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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2012: What Happened to the Swag Bag?

Past MBFW press bags

NEW YORK, Feb 17, 2012/ — With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week ending yesterday, journalists and other fashion week habitués have one burning question – WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PRESS BAG?

Generically, we call it a swag bag because it usually contains gift items from the fashion week sponsors, the items ranging from umbrellas, garment bag, books, power bars, travel kits, even an iron one time. Yet, the biggest haul is THE BAG itself because of its usefulness and sentimental value.

Through the years of attending New York fashion week, I have actually accumulated a nice collection of the press bags. I use them as regular handbag or a weekend bag, depending on its size. Sometimes, they even function as a gym bag. The press bag presents to me a continuing fashion experience even after the event had been over a long time.

So, when it was announced during the last few days of the Fall 2012 New York season that there were not going to be any press bags, I was surprised, even shocked and I was not alone.

Reactions ranged from a shrug of the shoulder to an outright, “No, you’ve got to be kidding,” to “Huh? They can’t do that. It’s a New York tradition.”

Well, they did! IMG, organizers of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week deemed that press bags are not necessary or if the rumors are true, it is too much mired into sponsors’ politics, it’s not worth the trouble to have them.

Rumor has it that sponsors (those who are inside the Lincoln Center) are upset that the press bags get more attention than them who are paying a mint to be inside the Lincoln Center for the whole of fashion week.

And quite frankly, they have a point, but it is actually THEIR FAULT. Well, some are worthwhile to remember like Tresemme, Maybelline, DHL and Pepsi, but the rest are forgettable unless of course you are Mercedes-Benz who is the title sponsor or American Express who sits in the center of the venue.

You see, some of the sponsors inside the tents at Lincoln Center are sometimes downright snobbish, even unapproachable at times. A great example, wherein I don’t even remember the name of the sponsor except that it sits between the VIP lounge and the little café is so unwelcoming that you don’t even feel like going in.

It refuses to have chairs or a place to sit inside their booth hence no one would go there. A place to seat is at a premium inside the tents, something that journalists and fashion week attendees have been harping on for years but have fallen on deaf ears.

Fashion week is a series of being on your feet 85% of the time. You only sit when you are watching the fashion show ( if you have a seated assignment) while the rest of the time, you are falling in line for your tickets or in line go get inside the venue.

Hence, in between shows, people need a place to sit and they look for it; so those places which have chairs or sofas are always full of people and everyone remembers. No chairs in your booth, no one goes there.

Second thing to consider is internet access. Since the advent of smartphones and tablets, there is a constant need of Wi-Fi. And, there are not enough lines available inside the tent. Oh yes, you can see the wireless networks from the sponsors – American Express, Pepsi, Maybelline, Tresemme – but you cannot connect to them.

IMG provides internet access and that’s where everyone connects, but during busy times, you cannot even connect to it. So, if a sponsor wants to be remembered, provide accessible Wi-Fi and you will be everyone’s hero inside the tent.

[MARI DAVIS]