I've Been Going To Fashion Week For 10 Years – But I Still Get Shy

I blagged my way into my first fashion show when I was at college because that was the assignment for the week: blag your way into a show. For several seasons after that I worked at the British Fashion Council, directing press to shows and answering calls from frantic editors who were stuck in traffic and worried they would miss the start. Then for five years I worked as a writer and editor at a fashion magazine, which meant writing reports on every single show in London, Milan and Paris. I interviewed all the designers backstage, from Donatella Versace to Miuccia Prada, then wrote up the reports and uploaded them to a website, which usually took me until 5am. Those were, and were not, the days.
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I used to get so anxious at fashion week, worried about not knowing anyone and not wearing the right thing. Now, after 10 years of going to shows, I've learned to enjoy it and my schedule is, thankfully, more relaxed. Here's my diary from day four this season.
7am
My friend who is a builder arrives to lay a new floor in my flat. We have a coffee in the lounge and I tell him I’m doing shows today. Turns out he knows more about each designer on my schedule than I do and we get into a 45-minute chat about the brands we were obsessed with in our youth and what it meant, as teenagers growing up around London, to look the part on the high street in front of our friends. Back then my only designer item was a £25 Dior snap bracelet. But I had aspirations.
8am
I leave the house and walk to the Tube station listening to Madonna’s "Like A Prayer" because I can’t get it out of my head since Alexa Chung’s party on Saturday night, where I danced for four hours straight with my best friends and had the time of my life. I smile as I remember how excited I used to get as a teenager about a new outfit. The right outfit has always given me a confidence that I don’t naturally have. I stop smiling when I realise I’ve forgotten to put a tampon in.
8.50am
Can’t see any fashion people at the location and then realise I put "103 Oxford St" into Citymapper instead of "103 New Oxford Street" which means I have to get a jog on to get there on time. I arrive sweaty and concerned about the tampon situ. I’m sat next to this fabulous woman called Mima who I worked with a bit many years ago, but I think she probably won’t remember me because I’m just another girl with long brown hair who works in fashion and I feel shy, so I stare at my phone instead of saying hi. I turn around and see another fashion editor I used to intern for over 10 years ago and we smile at each other. I remember a really fun day from that period assisting her on a Girls Aloud shoot. My job was to help them get dressed so I zipped them up and fastened their shoes and they were so lovely, I almost felt like one of the gang.
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9.15am
The show (Rejina Pyo) starts. The opening track is "Creep" by Radiohead, my favourite emo anthem. The clothes are beautiful. This is immediately one of my favourite shows of the season. There’s one brown trench in a super lightweight plastic fabric that I start writing into my life.
9.30am
Bump into my friend Alice leaving the show and tell her about my tampon situ. She shows me an amazing video of Victoria Beckham dancing to a Spice Girls song at the Vogue party last night, and hands me a tampon. Alice is the kind of woman I’d want at my side if I were in labour. I get an Uber to the next show because it starts in 30 minutes and it’s not near a Tube.
10am
Arrive at the Serpentine Gallery for Roksanda Ilincic. Vogue Japan ask to take my photo outside and then ask what I’m wearing and I feel embarrassed because none of it is designer apart from my handbag and my tampon. I’m sorry, Vogue Japan.
10.41am
Kuljeet, my Uber driver, cannot get over how many "pretty ladies" there are waiting for taxis. I tell him it’s a fashion show and he says "Ooh, is it free?" I say "Sort of" and show him the video of the Roksanda finale on my phone and he thinks it is "very very nice".
11.20am
I was convinced I was going to miss the show (Erdem) but it’s running late thankfully. It’s at the National Portrait Gallery and I’m sat next to a freaky painting of a large Edwardian or Victorian baby dressed in a ballgown holding a crucifix. The show is gothic and exquisite, as all Erdem shows are.
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12pm
Pop into the Pringle presentation at the ICA with Alice then to Pret for some lunch. The man behind the counter says he likes my earrings which are sparkly and dangly and because of this, he gives me a free sandwich.
1.15pm
I was worried about missing the Christopher Kane show because there was lots of traffic but once again, it’s all fine because everyone is always late. I sit next to Susie Bubble and we chat about giving birth. The first time I covered the Paris shows I was 22 and the biggest nobody and I got completely lost on the Metro and saw Susie Bubble who I’d never met but I went up to her and asked for directions and she said, "Don’t worry! Come with me!" I’ve loved her ever since. The show is beautiful. I want the metallic mermaid dress with big green jewels and the patent red boots but if I had to choose, I’d take the boots.
2.30pm
Head back to the office, eat a very large cookie (the kind you buy as a standalone item), a spoonful of vegan Nutella and seven Party Rings. I'd wager that I eat more biscuits than anyone else in fashion. I sort out my emails and then look through photos of the collections, trying to identify trends and themes. I just want to write about all the pretty dresses I saw today and I screengrab all my favourites and write two opening sentences, but then realise a story on my favourite dresses is too basic, so I abandon this idea and do something else.
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5.20pm
Watch the Burberry show on a live stream at my desk. This is Riccardo Tisci’s debut collection for the British heavyweight. I interviewed him that time I was following Susie Bubble around in Paris and he was really lovely. The highlight of the show for me is Kendall Jenner’s full beige look, though I think I prefer the menswear to the womenswear in general.
8pm
Leave work and get the 243 bus to the next show: Maison Margiela. There are no seats, everyone is standing for this show, which makes it feel like a party and I wish I had a drink in my hand. I catch up with some old work pals while we're waiting for it to start, which it does at approximately 8.40pm. The clothes nod to Margiela's heritage of irreverent deconstruction. I particularly like a mint green jacket look and the footwear. It's cool, but I'm tired.
One more day to go in London, then our international editors will head to Milan and then Paris. Once all the shows are over, the team will get together to collate trends and brainstorm features for the next six months, profiling the designers we loved and working on fashion shoots and shopping stories. Fashion week is a month long but fashion content is all year. I tried to make that sound like the Yves Saint Laurent phrase: "Fashion fades, style is eternal". You get the gist.
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