This is part two of a three part series, detailing my experiences at Vancouver Fashion Week. If you missed part one be sure to go back and read it HERE.
So with my first Vancouver Fashion Week under my belt, I was excited to receive my invite to attend the Fall/Winter 2011 shows. But, as time ticked away and the event got closer I realized an invite was not coming. Perhaps I was still a little under the radar? Maybe they didn’t see all my work? After all no one sent me any feedback so they must have been unaware of my awesome posts.
No worries, I emailed the media liaison for VFW and asked for a media pass for myself and my photographer. I was surprised to see the process had changed. I had to send links to my previous work and give them information on my readership. After doing this and filling in some forms, I waited. Only a few days before the event I received my email letting me know my passes would be waiting for me at the door. Ok. It’s kinda last minute, but at least we’re in.
My loyal photographer and I both got to attend the opening gala this time. It was a smaller event than the year before but at least I wasn’t going solo this time. The following day was the opening night of VFW. This time our passes were in fact waiting for us and checking in was quite easy. We entered the ballroom and I asked a staffer where the media area is. I was told there was no media area and that I was to stand in the pit with my photographer. So I’m trying to picture myself in my stilettos standing in the pit trying to watch the shows and make notes while holding my purse and coat (as there are no seats in this area). Does this seem right to you? Me either. So after chatting with my boyfriend, I decide to go ask the one girl who seems to be a bit more in the know. Sure enough, there is a designated area near the top of the runway and I am escorted to my seat. Hmmm….once again more confusion with seating. I had actually directed another other media person to this area via twitter after seeing tweets about there being nowhere for her to sit.
The rest of the week was similar to the previous season with the constant shuffling of people in and out of the front row. The one positive change this season, was the media people were left alone. I was in the same seat for the whole week. So naturally over the course of the week I would strike up conversations with different media people and photographers and see what brought them to VFW. I was quite surprised that many of the people who were there were “media” who were there “just for fun”, as they put it. This was confusing to me. They had a pass that looked just like mine which means they too would have had to show samples of previous work and give information on their readership. But, when I looked up some of these blogs, during and after VFW, I saw no mention of the shows and often nothing even pertaining to fashion. So how were they approved as media to review and promote the event?
Some examples of my photog’s “terrible” work.
Shortly after VFW ended I received an email from one of the VFW staff photographers. Her email was feedback on my photos. She told me she was contacting me to critique how they were taken as the event wants to ensure that all photos of the event
were of the highest quality. I guess our photos weren’t to their standards even though we, once again, had several models contacting us for photographs as ours were accessible and didn’t come with a big VFW watermark on them. I explained to her that by no means did I ever advertise my photographer as a professional. I explained that I have a blog and my boyfriend was there taking photos for me to give my written content more meaning. She became quite defensive and went on to explain her position and that she was “only trying to help”. While I do believe feedback is necessary for growth, I don’t believe she went about it the right way. I went home to share this info with my boyfriend. He was infuriated to hear about this email. He in fact remembered this woman and heard her say several times that she was there to ensure that only the photographers who were there to promote the week would be given prime spots. Those there for their own benefit and to add to their portfolios would be pushed to the back. If this was true, he wouldn’t have been continuously asked to move while she placed friends of hers front and center to get the best photos.
By this point we were tired and turned off so I decided not to post my coverage of the final night. It was clearly not appreciated and now my work was under scrutiny when others were there “just for fun”. Gotta love the consistency!
Read Part 3, my final summary of my experience at VFW.