(Original photo via missapril1956's flickr)

Brad and Christian

The fashion set is primed to take over parts of the city from September 8th through the 15th, with the main Fashion Week headquarters at Lincoln Center once again. Many of the shows and events will be harder to get in to than an Alexander McQueen exhibit, but here are some tips for us common folk who aren't sitting in the front row, from those who are.

We'll keep this series going all week, and our first guide is Brad Walsh—singer/producer/jewelry designer/designer Christian Siriano's boyfriend (follow his week on Twitter, and see him deejay the Ugg store on Madison Avenue this Thursday for Fashion's Night Out).

Who will be the big buzz names at Fashion Week? The only buzz name I can think of is Christian Siriano. Are there any other designers showing this season?

How can the non-connected get in to shows? What should they see? Well, as fun as going to fashion shows is, they're not really for the "non-connected." The shows are for editors, buyers, clients, critics, etc. Mostly people in the business, and people who have an impact on the brand. The after parties and events, however, are often easy enough to attend, and they're where you're more likely to have fun. But usually, I think, someone who is not connected in any way to the fashion industry or the brand itself can most likely only get into an actual show if they are a "connected" person's guest. Seating the shows is probably one of the most hectic things I've ever seen happen, and the production companies that handle that stuff are very no-nonsense! I will say, though, if you want to go see some shows and don't have a specific "in," you should look to smaller brands and/or off-site (away from Lincoln Center) shows; you may have an easier time gaining access to some of them. It all lies with the PR company handling the guestlist. But by all means, go for the gold! It can't hurt to try! And failing access, don't be afraid of dressing up fabulously and hanging around the tents. Fashion people are always looking to befriend the next shiny person.

What to wear: Can you put a budget Fashion Week outfit together for us? If you're on a budget and looking to put together some good outfits for fashion week, I think Zara is your best friend, for men in addition to women. It's hard to find well-fitting, interesting clothes at any price if you're a guy these days because so much menswear that's not high-end is being played SO safe for fear of not selling en masse, but Zara's price is right and they usually have a lot of things that interest me. Though I will say that often their women's clothing veers a bit too heavily into knockoff country, which normally pisses me right off, but for some reason I just can't stay mad at Zara. Also of course, secondhand stores often have great finds if you dig deep enough. I love Tokio 7 in the East Village and About Glamour in Williamsburg.

What up and coming NYC designers will we be hearing about? I think we'll mostly be hearing about Christian Siriano. Is there anyone else to hear about?

Is the Williamsburg Fashion Weekend stuff worth checking out? I think all fashion shows are worth checking out, if you're interested in fashion! In any city, really. If someone's gone through the trouble of putting on a show and inviting people to see it, which is most often very expensive to do, then they care about their art. And people who care about their art are the people whose art I want to see. And who doesn't love to watch new things debut? I find it very exciting, even if I don't particularly like the clothes. If you're not a critic, and if seeing shows isn't your job, then I say take in all you can and have fun doing it. Artists of all kinds just want to interest the watcher.