NZFW 2017 | The unspoken rules of fashion week

I’ve been attending NZ Fashion Week industry shows for nearly a decade; I started off as a rookie photographer and then a rookie writer.

Over the years, I’ve made and witnessed countless Fashion Week faux pas that no one should be proud of.  So, to help you fashion week first timers, I’m sharing some of my experiences below.


Walking on the Runway: Unless organisers have added a platform to the show, the runway is most likely on the ground. Never, and I repeat never, walk on or across the runway. Doing this results in a stern warning from event staff. You might be wondering, “Why be so precious about the floor? It’s for walking on isn’t it?” Well, yes, but only after the show. Before each show the floor is cleaned or polished and sometimes beautifully decorated. You don’t want to be the person that ruins it in front of hundreds of people armed with smartphones and cameras.

2 Looking Inside Your Goody Bag

Looking inside your goody-bag: This unspoken rule not only applies at NZ Fashion Week; it applies everywhere. One must not be too eager to rummage through a goody bag before a show*. It’s not a good look and it can cause quite a mess for volunteers. I’ve seen empty goody-bags and their content all over chairs and floors, making these things the perfect tripping hazard.

*Exception: Food & drinks meant for consumption will be made obvious, sometimes they’re placed outside the goody-bag. And remember totake your rubbish with you – Be a good kiwi, keep it tidy.

3 Too Big

Using equipment too big for front row: Actually this should be avoided no matter where you sit, I’m talking about large tablets and massive camera lenses.

  • Smart devices: Over the years, I’ve seen the size of screens get bigger and bigger. Often these screens are blocking someone’s view and a photographer’s winning shot. What most people don’t realise is that large screens are distracting and are most likely appearing in all those runway photos taken from the photographer’s pit. No one is going to crucify you if that is the only thing you have, just keep in mind that other people are also trying to enjoy the show, just be discrete with it.
  • Camera lens: Another item to avoid using is a very long lens, I’ve done this and instantly regretted it. Seating spaces are tight, you’ll most likely be rubbing arms with the person next to you. My lens was not only getting in the way but I was close to giving people a concussion. Ditch the zoom lens and carry a small fixed lens. Trust me, it’s all you need.

4 Flash Photography

Flash photography: Avoid using flash photography, no one does it anymore. This was the first tip I received as  a rookie photographer. Most smartphones released in 2016-2017 perform great in low light environments, some will even let you control the shutter speed. If this all sounds too complicated, just set your camera to ‘no flash’. Or ask a photographer near by if they can help get the right settings on your device.


Having a Mean Girls attitude: I’ve met some of the nicest people at NZFW over the years, but I’ve also come across some mean girls.  Mean girls are the ones who are demanding, rude and mistreat the volunteers. Remember, everyone knows everyone in the fashion community and word will spread quickly.  Treat everyone with respect and you’ll be well looked after at shows.

6 Glued to your phone

Being glued to your screen: Shiny smartphone screens are mesmerising objects aren’t they? But please, put it down and say hello to your neighbour. You never know, you might be making lasting relationships with someone in the industry. Remember, the key to a blogger’s success is to network, network, network.


Leaving a show once doors have closed: We all understand emergencies; it’s the only time leaving a show midway is acceptable.  Leaving early is not only rude, it gives the wrong message and it’s disruptive to those trying to enjoy the show or event staff who are managing it.  If it’s a trip to the bathroom, my advice is to hold it for a bit longer.  If you choose to leave, you might not be let back in.  Most shows only run for an hour.


Leave your bad shoes at home: You don’t have to be in the newest trends or the finest threads; but you should definitely make an effort. If you’re lucky enough to be seated front row, make sure you’re wearing nice shoes.  You may think that no one will notice, but someone always does.

9 dress to impress

Dress to impress: Fashion Week is your time to shine, especially if you’re front row. I’ve seen it all, including ball gowns and tiaras.  If you’re loud and proud, fashion week is where it’s at.  But if you’re struggling to find something, start with ‘smart casual’.  Remember, self-confidence is the best outfit; rock it and own it.  As Coco Chanel once said; “Don’t be like the rest of them darling.”

And that concludes my list of unspoken rules at Fashion Week While it’s not extensive, it’s enough to get you through the week.  Go forth and flourish my fellow fashionistas.

If you think I’ve missed one or have something you’d to add, head over to our Facebook page and share your tips with us.

New Zealand Fashion Week 2017 takes place in Auckland 28-31 August.  For all the deets, head over to