The reality of a London Fashion Week press pass

Yesterday saw the beginning of September’s London Fashion Week and for the first time ever, I had an insight into the exclusive press areas.

We arrived and were greeted by a forest of photographers, street style bloggers, presenters, paparazzi and generally fashion-conscious females. Walking through the crowd, we approached security and were let into the fashion wonderland. A car park. Brewer street car park, to be precise.

Our press passes gave us access to the designer showrooms and press/buyers lounge. The showrooms were essentially small stalls- a chic market of up-and-coming collections. The room was also fitted with a Toni and Guy salon providing complimentary styling and a Rimmel kiosk complete with a selfie booth.

We headed to the press and buyers lounge, a room of bloggers, editors, photographers and more hunched over their laptops, iPads and phones, frantically tweeting and instagramming their findings from the day. Naturally, the lounge was full so we headed outside and basked in the beautiful chaos of it all. People were being screamed at to watch out for cars, cameras were flashing, there was a middle-aged man with a fruit basket on his head, Lucinda Chambers was walking through the street, it all seemed to be happening.

But something was missing. With a press pass you get access to exclusive areas but you don’t actually get to see any shows. The majority are invitation-only or due to bigging yourself up so much by email that a newly established designer feels obliged to invite you just in case you ‘make it big’. So not seeing a show was an obvious disappointment, but it made me realise that fashion week isn’t just about the shows. Fashion week is a cultural movement so huge hundreds of people gather around a glammed up car park just to watch from the sidelines, so huge that all of the top designers are desperate to showcase their new collections and so huge that people like me make a round trip of about 6 hours just to get a peek of it.