As the business developer at fashion social network 21 Buttons, Camelia Ferrah spends her days building out the company’s presence in France and working on brand partnerships. When Paris Fashion Week comes around, however, her priorities are realigned so she can make sure that 21 Buttons is covering the most important events in the capital city.
Amid the countless catwalks, events, campaigns, and after-parties, the hectic week tests the stamina of everyone involved—from the models showcasing the latest capsule collection to journalists reporting on the trends. For 21 Buttons, a fashion social network where users can earn money by sharing looks on the platform’s shoppable feed, it’s prime time to use its social platforms to engage with its community and share coverage of fresh looks and trends from the shows.
When Paris Fashion Week hits, the 21 Buttons feed explodes with inspiration and shoppable looks from influencers, bloggers, and other fashionistas who pack the city and wander the streets before and after shows. (While Ferrah and the rest of the Paris-based team develop new ideas for the social network app and its 14 million users from WeWork Colisée, 21 Buttons is headquartered in WeWork Diagonal 444 in Barcelona, Spain.)
Below, Ferrah shares her tips for staying balanced and well organized during Paris Fashion Week—solid advice for whether you’re attending Fashion Week itself or traversing any city to cover a major industry event.
Divide and conquer
Rather than attend every single show as a group, Ferrah and her team manage their intense schedules by splitting their time efficiently. “Once we’ve had our morning coffee, we divide up the day and split up between shows, campaigns, events, and our day-to-day work,” she says. “It’s a way of being able to attend the shows and be part of the fun, while also managing our everyday tasks and ensuring that our community is being updated as the week goes on.”
Plan your route (and a backup route)
“Before our schedules are confirmed, we map out directions and access to ensure our travel throughout the day is as seamless as possible,” Ferrah explains. With this in mind, she recommends having a backup plan for your travel. Ubers and taxis will no doubt be busy, so it’s important to know your way around a city’s public transportation to help with alternative routes, something Ferrah also acknowledges as a universal tip when traveling for work. Additionally, she suggests comfortable shoes—no heels—and staying up-to-date on travel news regarding possible strikes or traffic that may limit mobility.
Paris Fashion Week isn’t just about the shows: Social media plays a big part in reporting on new collections, industry news, and updates. For Ferrah, staying connected on social media throughout the day is a top priority, and she up-sizes her handbag to hold all the essentials that keep her powered up.
“I carry my portable phone charger with me at all times,” she says. “We use social media platforms like Instagram to share our photos and videos of the catwalks with our community, and without enough power on your phone, you’ll be too late. It’s a constant competition to make sure you’re sharing content as early as possible.”
Make time for self-care
For the team at 21 Buttons in Paris, staying hydrated and energized during Paris Fashion Week is top of mind. According to a report published in 2013 by the University of East London, by drinking enough water every day, people see a 14 percent increase in productivity at work. Ferrah understands the importance of hydration while maintaining her busy schedule.
“We carry water with us wherever we go, and we try to stay clear of champagne at the after-shows. Alcohol can lead to dehydration and cause you to feel tired the next day, and during Fashion Week, tiredness and fatigue will set you back,” she says. Ferrah also recommends keeping a few snacks in your bag that don’t need to be refrigerated, such as energy bars or packets of dried fruit, for when runway show time slots and travel could mean a missed meal.
With a structured schedule and some organization, you’ll find it easier to stay productive, efficient, and energetic during any industry event. And despite the packed calendar, Ferrah reminds herself how fortunate she is to be part of one of the biggest events in her industry.
“We have the chance to be in Paris, the capital of fashion,” she says. “Even though the week can be crazy, enjoy it and have fun—it’s the best time to reconnect with leaders of the market.”
Louisa Green is the regional lead on the EMEA Public Affairs team at WeWork and a writer for Ideas by We. Her work has appeared in various UK publications and Tastemade’s global Snapchat column.