Vancouver Fashion Week Experiences – Part I

I wanted to write an unbiased, constructive account of my experiences at Vancouver Fashion Week over the last 2 seasons. By no way is this intended to undermine any and all of the hard work that the volunteers, models and designers put in every season. It’s because of these talented and devoted people that this event has come as far as it has.

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 2012 (VFW2012) has just ended and after having attended the previous 2 seasons I boycotted the event this time around. The main reason was that I just got married and was on my honeymoon, but in spite of that, I would not have attended, and barring some major changes I do not plan to attend in the future.

VFW 2011 S/S was my first experience as a blogger at a fashion show. I went through the process of introducing myself and explaining that I would love to be invited to the week’s events.   I went on to say, that coverage on my blog would be a good thing for them as well as a benefit for me.  A sort of “I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine” proposition. The powers that be at VFW agreed, and I received 2 press passes, one for me and one for my photog (at the time my ever loving and devoted boyfriend and now husband).

So, there I was, bright eyed and bushy tailed, making my way to my first Vancouver Fashion Week. The first night was the gala where all the designers gave a sneak peek of a look that they’d be showing in the coming week. Other than the fact, that for no apparent reason, I wasn’t allowed to bring my photog, everything seemed to be on the up and up. The next night however, was a different story. My boyfriend and I arrived early to check in, to find out that we weren’t on the list. After running down our contact, we got our passes and entered the event.   Up next was finding our spots to set up. My photog  in the “pit” at the end of the runway and me in the designated media area.

After asking a few staffers, we found our places and settled in for the first show.  He snapped away taking pics of every look that came down the runway, in spite of being moved to make room for every other more important photographer. Meanwhile, I madly jotted down notes about each collection.  At the end of each show came the ever necessary, Redistribution of Importance.  Since all the shows were held in one room, different “important” people would be seated in the front row for each show, which would consequently result in the media people being moved around in every shuffle.  Somehow, on a few occasions, I was seated in the front row…I think just to make sure there wasn’t an empty seat in the pictures.

Each and every night I would head home, have some dinner around 11pm (as I went to VFW straight from work), and begin editing photos and writing my articles from the day’s events.  We would usually be up until 2 or 3 am to make sure the article and photos were posted for the next morning.  Then we’d be off to bed to get up at 7am to go to work and then off to VFW all over again.

I received tons of positive feedback from the models, make-up artists, stylists, and even some of the designers, commenting that my coverage was some of the only coverage and pics that they could find.    I gave free photos to whoever asked and received lots of lovely comments on my posts and twitter feeds.  Even after all this work, I never received an ounce of feedback from anyone at VFW.  No comments, no thank you’s, nothing!  And all those “important” people in the front row, didn’t so much as mention VFW on their sites.

So, naturally with a job well done and some excellent coverage, I was ready and waiting for my invite to the Fall/Winter 2011 shows.  Of course I’ d be invite

d back, right?

This is Part 1 of my VFW experience.  To save you from the complete boredom of reading (people still do that, right?)  I’ve written this article in three parts.

Read Part 2!

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  • Reply
    November 8, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I have to say, I am excited to read more about your (negative) experiences at VFW. I have made my own experiences with VFW as well, not as an attendant at the events, but more “behind the scenes”.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I am looking forward to reading your other 2 parts as well … I first got involved with VFW in 2003 (I think) when it was still held at Au Bar. I was one of the designers showing and since I was new to the scene, I too had very high ambitions for the show. I was left a bit confused and came away thinking the whole thing was a bit amateur. Fast forward to the last few years when I have returned as a spectator and I agree completely with your article above. Even as a spectator, I was moved around, sometimes to fill empty media holes in the front but shooed to the back when “important” (but in no way beneficial to the designer) people showed up.

    As I am out of the country at the moment, I did not have a chance to attend the recent shows but it looks like some changes have been made. Only time and feedback from this round will tell!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    That’s unfortunate. I would love to attend events such as this one, or anything really in Vancouver as It always looks like a lot of fun. But I would be upset as well if I were treated like you were, and did not receive an invite for the following event. Oh well, put your effort into things that you will be given credit for =)

  • Reply
    Conner Galway
    November 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Your experiences at VFW in the past were unfortunate. I’ve heard several similar stories and have been working closely with the organizers to make improvements.

    This season I helped to make recommendations for improvement and implement them so that VFW could build from where it was – I think that our show was a huge success.

    I’ve spent some time now reading reviews of the shows, looking for more areas where we can improve and, frankly, yours was one of the only posts that I’ve found written since the show that isn’t positive. We have made major changes and there is an air of professionalism about the whole week now – I wish that you had been there to see it.

    I hope that you’ll give us a chance to change your mind next season, we’re starting the planning process already. Thank you for the work that you’ve done in the past – it’s writers like you who help us to build Vancouver as an emerging fashion city. Please contact me directly at the email above as we get closer to show time so that we can make plans for the 2012 Fall/Winter shows.

    • Reply
      November 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      Conner, thank you for taking the time to comment. I am a huge supporter of the fashion industry in Vancouver. It is because of my passion for this industry that I have supported events like VFW. I feel like the only way for an event to grow and make positive changes are for fashion industry people, like myself, to share their experiences.

      I plan to post the next two parts of my series. I am glad to hear that improvements are being made and that the event is continuing to evolve.

      I hope you will check back to read the next two posts on VFW.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for your honesty – I saw VFW as a volunteer and now as a blogger, chose not to attend! Congrats on your new marriage – exciting times! Check out my giveaway on my blog – a date you and your new hubby may want to do together – heehe!

  • Reply
    Carmen Cruz
    November 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Hola Chica! I arrived back in Vancouver just in time to hear about VFW wrapping up. So sad I missed all the shows, but alas, I’ll have to live vicariously through your blog. So jealous!
    Oh! And let me know when you want to get ‘the band together’ for what is to become an EPIC Rock Band night. This girl is ready to bang on some drums!!!
    Love your blog!

  • Reply
    Carmen Cruz
    November 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    One more thing!
    I’ve heard tons of mixed reviews about VFW. I know from my own personal experiences there that it’s a total and complete gong show. Most of their ‘staff’ works for free and have no idea what they’re doing. I’ve also heard negative things about the main organizer. Look him up. ‘Interesting fellow’. Either way, as I like to say, ‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down’. I say you chat with other fashion bloggers and find out about their own personal experiences there and compare notes.

    Ok. Will stop rambling now…


  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you all so much for your comments and feedback. I appreciate hearing about others experiences. Parts 2 and 3 will be coming soon!

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