, Borrowing, and Planning Outfits

Stiegman: “About a month before shows, I start ideating my looks—stashing away cute outfits and stocking up on any basics I might need. It’s always good practice to take stock of your closet to prevent an emergency mid-week trip to Zara.”

Mayhew: “In the months leading up to fashion week, I hold onto anything that I buy or am gifted that might be a good fit for attending the shows. I like to have a few things that are already in my closet and feel like something I'd organically wear.”

Stiegman: “Every season before fashion week starts, I hit House Of PR’s Tastemakers Gifting Suite. House Of is responsible for some of the most notable street style trends (like the viral Rainbow Balaclava by The Series everyone was wearing last February). I essentially base my entire fashion week wardrobe around the pieces I get there.”

India Roby, staff writer at Fashionista: “My go-to PR firms for loan or gift requests from every season are House Of, Lindsey Media, and A Gold Consulting. I’ve found some of the best pieces I’ve ever owned from brands like Homage Year, Find Me Now, and so many other emerging brands.”

Tira Audrey, freelance fashion and beauty editor: “I like to shop my closet first before heading to the stores or reaching out to any PR friends. February is usually really cold, so for me, it's all about having a show-stopping coat and an interesting bag.”

Gerard: “I love getting a good deal, so spots like Saks Off Fifth can be great for designer items at a fraction of their original prices. Borrowing from amazing retailers like Wolf & Badger makes things a lot easier—my most-photographed street style look from last season featured a gorgeous coat on loan from one of their brands, Julia Allert.”

Ishmael: “I want to make sure that whatever I’m adding to my closet, it’ll be something I’ll get multiple uses out of post-fashion week. I shop consistently from Eloquii, Miaou, Wray, Good American, and Fashion to Figure. They tend to have stylish pieces in my size. Accessory-wise, I’m a Coach girl through and through. I’ve obtained several purses over the years from my mom’s collection, as well as a few latest collection pieces I’ve bought.”

Hannah Oh, assistant fashion and e-commerce editor, Seventeen: “It's more sustainable and realistic for me to rent or call in looks that I'll return afterwards, rather than buying a slew of new outfits for fashion week twice a year. But I'm always keeping NYFW in mind while thrifting throughout the year—I'm constantly vintage shopping, and occasionally will come across something so major that I tuck it away until fashion week rolls around.”

Audrey: “I love to go thrifting for vintage coats that I know no one will have, and as far as bags, I'll check out Rebag or Vestiaire Collective.”

Olivia Marcus, lifestyle and fashion writer at StyleCaster and content creator: “I like to prioritize wearing vintage pieces because it guarantees that my outfit will be unique—I hate when I see someone wearing the same pieces as me at shows. I purchase the bulk of my fashion week looks myself and then I try to fill the gaps with borrowed or gifted pieces. I'm also borrowing pieces from local vintage stores like Designer Revival and The Niche Shop to incorporate designer vintage into my looks.”

Gerard: “Fashion week is usually when I re-subscribe to my favorite fashion rental services. I love Nuuly for outerwear and statement pieces, Switch for vintage and designer jewelry and bags, and Verstolo for diamonds I could never afford on a fashion editor’s salary!”

Hannah Oh during New York Fashion Week

Hannah Oh

Hannah Oh

On Beauty Maintenance and Editor-Approved Salons

Roby: “Fashion week calls for me to look my very best—my nail tech Faye Studio in Chinatown is always a need! When she’s not available, I usually opt for a local salon near my neighborhood in Sunset Park or do a quick run to Glosslab for a last-minute mani.”

Gerard: “I go pretty hard when it comes to prepping my skin for NYFW. If I’m due for botox, I try to get it about three weeks out. I prefer to go to a nurse injector, like Chelsea Cruz RN, BSN, at Studio 17 in Hoboken. A Hydrafacial is also a game-changer—Casa Cipriani’s Lead Esthetician, Samantha Susca, is a master of exfoliation!”

Audrey: “I'm a skincare girl, so getting a Hydrafacial a week before is a must. My skin is extremely dry during the winter months, so to feel my best, I must get a facial.”

Gerard: “This season, I’ll also be trying out Glacial® Rx at Shafer Clinic. It’s an innovative cryo treatment that targets and soothes chronic skin inflammation. Aside from skin prep, I’ve booked a lash lift at Pierre Michel Salon—my secret to looking bright-eyed during a mostly sleepless week—as well as a teeth cleaning at Maison BE Dental Studio.”

Oh: “I'll typically splurge on a blowout at the beginning of NYFW. It's obviously not a necessity, but it takes a bit of stress off of the chaotic week to not have to think about doing my hair on top of everything else.”

Stiegman: “My pre-fashion week tradition is a trip to IGK Salon in Soho. I always stop by a couple weeks before NYFW to visit the dream team, Ryan Austen and Olivia Casanova. A fresh cut and color somehow makes everything I wear look 10x better—plus, IGK has in-salon wifi, so I can publish stories while my bleach sets.”

Ishmael: “I am a ‘get up and go’ girl during fashion week, so I’ve already booked my hair appointment for the weekend before to get knotless goddess box braids, which are super simple to style in the morning. I’m also trying to lessen my makeup routine before shows each day, so I’ve booked an eyelash extension, eyebrow wax and tint appointment, too. Anything I can do to get me out the door faster is the goal.”

Stiegman: “The day before shows start, I tint my eyebrows at home with a little kit I found on Amazon. This way, my makeup routine will take just a little less time during the busiest week of the year.”

Oh: “I always book myself a massage after fashion week is over if I can—mainly to deal with neck and shoulder tension I build up during the week from lugging my heavy work tote and laptop around the city in heels for six days straight!”

Aiyana Ishmael during New York Fashion Week.

Aiyana Ishmael

Aiyana Ishmael

On Where to Sip, Snack, and Snooze in Between Shows

Stiegman: “My favorite part of fashion week is spending time with all my friends in the industry, so I always like to schedule a group dinner. Usually, we do it after the Christian Siriano show—the only one we all seem to attend.”

Audrey: “NYFW is the perfect time for me to catch up with friends! I like to have at least one dinner reservation confirmed so we can unpack the week and just have a good time.”

Kendall Becker, fashion and beauty trends editor at Trendalytics: “This is my first season since moving to Brooklyn, so I’m planning out all the best places to pop in and write while I’m in Manhattan. Nearby Spring Studios, I frequent The Roxy Hotel—they always have ample seating, strong wifi and, most importantly, a fabulous New York Happy Meal (a dirty martini and french fries).”

Gerard: “There’s always time to kill in between shows, so I prioritize coffee dates over lavish dinners—at the end of most days, I’m dying to skip the afterparty and head straight to bed! Instead, a coffee at Sant Ambroeus with my fellow editors to discuss what trends we’re loving is the move. If I do end up out for the evening, I want to go somewhere chic, like The Nines. Their namesake cocktail is divine!”

Becker: “The biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is that it’s key to have go-to spots for meals in all different neighborhoods. A few of my favorites at the moment include Zou Zou’s or Fig & Olive for Mediterranean, Casa Carmen for Mexican, and Saint Theo’s for Italian. Other favorites for a coffee or cocktail include the Lobby Bar at Hotel Chelsea and Le Dive.”

Gerard: “My apartment turns into a thousand-square-foot closet when I’m planning out my fashion week wardrobe, so if I can, I’ll try to grab a room at a nearby hotel so I can come back to a clean, relaxing space. My favorite by far is the luxe Four Seasons Downtown, conveniently located and beyond gorgeous. Last season, I stayed there along with Kendall Jenner and Rihanna. Talk about top tier! My other pro tip is arranging transportation to and from shows in advance via Blacklane. There’s nothing worse than calling for an Uber at the same time as 100 other people exiting a show!"

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