With just a week to go until kick-off at London Collections Men, we’re gearing up for another solid half-month of menswear globetrotting. Brand new collections, trailblazing collaborations and Berocca. Lots and lots of Berocca.
For some, the men’s shows are business as usual, a two-week whirlwind of flashbulbs, meetings and hangovers. For others, or more specifically newbs, it’s a rite of passage more daunting than serving Tom Ford the wrong coffee order.
So whether your PR mate’s landed you a hot ticket, or you’re a friend of the designer, we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts that’ll ensure you make the list season after season, and aren’t banished to watching future shows live from your laptop because you wouldn’t stop asking David Gandy for a selfie.
Do: Speak To Everyone
From emerging designers to big-time bloggers, snap-happy photographers to snappy PRs, fashion week is a breeding ground for important contacts, so don’t be stuck up and always remember your manners. It’s a very small world and there’s every chance snubbing someone could come back to bite you in the proverbial – whether that’s being blacklisted from a show or denied entry to a party – so it pays to make an effort to get off on the right foot.
That rules applies especially in the case of fashion week’s unsung heroes: security guards. Charm them, and you could stand a chance of getting in without a ticket.
Don’t: Wear Sunglasses To A Show
Not even if you’re sitting front row, not even if you’re the editor of some obscure Japanese menswear magazine, not even if it’s your own show.
The primary purpose of sunglasses is to keep the sun out of your eyes, and, last time we checked, the majority of show venues come equipped with a roof and four walls. As hard as you might try, you won’t look like Keith Richards, you’ll look like Mugatu from Zoolander, so remove the Ray-Bans and leave indoor shades to Lagerfeld.
It may sound simple, but it’s harder than you think. Fashion weeks might serve up rivers of free booze but the canapés come in such microscopic portions that a flap of a passing coattail is all it takes to send them flying.
Also sometimes – amidst the hubbub – you literally just forget. So get a square meal before you start hammering the champagne, even if it’s just a few bags of some desperate food sponsor’s popcorn or fruit snacks that taste suspiciously like fragrance. Because jeans look good splattered with paint, not vomit.
Don’t: Go Too Crazy With Your Outfit
Just because everyone’s taking pictures of you, it doesn’t mean you’re dressed well. Take it from us: sauntering around like a time-travelling Victorian astronaut will only lead to you getting savagely ripped apart online.
There’s nothing wrong with wearing a statement print or an experimental fit, but stop short of peacocking/piling it all on at once. Street style photographers worth being papped by look for style that other people can relate to, so you need to be comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing to win real kudos.
Yu Yang for FashionBeans
Don’t: Wear A Full Suit
The full-on sartorial look that’s dominated recent menswear fashion weeks is dying out. Less dandy, more dressed-down, a tee, jeans and white trainers are better suited to menswear’s current vibe than a tweed three-piece and double monks. Even David Gandy’s loosening up.
For a look that’s bang up to date, try swapping your bomber for a souvenir jacket. The backstory to this punchy style dates back to the end of World War II in Japan, when US servicemen commissioned jackets embroidered with a mix of Eastern and Western iconography, like tigers and eagles. They’re an easy way to spice up a simple outfit, and with such epic origins, you’ll always have something to make small talk about.
Do: Take A Portable Smartphone Charger
Is there anything better than being the first person to ‘gram a show’s best outfit and watching the likes roll in? Probably a lot, but in terms of fashion weeks, it’s the pinnacle.
Still, your battery can drain quickly from all that filtering, hashtagging and Boomeranging, so in the interest of staying juiced, it’s worth keeping a portable battery pack handy. A lot more practical than trying to make a cappuccino last an hour in Starbucks while you hog a corner plug socket.
Anker Astro E1 Compact Portable Charger, available at Amazon, priced £11.99.
Don’t: Hassle A-listers For Pictures
Asking every semi-famous person for a selfie will make it immediately and patently clear that you’re a total newb.
Rather than fanboying, just hope that if a conversation naturally occurs with a famous model, designer or actor that someone takes a natural non-phone picture – it’ll look way better than an awkwardly staged semi-finger-obscured photo with a none-too-pleased Lewis Hamilton.
Do: Take An Umbrella
Unless you’re an A-lister (in which case, why are you reading this instead of Googling yourself?), you’re going to be lining up outside shows, and even if it is a spring/summer showcase, the weather will always be unpredictable.
Protect your outfit with an umbrella you can easily store away in a bag and always check your weather app, because wet suede is a fashion week fate worse than death.
London Undercover Maple-Handle Collapsible Umbrella, available at Mr Porter, priced £60.
Don’t: Wear Massive Headwear
Be wary of people sitting behind you at shows. Your Lock & Co. fedora may be on point, but your fellow attendees won’t appreciate staring at the back of it when trying to see what’s going down the runway.
Remove your headwear once you’re seated and don’t put it back until the lights come back on. Ditto your smartphone – resist the urge to thrust it in someone’s view for the sake of a blurry snap of a model’s passing calf.
Do: Take A Bag
Not only a statement accessory, a bag is practical for keeping all your invites, business cards and freebies in. Which means you won’t have to walk around draped in various branded canvas totes.
Just make sure yours is sleek and matches what you’re wearing – e.g. a premium holdall with smarter looks, a leather backpack for more casual gear.
Yu Yang for FashionBeans
Do you feel fit for the season? Or are there other fashion week quandaries we haven’t included here?
Give your post-show review below.