It's been three days since I've last stepped foot in the Stewart Hotel, the venue where New York Fashion Week was hosting its Fashion Gallery season. From the 5th to the 8th, I've managed to accumulate 812 Instagram boomerangs, work 50-plus hours, sleep for a total of 16 hours, drink three cups of coffee, eat seven meals, spend eight hours and 45 minutes in transit, and have one mental breakdown (yes, only one).
From what I've experienced, the biggest thing I've learned is this: NEW YORK FASHION WEEK IS NOT SOMETHING TO TAKE LIGHTLY. The (literal) blood, sweat, and tears that have been put into countless seasons of shows tend to go unnoticed by the greater group of fashion lovers. Volunteering as a social media staff member for the recent 2019 Spring Summer Fashion Gallery shows made me understand how much more mindful we should be when it comes to the work that's put behind running a show.
The countless hours spent gathering all the necessary people, as well as setting up the venue, and coordinating before, during, and after the shows goes relatively unnoticed to those simply seeing the show. However, with my inside look at just how New York Fashion Week truly runs behind the scenes, I'll let you decide your take on the show as an art form in all of its entirety.
1. It takes four hours to prep for a 12-minute show.
And that's not even including the months it takes to plan venue halls and what team members are needed. In the course of four hours, models get fitted for their outfits, get their nails, hair, and makeup done, practice walking down the runway, got dressed in their outfits, walk the runway, perform quick changes backstage, walk a final walk, and hurry back to the beauty room to do it all over again for the next upcoming show.
2. There were four total teams of volunteers and even then, prep time was hectic.
I was a part of the Social Media team, but there were also PR, Production, and Dressing/Styling teams. People from PR frantically seated guests, making sure not to misdirect anyone to the wrong seat. Production ran back and forth from the beauty room to the back kitchen, making sure the food and drinks were stocked for the models and beauty team to enjoy. Dressing/Styling made sure no models were walking with two left heels, and Social Media quite literally took photos and videos from E V E R Y aspect of the day.
3. Sleeping and eating was nonexistent.
Surprisingly enough, the combination of espresso and sheer adrenaline from running the show keeps your hunger at bay. I was lucky enough to sneak in a single meal during the entire time I was working there, and an additional meal before bed. Sleep wasn't exactly in my favor, as the call times were early and the show times were long. There was one night where, by the time I was done working the after-party and I headed home to eat and shower, I was in bed by 3:35 a.m., setting my alarm for 4:00 a.m. in order to make the 5:45 a.m. call time. Like they say, "If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late. If you're late, you're too late." Spoiler alert, I literally could not sleep 25 minutes and ended up working out a later call time with my coordinator - Andrea, you are a Godsend.
4. I got to work hand-in-hand with famous designers, models, photographers, and everyone else in between the fashion scene.
I'll be honest and say my knowledge in the fashion world is limited, and I'm not too aware as to who is who. However, when you get to watch Ebonee Davis or Miss Haiti walk out onto the runway, their sheer presence alone will let you know exactly who they are. Despite working with the models and the clothing four hours prior, the awe that comes with seeing them finally walk out onto the runway is unlike anything I've ever experienced - I fell in love with the outfits, hair, and makeup all over again.
5. The networking is phenomenal.
Working on the social media team allowed me to get in contact with the models, makeup artists, and anyone else that was involved in the photos and videos I took. During Joy Kimono's show, apparently my boomerangs caught the attention of her assistant, who claimed I "knew exactly when to shoot at the perfect angle" - sure enough, I was summoned by Joy herself and she ended up following my Instagram to continue seeing my content!
6. You gain respect for the people working the show, as well as the show itself.
If you weren't a hard worker, you weren't present. The true dynamic of working New York Fashion Week relied on just how much one could get done in a short amount of time. Sitting around was not an option, gossiping was not an option, and not doing your job was clearly not an option either. The harsh reality of it though, is that this is exactly the kind of system that New York Fashion week needs in order to run as it should - the show doesn't need the people who won't take it seriously enough. And so, for the people who DID stick around, and the people who DID take it seriously enough, it was one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences being able to be a part of the show in its entirety.
7. You admire the people you work with.
Words can't describe how thankful I am for being paired with the team members I was lucky enough to work with. So many of the members came from different states, backgrounds, social media presences, schools, and lifestyles. Being under the same team made us all put our differences aside and work together as one in order to get the show going.
Follow @aniqaaxo on Instagram to see the rest of my behind-the-scenes FGNYFW content!