A FREELANCER'S GUIDE TO LONDON FASHION WEEK

A Freelancer London Fashion Week Guide would not be complete without a list of the best shows, schedules, parties, events, local activities and insider tips. Where to find work at London Fashion Week to the best fashion hangouts. To help you get the most out of the most sought-after fashion event in the world, we’ve compiled the Ultimate Guide for London Fashion Week. Do you have any suggestions, thoughts or additions that you’d like us to include? Tweet us and let us know.

Work @ London Fashion Week

How To Get Accreditation

To become an official LFW photographer, stylist, blogger etc… you must apply for accreditation. Accreditation grants access to the showrooms, events, and talks. For freelance creatives who wish to gain official accreditation, you must go through the British Fashion Council (BFC), who have an official accreditation process, which you can find here - it’s pretty painless. Once on the webpage, click ‘Complete New Application’ under Photographer and Broadcaster or under ‘New Registrations’ for everyone else. Then you will be taken to a new webpage where you choose the label that is best suited to you and your job role, the options are Buyer, Press, Stylist, Blogger/ Digital Influencer, Designer or Other.

Here, you will be asked to fill out an application form that assesses your suitability to cover London Fashion Week.  The form will analyse where you work, who you work for, the number of social media followers you have, why you are coming to the event and what you intend on covering when you are there. But be prepared, the stakes are super high! For example, bloggers must have an Instagram account, consisting of fashion-related content with at least 35K followers, or at least 50k views per fashion-related YouTube video, or a fashion blog that has over 15,000 monthly unique visitors.

However, London Fashion Week is not only for buyers and press or accredited creative freelancers documenting the event for that matter, it is for anyone with a love of fashion and an active interest in getting involved. Below are our top tips for finding freelance jobs at LFW that can help to transform your career.

Model jobs at London Fashion Week

Freelance Model jobs at London Fashion Week

The majority of models who work during LFW are there with agencies who have been in contact with the designer or PR agency directly. However, there are options for freelance models. Contact designers who are showing off-schedule with headshots and body shots, your portfolio and your measurements to see if they’d be interested in having you model or walk for them.

Fashion Scout is the largest fashion showcase for independent designers in London and also hold open model castings each season for their designers’ shows.

Stylist jobs at London Fashion Week

Freelance stylists are all over London Fashion Week. Whether they’re dressing models backstage, researching the latest trends from the front row or networking at exclusive events, LFW is a stylists mecca.

As a freelance stylist, you can get involved in the event in many ways. Emailing designers that are both on and off schedule and asking if they require any assistance backstage is a great place to start.

“Having covered and attended many fashion weeks on the ground as a Fashion Editor working for independent magazines and now as a freelance fashion stylist, I have had the opportunity to see how incredible Fashion Week can be to learn about and break into the industry first hand!

There is no better event to learn about designers, and how trends are taken from the catwalk into stores and shops. There are always opportunities to get involved in Fashion Week if you put your mind to it - from blogging for a publication, interning backstage on a show or working on the event itself with things like registering guests or on a party for a PR agency.

It is the most fast paced environment that I have ever worked in, full of inspiring, passionate individuals and offers a complete fly on the wall insight on how fashion can be.

So, if you have the energy, thirst, and desire to get into this amazing industry, I would certainly get on some notice boards at University, online jobs boards or some fashion networks on social media to find out more about opportunities to get involved in.” - Faye Heran - Fashion Editor and Stylist

Photographer jobs at London Fashion Week

Not all photographers that attend LFW are officially accredited (see above). The event attracts the world’s most stylish people and is the ultimate destination for capturing vivid street style looks. If you’re keen to offer street photography as a service, there is no better time to build your portfolio over a few days. Check out our article on the impact of GDPR on street photographers before you start snapping!

Capturing the atmosphere surrounding the event is an option for any freelance photographer. Simply being in the mix where the event takes place at The Store Studios, 180 The Strand will provide ample opportunities to take striking snaps. In addition to great shots, the networking opportunities around LFW are second to none and when you’re holding a camera, it’s a passport to an introduction, “Do you mind if I take your picture?”.

I previously, in 2015 and 2017, photographed catwalk shows and presentations for two online publications - gal-dem and U+mag. I found the jobs through adverts posted online as well as by emailing publications that I liked.

Overall my experience was pretty positive considering I knew that the work was unpaid and I had no previous experience. I was given a photographers pass and was able to access an industry that I thought previously was very inaccessible to me. However, it required a lot of time and effort as there is a quick turnaround (usually press want the pictures as soon as possible after the show finishes) so I would not do it again as I know my worth now.” - Leah Rustomjee, Photographer, and Filmmaker

Unpaid work is all too common at LFW and, although the experience can feel worthwhile (how could it not!), the generally accepted view that one must work for no remuneration other than the experience is not healthy for the individual accepting the work or the freelance industry at large. There are a vast number of blogs, Instagram accounts, and publications who will pay good money for high quality, clear LFW photographs. 

The optimum approach for freelance photographers is to have a plan before the 5-day event commences. Research fashion magazines and publications that regularly cover LFW and look over their submission requirements and guidelines. You can use this guide to help you price your photography and, bear in mind, that there are only limited images of each show, and once the show has passed, it has passed, making your work all the more valuable (try raising your usual fee.)

Makeup Artist & Beauty jobs at London Fashion Week

Freelance Makeup London Fashion Week Jobs

Makeup artists are usually found backstage during LFW. They have an extremely important role in contributing to the designers’ showcase and nailing their overall aesthetic. For freelance makeup artists looking to make their first steps into fashion week, assist, assist, assist. You can find assisting roles by sending your portfolio to Makeup Artists you admire and work at LFW. Find out who regularly works at LFW and ask if they need any assistance. The same applies to Nail Artists who are frequently getting asked to work on the models before the show. 

Another way of getting your foot in the door is by contacting creative and PR agencies. Specific creative agencies represent Makeup Artists that work with designers during LFW, it won’t hurt to send over your portfolio to see if they could do with any extra help, or better yet to help you book your first ever Fashion Week job. 

To enhance your reputation in the industry, download our list of magazines who accept submissions.

Hair Stylist jobs at London Fashion Week

Like Makeup Artists, freelance Hair Stylists work with designers to complete each model's look. As a freelance Hair Stylist, it is extremely competitive trying to book shows at LFW but it is worth contacting the PR companies that represent the designers showcasing at LFW.

It is also advisable to contact brand owners to find out which hair brand is sponsoring the event, contact them and see if you can get involved in any way. Being proactive a couple of months before the event is the sweet spot. Too eager and brands are not prepping for LFW, too close to the date and you'll be relying on last-minute dropouts. 

Writing jobs at London Fashion Week

Not all writers and bloggers will be LFW accredited. Freelance writers must take the initiative to get involved with the event. Get yourself down to Store Studio during Fashion Week and interview people, write pitches to small magazines and publications ahead of the event to see if they’d be interested in having you write for them.

Freelance writers can also contact PRs with examples of their writing work to see if they’d be interested in having them cover their designers’ new collections.

Finding London Fashion Week work online

Freelance Online Jobs at London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week comes with a lot of hype and excitement. It’s the event many freelancers want to be apart of and, unfortunately, this encourages a lot of unpaid work. Brands recognise the desire to work at the prestigious event and, when freelancers are willing to work for free to say they’ve ‘worked’ at LFW, they take advantage. Take a look at our article on Working for Free at LFW before you give up your services for free.

However, don’t stress, as there are many ways of finding paid work at LFW that helps you gain experience and enhance an amazing portfolio whilst ensuring you are fairly compensated. The Freelancer Club jobs board is always being updated and will be packed with LFW related roles as the run-up begins. It’s best to sign up now so you can stay ahead of the game and find the Fashion Week jobs as soon as they are posted.

Apply to freelance fashion jobs at LFW

It goes without saying that Instagram is one of the most effective ways to source creatives for LFW. If there’s ever been a time to clean up your personal or professional profile or to start one, it’s now! Instagram allows freelancers to both select the talent that they would like to collaborate with or to showcase their work instantly to those interested in using it to research and recruit talent. Especially during the run-up to the event, searching and using hashtags #LFW and #LFWSS19 will help you stay in the loop.

Where To Go

London Fashion Week takes place bang in the heart of central London at The Store Studios at 180 The Strand, from 14th - 18th September. However, if you can’t get tickets, paid work or don't feel like getting in the mix, there is plenty to do, watch, see, eat and drink around London Fashion Week. Here are a few local events, hot spots, and hangouts worth checking out.

Alternative Fashion Events

London Fashion Week Festival

The Store Studios, 180 Strand, WC2R

Date & Time: 20 - 23 Sept

The festival is the official LFW event that is open to all members of the public. It consists of catwalk shows, talks, opportunities to be professionally pampered and shopping. Tickets range from £20 to £200.

Introduction To Psychology For Fashion

Lift, 45 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PW

Date & Time: Sat 15th Sept, 10a.m - 4.30p.m

This course is for anyone who is interested in the human mind and how fashion expresses our thoughts, feelings, and identity. Tickets range from £135.34 to £189.24.

Fashioned From Nature

Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Date & Time: until 27th Jan 2019

Exploring how fashion and nature have intertwined from the 17th century until now, this exhibition will highlight fascinating materials, fabrics and natural history that has contributed to fashion and clothing. Tickets are £12.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up

Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Date & Time: Sun, 4th Nov 2018

Late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is a cultural icon, today more than ever. This exhibition honours her legacy through personal artefacts, items, and clothing that she had throughout her life, Tickets are £15.

Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier

Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6AG

Date & Time: Sun, 7th Oct 2018

Couture designer Azzedine Alaïa presents his first UK solo exhibition at The Design Museum. The unconventional designer presents the story of his life and the beautiful creations that have led him to working with Rihanna, Grace Jones, and Michelle Obama.

Orla Kiely: A Life In Pattern

Fashion And Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XF

Date & Time: Fri, 14th Sept, 7p.m – 8p.m

Known for her fabulous stem print, vibrant designer Orla Kiely will discuss her story and the influence it has had across fashion, homeware, and design. Tickets are £12 to £15.

Mini Mode - London's Premier Kids Fashion Week AW18 | Consumer Show

Lso St. Luke's, 161 Old Street, London, EC1V 9NG

Date & Time: Sat, 15th Sept, 3p.m – 6p.m

As the children’s fashion market is growing rapidly, this event provides an exciting insight into the best the industry has to offer. Tickets are £15 to £50.

Beyond Representation: Inclusivity & Fashion

De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, 61-65 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5DA

Date & Time: Sun, 16th Sept, 2p.m – 3p.m

Host by an industry-led panel who know fashion very well, this talk will discuss the representation of marginalised groups in fashion and how better to run an ethical fashion business. Entry is free.

Fgm Fashion Show 19th September

St Mary's Venue, York Street, London, W1H 1PQ

Date & Time: 6p.m to 9p.m

With live entertainment, guest talks and a catwalk showcase from Couture and RTW designer Raishma, this event is put on by The Hemraj Goyal Foundation, Barnardo's, the National FGM Centre, and BINTI to enjoy fashion whilst learning about a good cause. Entry is free.

Fashions Finest SS19 During London Fashion Week

De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, 61 - 65 Great Queen St,  London, WC2B 5DA

Date & Time: Sat 15th Sept -Sun 16th Sept, 1pm – 7p.m

As one of the hottest off schedule shows about, fashion platform Fashions Finest puts on dazzling showcases well known for spotting the next big thing in design talent. Tickets are £11.08 to £36.84.

Fashion4Africa 2018 (London Fashion Week - Off Schedule)

The China Exchange (UK), 32a Gerrard Street, London, W1D 6JA

Date & Time: Fri, 14th Sept, 5.30p.m – 10p.m

Another unmissable off schedule show that sees creative talent from both the UK and Africa showcase their work. Tickets are £11.37 to £32.93.

Mini Style Up Event

Westfield London, Ariel Way, London, W12 7GF

Date & Time: Sun,16th Sept, 12p.m – 2p.m

The event allows women to get first-hand advice from a personal stylist while learning about the trends and the colours that are best suited to their body shape. Tickets are £32.03.

Jewellery Design & Create Silver Rings Workshop With Fiona Dowling

Fiona Dowling London Fashion Week

The Duke Of Cambridge, Tilford Road

Tilford, Near Farnham, Surrey, GU10 2DD

Date & Time: Tue 18th Sept, 10a.m – 2.30p.m

A small class of jewellery enthusiasts will take part in a workshop aiming to teach basic jewellery making techniques while creating beautiful souvenirs to take home. Tickets are £85.

Coinciding Events

If you fancy doing something a little less fashionable after a day of stunning models sporting intricate and expensive designs, there are other inspiring events that the city has to offer.

London Design Festival

33 John St, London WC1N 2AT  

The London Design Festival seeks to promote London as the design capital of the world and consists of events and exhibits that celebrate the city’s passion for design.

Totally Thames

The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, arge House Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH

In celebration of the River Thames, Totally Thames comprises of arts festivals, river races, and community events.

ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company: Sylvia

Sadlers Wells Theatre, London EC1R 4TN, UK

Dance company ZooNation will perform a musical honouring the life of women’s rights campaigner Sylvia Pankhurst as she partakes in the Suffragette movement.

Videogames at The V&A

Computer Games

Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL

In light of the modern phenomenon that is video games, the V&A has curated an exhibition that highlights the design process and concept art behind creating video games. Admission is £18.

Boy Blue Entertainment: Blak Whyte Gray

Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Blak Whyte Gray is a Hip Hop dance piece that acts as a physical response to the current social and political environment. Tickets range from £15 to £25.

Christian Marclay: The Clock

Bankside, London, SE1 9TG

Kicking off on 14th September, Artist Christian Marclay’s installation The Clock comes to London after travelling the world showcasing a fascinating collection of thousands of film and television images of clocks, that work together to show the real time.

Pop Up Screens

Paddington Recreation Ground, Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, London W9 1PF

Outdoor cinema company Pop Up Screens will be showing the films The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Shape of Water and Pretty Woman throughout mid-September.

Killing Time

Circus

27-29 Endell Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9BA

This late-night spot is a London must visit. Circus provides impeccable food and drinks as well as impressive entertainment including fire-breathers, contortionists, and acrobats.

sbe

45 St. Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4HX

sbe has locations all over the world and the company is well known for their exquisite cuisine and stunning decor. The restaurant provides bespoke cocktails, afternoon tea, and a beautiful outdoor terrace.

TY Seven Dials

7 Upper Saint Martin's Lane, London, WC2H 9DL

This independent coffee shop company has won many awards including being voted the UK Independent Coffee Shop of the Year from 2014 to 2017 and it isn’t hard to see why. The space is ideal for catching up on coverage and content between shows!

Frenchie

16 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8QH

This fine dining treat brings the class and sophistication of Paris to London. With a seasonal cocktail and wine menu and the option of trying a 5-course tasting menu, this place captures the cuisines of the French capital.

The Ivy

Champagne at London Fashion Week

1-5 West Street, London, WC2H 9NQ

The iconic Ivy restaurant is renowned for being one of London's ‘it’ spots, with their glamorous and stunning location and fine food and drink. The Ivy has everything from Asian, Italian and Seafood cuisine to unique and classic cocktails and fine champagne.

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