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Adam Selman New York Fashion Week show
Models backstage at the Adam Selman AW15 show at NYFW

How much would you pay for a Fashion Week ticket?

With New York hit by fashion show ticket scalpers, we investigate if you can buy your way into LFW

We've all bought scalped tickets to gigs and festivals, but would you buy a scalped ticket to NYFW? That's the question Gawker raises in a new feature about the "strange underworld of Fashion Week scalpers". This season, fashion journalists, PR people and brand employees were reportedly flogging show invites on Craigslist and marketplace apps like Shout, with asking prices going between $180 and $1,300. Tickets for Alexander Wang, Michael Kors and Kanye West's show for adidas were all up for grabs. 

One anonymous scalper claimed that he had made $2,000 over the past two seasons from selling NYFW passes. "The customers I have are losers who don't deserve to attend," he sneers. "They spend money to get something other people work hard for." Paper editorial director Mickey Boardman compared turning up with a scalped ticket to "crashing someone's wedding. It's not horrifyingly wrong, but it's rude".

People have been trying to crash fashion shows since the first caveman knocked together a runway made of Paleolithic boulders. But what's new about the NYFW scalping phenomenon is just how easy the whole process is. You might have had to sniff around for a spare invite in the past – maybe lean on a contact at a brand or pretend to be a clipboard-waving intern  – but thanks to the internet, now anybody can google and purchase "Fashion Week ticket".

But is this just a NYFW phenomenon or has scalping spread across the pond to the UK? Sophie McElligott, the PR manager for the British Fashion Council told Dazed that "nothing like that has happened" at London Fashion Week – at least, not to her knowledge. McElligott says that the relatively smaller size of the London fashion industry means that people would be wary of scalping tickets. If someone was caught scalping tickets, they would risk getting blacklisted. 

But a quick look at Shout, Gumtree and Craigslist does turn up scalped tickets, though nowhere near as many as US sites. At the time of publication, there was a grand total of three pairs of LFW tickets for sale on Gumtree: one to Christopher Raeburn's runway show, another to Bora Aksu and the third to Eudon Choi. All three sellers state that the tickets were won through a Vodafone social media competition.

Vodafone told us that this was the first time it had heard of the listings and said the company would look into taking action against competition winners. "The T&Cs do say that the tickets are non-transferrable," a rep for the company told us.

So is LFW a closed circle to outsiders hoping to get in on a scalped ticket? A source from Cornucopia Events told us that you can get front row to any show you want – as long as you front major cash. The company has been described as "the world's leading full-service events and entertainment brand". Basically, it's one of the many incredibly pricey concierge services that promises access to glitzy invite-only events around the world: the Oscars, the Brits, the Grammys… and Fashion Week.

"Members of the public can buy access to LFW," the source told us. "There are people out there with obscene amounts of money and they are looking for new and exciting ways to spend that money… In the lead-up to every single Fashion Week there is, I'll get an obscene amount of inquiries."

The difference between this service and New York's scalpers? Apparently, the designer is usually in on it. "We often get permission from the designers, who give us access directly to sell on." He adds that if his client was a "Russian billionaire who is willing to spend loads of money to secure a front seat…. Often, the huge sum is so attractive that the designer will do it."

This allegedly doesn't just apply to smaller cash-strapped designers who might be swayed by the financial boost – it includes big names at Paris, Milan, New York and London. "None of the designers would be excluded from this." That might mean bumping someone off the FROW or reshuffling the seating, but the cash reportedly involved more than makes up for pissing an errant fashion editor. "It would be minimum £5,000 for a good seat. Front row could be anything from £100,000."

So will LFW start getting invaded by the hoi polloi? Only if you count Russian oligarchs as the common people. If you want to get front row seats to LFW, it's best to do it the good old fashioned way: either work your way up the invite ladder or flirt your way past security.