In a New York Fashion Week Minute
I found myself falling in love with New York City. The weather was different, the people were nice and helpful, the food was delicious, the fashion was so cool and ecentric, and I loooooved the fast paced mentality. Something about the city and my time with gal pal Dani from Dazey LA had me feeling newly inspired in every aspect of my life. By the end of the trip we found ourselves romanticizing life bi-coastal!
It's no secret that Dani and I LOVE fashion. She's been a fashion designer for more than 10 years, and I have been pursing fashion photography since I could pick up a film camera and say "Vogue". Hence the reason we wanted to travel to New York during fashion week. Although September is notably very hot, it seemed like a much better time to travel than during the February fashion week. ❄️I'm from California, we were not made for snow. While most of my travel blogs involve a breakdown of locations to shoot at, this trip to New York was a bit different: I was not planning on working. 🙌 So instead please allow myself to give a you 'fashion week' guide to NYC in September. Where to go, what to eat, and how to have an inspiring vacation. Thanks to our lovely friends at Alaska Airlines, we jetted out of LAX to JFK and found ourselves smack dab in the middle of fashion week ✨
How do you get on lists for runway shows or events?? Don't do what we did: hit people up two days before fashion week begins. What I've learned from this experience is that you have to reach out to the fashion shows, events, and PR agencies months (or at least weeks) leading up to the dates. Otherwise everything gets booked and seats get filled! Luckily, a PR agency Dani knew who got us on the Fashion Palette runway show list last minute. Most people who get invited to shows either have some sort of press angle, influence on social media, or even buy tickets. If you're a photographer, I would advise reaching out to a magazine, online blog (or starting your own blog!), or piggy back on an influencer's ticket in order to get into a show. If you're a student and involved with the school press, sometimes you can get into events. If you're interested in shooting during fashion week but can't get into any runway shows, you can also hang outside of the location and wait for the models and bloggers to leave. Everyone is dressed to impress and you're bound to get a couple cool outfit shots!
During my time in New York I met up with two bloggers to shoot some street style for their blogs. The weather was overcast both times so we had the best evenly lit locations. When shooting in New York, I like to use as much of the city landscaping as possible for the backdrops. For example, chain link fences, construction zones, taxis, street lights & signs etc! It helps create the feeling of being in the hustle and bustle of New York. Liz Best was a dream to work with (shown first below)- she brought the most creative outfits to shoot. My favorite was the deep red dress! Shooting her walking across the crosswalk gathered many stranger's gazes, but it was worth the attention! Lucys Whims also had tons of edgy stylish outfits. I made sure to capture her while walking and even get pedestrians in some of the shots to capture the energy of the city! Fashion week is a perfect time if you're looking to shoot with models & bloggers. Everyone is in desperate need of content! I made sure I had my camera with me at all times just in case I came across someone I wanted to shoot!
New York equals walking. LOTS OF WALKING. So best to bring your sneakers. We stayed in China Town, which ended up being the best location for us. It was close to SOHO, Nolita, East Village, and just a short subway ride to all the monuments & Brooklyn. New York has a much more extensive subway line than Los Angeles does. Most people I talked to don't own a car - they just walk or take the subway! I would highly recommend walking instead of taking a taxi. Prices for ubers/lyfts are almost double what they are here in LA. This is probably why the 'pretty dress with sneakers' fashion trend started. We averaged about 7 miles walking every day. 😳 Other helpful notes for traveling in NYC: know the weather during the time you're visiting. The summer tends to be hot and more humid, while the winter can be quite bone chilling cold. It also rains a lot, so be prepared to have an umbrella everywhere you go!
Grand Central Park is not something to miss. The 2.5-mile-long-park, smack dead in the middle of New York City, makes up for the concrete jungle you're surrounded by. It's the best place to bike, take a walk/run, picnic, grab a bite to eat, meet up with friends, canoe, listen to live jazz playing, or stroll through seeking inspiration. The moment you walk in, you forget you're in the city. There are some areas filled with tourists (like the images below), and other places with just a single pathway engulfed by trees leaving you wondering what's around the corner.
For an alternative to Central Park - there is Washington Square Park. Not as big, but definitely filled with culture. While visiting we found a whole film production shooting, students studying, and my favorite... a man who loves pigeons. Dani and I had an amazing time here taking photos with some of the Dazey Ambassador babes! Definitely worth checking out if you have extra time.
Upon arriving to NYC, Dani's friend sent us a long list of places to eat. I think we barely put a dent in her list.. and wandered into some other random (but very delicious) places. Honestly I think there's an endless amount of good places to eat. Even the ones that don't have a ton of reviews will surprise you. And the ones with a ton of reviews (like Butchers Daughter & Pietro Nolita) are over rated in my opinion. One of my favorite meals we had was in a place we stumbled upon in Brooklyn. This is us having the BEST onion soup I've ever had in my entire life 😍 - seriously, if you're in Brooklyn you need to stop by at Sweetwater Restaurant.
Other dining/shopping recommendations from our trip:
Coffee - Maman Soho, Toby's Estate Coffee, Canal Street Market (cafe inside), & Devocion in Williamsburg
Food - Dez, Egg Shop, Cafe Mogador, Cafe Colette, Gelso & Grand, & Sauvage Cafe
Shopping - Min & Mon, Artists & Fleas in Soho, The Warm Store, Beacons Closet in Brooklyn (the best vintage/thrifting!), Burson Reynolds, Mociun Home, & Canal Street Market
Bars - Apotheke, Brooklyn Brewery, Gitanos, & The Crown (rooftop views!).
please excuse these super fancy iphone shots as I much prefered to enjoy the moment with my food rather than take endless DSLR images while my food got cold 😬
My last words of wisdom...save up some money before you come and don't spend too much on your hotel. All the hotels in NYC are very small (as are the Airbnb's). If you plan on spending most of your time outside exploring, I suggest not splurging on the expensive hotel room because you might be disappointed with the amount of space. If you can't get something conveniently located, make sure it's at least near a metro station. Almost every point of interest is just a short walk from a station. If you plan on eating out, you will be surprised by the price tag. It's common to find a normal entrée plate starting at $20. There are other cheaper options like take-away restaurants, fast food, and grocery stores if you want to save a little. But the cost of living here is much higher than most other places, so even your coffee with be pricey. 😬 Despite all of this, New York is not one to miss on your bucket list. It's iconic for a reason and I highly recommend coming during fashion week! You'll leave feeling inspired and wanting to return immediately. 💕