Another Milan Fashion Week has been and gone – but for me it wasn’t just another fashion week, it was actually my very first fashion week as a street style photographer.
To be completely honest, I still don’t know how I feel about this experience because it was a real rollercoaster of emotions, but in the end it left me already craving for more.
On my first day, I was so overwhelmed with excitement about what was going to happen, I got up way before my alarm clock went off! I checked the shows schedule, picked the ones I wanted to attend and grabbed my photographic gear. As soon as I walked out the door and started rushing to the first show I could totally feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
One should be outside the chosen show at least half an hour ahead of its start and I actually managed to accomplish that on foot (thanks Google maps!). I was adjusting the camera settings as needed when a minor blogger showed up and I discovered the first fundamental rule of fashion weeks: you need to fight hard to assure yourself a good spot in that Great Wall of China made of photographers, from which – I can guarantee this – you’ll emerge with many mysterious bruises.
Another blogger appeared across the road (the Pokémon battle theme started playing in my head) and I learnt the second rule: to get the right shot, you may need to run in the open street like a headless chicken, which is a very unsafe thing to do, especially since Uber, taxi and regular drivers won’t be happy about it (horn honkings and insults are pretty standard in these situations).
I jumped right in and took a lot pictures of passing influencers and celebrities, until I got more self-assured and started asking them to pose for me in specific ways or places. I really enjoyed it.
But then the third rule hit me like a truck: it doesn’t matter how self-confident you are, at some point you will experience some self-esteem issues related both to your work and your body: you’ll start thinking you won’t measure up to all those seasoned pro photographers and you’ll start doubting your appearance and your look (because – you know – ethereal, stylish and gorgeous models everywhere).
I got past all these things, at least until all the people that matter in the Fashion industry were already inside enjoying the catwalk and I was still outside waiting for that show to be over (so that I could start taking photos again). That’s when the excitement wore off: even the unknown bloggers who just kept strolling around in the hope of being snapped stopped strolling around and the fashion week turned out to be one of the loneliest places for someone like me.
That’s when the fourth rule kicked in: everyone knows everyone since they’ve done this year after year and they are not waiting for you to become their new friend, so you’ll need to pry into their conversations, show off your self-confidence and make them become your friends. It will be worth it.
I met a lot of incredibly talented, super nice pros, who offered me a lot of really useful tips and even tried to help me when I experienced technical issues (note to self: next time be sure to pack more than one portable battery for your phone, extra SD cards and extra batteries for your DSLR because you’ll probably need them).
There’s just one very sneaky rule left, the fifth rule: you’ll realize no matter what shoes you’re wearing your feet hurt (maybe this is why those ugly furry Gucci slippers became so popular during FWs!), because being at a fashion week is not like attending a fancy and glamorous party, is 100% hard work.
I came home every evening very tired but also completely sure that this is what I want to do, this is the world I want to live in. I can’t wait to be back in Milan to do it again and to do it even better!
I hope you’ll like my street style photos and my honest rules!
Let me know in the comments which photo did you like the most 😉