Marissa Webb - Backstage - Spring 2016 MADE Fashion WeekAs a fashion student living in New York City, attending the shows at New York Fashion Week was always a dream for me. The beauty, the clothing, the people—everything just seemed so fresh and exhilarating.

But, the thing about New York Fashion Week is that a majority of the shows and presentations aren’t open to the public. Unless you’re an ever-so-popular fashion blogger, a fashion editor or someone else super cool and trendy, chances are you aren’t getting in. The way I looked at it, the only way I was getting into the shows at Fashion Week was to be someone with a following like such but I knew there was no way that would happen in college.

I also considered volunteering for NYFW. This has some pros and cons. I could be at the shows, seeing all the backstage madness and watching how the show is actually pulled together, but this just wasn’t doing it for me. Maybe I’m just spoiled, but I didn’t love the idea of w​orking at the shows. I wanted to be in the audience.

(Related: Someone Please Explain Men’s Fashion Week To Me, Because I’m Honestly A Bit Confused)

As any d​esperate ambitious college student would, I decided to dig deeper and find a way in. After searching through dozens of internship websites looking for a description that sounded like more observation than physical work, I was ready to give up. Until one day resort popped into my head—Craigslist.

When I first told my friends that Craigslist was the way I got into NYFW, they laughed it off and didn’t believe me until I showed them the listing. Normally, when you think of Craigslist, you associate the website with creepy missed connections and people selling bedbug­-infested mattresses. I honestly didn’t think anything would come of the site, but I took a chance and typed “fashion” into the “gig” search area.

Much to my surprise, h​undreds​—yes, hundreds—of results came up. People were looking for everything from people to dress models to photography interns and literally everything in between. Since I wanted to view the shows like I was someone way cooler than I actually am, I looked for more of a “blogging” position and was happy to come across the perfect listing.

The listing was created by a woman who was apparently some important blogger and got invited to all the good shows from Mara Hoffman to Jil Stuart. Unfortunately, life happened and she wasn’t able to make it into the city for Fashion Week and literally just needed someone to fill her seat and report back about what they saw, which was exactly what I was looking for.

I don’t think I’ve ever sent an email so quickly. I was so nervous that someone would have replied to the listing before I did, but luckily, she emailed right back. Of course, it wasn’t paid, but hell, I was going to fashion week.

She sent through her schedule and forwarded all her tickets. At first, I thought I’d be attending the shows of random, under-the-radar designers, but she had tickets to some of the hottest shows of the week and they weren’t in the back row either (#humblebrag). Many of the shows had me seated in the second, third or fourth row and I even had the pleasure of sitting in the front row a few times as well.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I really checked her out, her website, her work, etc. just to make sure that I wasn’t going to get played like some people on Craigslist do. But, I figured the fact that I never met her in person said a lot. What was the worst that could happen? I’d get turned away at the door? I probably would have done that without her anyways.

You never know until you try, right? Maybe that should be Craigslist’s new slogan.

(Photo: Getty/Mireya Acierto)