For those of you who wanted be at Fashion Week in Sydney, but couldn’t, we want to give you an idea of what it was like to attend, like us, as street style photographers.
First of all it’s a matter of registering to attend. IMG the organisers of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia require you to show your credentials by submitting 3 examples of your work, whether you’re a publisher, journo, photographer or blogger. And of course you have to pay. It’s $80 per person attending from your organisation, or $120 each if you mess up your on-line registration (speaking from experience ). If your registration is accepted as a photographer, you can gain entry to all runway events and must position yourself on the overcrowded media rise. If you register as a blogger, you will receive individual invitations to attend various shows, which you can accept. Some shows are at a cost, some are free, and some are invitation only. Then there are additional costs, usually to attend seminars with a panel of quest speakers. These were normally $79 and involved the networking and “free drinks and snacks” in the bar afterwards.
Being Sydney, there wasn’t a huge amount of networking at these “networking opportunities”. It was more a chance to mingle with people in the industry you already knew. And if you didn’t know anyone, good luck. We found an American woman sitting at the back of the bar on her own. She had flown in from the US, has three bricks and mortar fashion outlets there, about to open her fourth and also has an on-line store. No, she wasn’t as big a buyer as the multinationals, but she was a buyer and she had flown a long way to see the shows. There she was, sat on her own, left to her own devices. Backs turned. Everybody busy talking to someone else. Sometimes, you need a huge amount of chutzpah to turn up at these events and an even huger amount to endure them.
For us it was a chance to relax at the bar, after being on our feet for many hours snapping people both inside and outside the venue. We did get the opportunity to chat, but only with people we’d already met and not with any of the panelists from the preceding workshop. Actually, we’re not sure we spotted all the speakers there.
Then it was late nights editing, uploading and selecting our photos from the hundreds that we snapped each day.
There were early morning starts and we have to confess that we couldn’t attend them all. Many bloggers and fashionistas attending the Camilla show at Sea Deck had to be up at 5ish to get there in time before the boat left the dock!! Many of the last shows were scheduled for 8 or 9 pm the same evening, often at spectacular venues away from the main site at Carriagworks. There’s lots of Ubering involved. Taxis too, as there were many taxis stationed at the Carriageworks entrance. We made the mistake of travelling to and from by foot, on the first day. Not such a good idea when you’re going to be on your feet almmost the whole week. Better to save your energy.
The street style scene is a gift. Everyone wants to be photographed. Everyone’s been paid or given an outfit to model. Everyone knows that the photographers are stationed out front with the perfect photo backdrops and brick walls. And everyone knows how to ‘werk it’!
It’s almost impossible to photograph someone who isn’t somehow involved in the industry. There were so many celebrities, models, famous stylists, magazine editors and top-bloggers, it really is a street style photographer’s paradise.
Part of the fun is trying to get that magic shot when you’re being photo bombed by a dozen other fashion photographers. No sooner do you walk outside with your chosen subject who you’ve politely asked for a snap, than you’re being mobbed by photographers all vying for a shot of the person you’re accompanying to your own shoot. Very funny. But they are a great bunch. Many of them are fashion bloggers as well as photographers themselves. And because you’re spending so much time in the same company, you can get to meet and make new friends.
If you just turn up at Carriageworks without paying, you can. You wont get entry inside the venue, or any of the other venues where Designers are showing, but you can get some snaps out front, as the most hardened street style snappers already know.
Overall, if you’re planning on attending all 6 days, be aware that there’s also an additional – lower key -two days the following weekend. We flew out after the Oscar De La Renta finale of the main event. That was plenty for us. We had more shots than we can ever use. We were satisfied, happy and exhausted. So much so, that in the week following, one of us fell sick. that’s how demanding it can be.
But we loved every minute of it!