2016 09 11 16 06 33

Photo courtesy of Merrick's Art

Who: Andrea Posadas, Jessica FayLeanne Barlow, Lillian Babaian, Merrick White and Summer Albarcha
What: Surviving Fashion Week; Working with Brands; How to Prep
Where: Greecologies, SoHo, NYC

New York Fashion Week is a pinnacle event, and perhaps even a rite of passage for any newbie fashion influencer. Aside from attending shows to cover new trends, the week-long event is a networking frenzy where influencers from all over the world come to connect with other creators, designers, PR teams, brand reps and more. Many of our fashion forward friends were in town during the week, so we decided to take some of them out for coffee for a super stylish edition of Coffee with Collaborators!

Between bites of avocado toast and sips of lattes, we chatted about all things Fashion Week to see what it's like for bloggers – from everyday challenges (can one ever have enough backup batteries?!), to working with brands and creating real-time content throughout the week. What did we learn? One thing for sure: Fashion Week is all about the hustle. 

Oh, and if you've never been to Fashion Week, take a glimpse behind the scenes with our #NYFW sizzle reel - produced in part with some of our amazing collaborators!

Q: With so many partnerships and collaborations happening during Fashion Week, what’s your strategy for creating content that stands out?
I like to ask my readers "What do you want to see?" I get this great experience to come out here and I want to take my readers with me! I try and give them what they want, and share my personal experience. Leanne Barlow

I stick to my usual outfit posts! I always tie sponsored content to my typical style, which helps in preventing a collaboration over-load vibe. Summer Albarcha

Q: How do you manage your social platforms during this busy week?
You want to make it feel effortless. Plan your content in your mind before executing. I always schedule in my phone to do a post at a particular show. Merrick White

Plan way far in advance! That way, you have your eyes open for the right opportunities to capture the perfect at the right moment. Leanne Barlow

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Summer Albarcha | @summeralbarcha

Q: As an influencer, what’s your approach to working with brands during NYFW?
Reach out to them. Lots of brands and agencies reached out to me, but not always the ones I really wanted to work with. So I was proactive and reached out to the brands I wanted to see and pitched an idea and collaboration.  Merrick White

I plan to tie their brand to the outfits I wear to the various shows. This elevates the collaboration in comparison to working on everyday outfit posts, since NYFW is a high traffic time on social media. Summer Albarcha

I try to work with the same brands I always work with year-round during NYFW. I may pick something with a little more edge from their line but I still try to stay true to my favorite brands. Jessica Fay

After my first fashion week, I realized how unprepared I was. After attending three so far, I have narrowed down my approach. I begin the process by first reaching out to the brands that I already have established relationships with. I also make sure to reach out to the brands on my “wish list” to work with. Once I connect with a brand's PR contact, I pitch a collaboration by letting them know how much of a fan I am of the brand, and why working with me would be the perfect partnership. Once I arrive at NYFW, I try to visit as many brand showrooms and meet with their reps directly because a personal relationship is always the beginning of a great partnership. Lillian Babaian

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Q: If you could give another influencer advice on attending their first NYFW, what would it be?
Just make it happen. Reach out to as many brands and agencies as you can to get show tickets and meetings and collaborations. Don't wait for brands to find you! Merrick White

Q: What have you learned from attending previous Fashion Weeks that has helped you grow as a digital content creator/influencer/blogger?
PLAN AHEAD! Make sure to schedule shoots ahead of time, that way you can knock out all your content postings from the beginning. Summer Albarcha

One of the biggest things I have to remember during NYFW is to keep it relatable to my readers. Do not wear something too off the wall to what I would normally wear or they will feel as if I am not being authentic! Jessica Fay

Every time I attend NYFW, I learn something different as a business owner. What's stuck out to me the most is that it takes a village to put on a 1-hour presentation or 5-minute runway – it’s a complete business operation. Between the event planners, PR, seamstresses, hair and makeup, security, marketing, clients, photographers and influencers, everyone plays a role. It’s mind blowing to see what goes on backstage, then watch the show and have a perspective on how it all came together and how it directly supports the brand's business. Andrea Posadas

Q: If you could give another influencer advice on attending their first NYFW, what would it be?
Don't be upset if you don't get into your favorite shows at first! Attend your fave emerging designer shows, and it might just lead to something greater. Everyone started somewhere!  Summer Albarcha

New York Fashion Week takes planning and it’s something that requires you to start prepping for 2-3 months in advance. If you live outside of NYC, start pitching partnerships to hotels – they’ll want the extra social media coverage and will typically provide a media rate. One-month pre-NYFW is when you can find the show schedule online. Create a “wish list” of shows you would like to attend and then research the PR contacts off of that. After you’ve compiled your list, I would send a request email to all of the brands. Keep it short, sweet and professional.  Lillian Babaian

There are so many moments during NYFW that are so surreal. For instance this year, sitting at the Rebecca Minkoff show. Watching the band, the crowds gather on the street, the clothes, and everything that is NYC. I literally took a moment to just breathe and take it all in. It was totally a little girl's dream to be involved in that moment - and that is a moment I will remember forever. So, even though you will be busy catching Uber's, running in high heels, etc. - do not forget to stop, look around, and take it all in! Jessica Fay

It's okay if you don't attend everything and if you don't get invited everywhere! Just being in the atmosphere, even once or twice, you get that sense of knowledge and energy that Fashion Week produces. You can exhaust yourself (the good kind of exhaustion, though) so it's important to remember why you are there. You will be more motivated and inspired for your own business at the end of the day if you do so. Oh! And don't be so harsh on yourself about your outfits. It's so easy to feel out of place because there are so many great outfits on the streets - rock what you got and be you! Andrea Posadas

Q: Name one item in your closet that you’d never be able to face NYFW without?
I can name you two – a portable charger and flats. With the extensive social media coverage, you always want to make sure you have an extra battery on hand. You want to cover as much of your day as possible on instant channels, such as Snapchat, and that can drain your phone battery – in this case, a portable charger is a must. In addition, you need flats! New York City is known for walking but strutting in heels in between shows, meetings, and events can be tiring and painful. Always carry a pair of flat shoes to quickly slip into for comfort! Lillian Babaian

Thick socks, lotion, and Neosporin for your poor feet at night! Jessica Fay

Collectively Coffee With Collaborators: Fashion Week Edition from Collectively on Vimeo.

If you’d like to schedule a coffee chat in NY, LA or SF, send an email to Community@CollectivelyInc.com…we can’t wait to meet you!