As quickly as it snuck up on us, Fashion Week has left. It happens every season – fashion week comes and goes in the blink of an eye, and we want to be able to share a bit of the madness that we experience with you. Through our posts, you get a chance to hear about the collections, but with the instantaneous nature of the Internet, you can easily watch the shows and follow along yourself. What I want to share is what it’s really like to be part of the industry and at the shows. Amanda has covered a behind-the-scenes look before, and now I want to share a Fashion Week postmortem.
1. It’s work, a lot of work. People forget that while the fashion industry is made out to be glamorous, and movies like Devil Wears Prada tell the audience that “everybody wants to be us”, this is a job. The majority of people who attend shows are there for work, to watch the show and report on it to their respective outlets, plan editorial shoots or plot what department stores and boutiques will stock on their shelves. The shows are crazy packed, and there is a lot of time spent moving from venue to venue and trying to get to your seat. The Internet gives everyone immediate access to the majority of the shows, so we have to worry about how we’ll report on something everyone has already seen.
2. It’s exhausting. It seems like I’m complaining, and I don’t mean to, but Fashion Week really is tiring. On the morning of Day 5, it typically hits me, and it hits me hard. We go all day everyday, with shows every hour followed by lunch meetings and dinner parties and after-parties. Most people are running on very little sleep, and Day 5 is also when everyone becomes cranky. Mix cranky people with hungry people (so many fashion people are on a diet at all times), and now you’ve got a whole lot of attitudes in a relatively small venue together. On top of that, the lack of sleep makes everyone more susceptible to illness – what people not-so-affectionally call the “fashion week flu” runs rampant.
3. Being a model isn’t easy. No, I am not a model, but being backstage at shows and able to watch their run-thrus and see them in action has shown me their lives aren’t all rainbows and butterflies. Yes, they are blessed with great genes that make them freakishly tall and thin, but they have to work at it. These girls are under scrutiny at all times to look a certain way. At the end of a stressful day of shows, I plop on my couch at home and order in a carb-filled dinner with a massive dessert – models don’t generally have that luxury.
Also, almost no models are paid like Heidi Klum or Karlie Kloss. Many girls aren’t paid much (if anything), but much is expected of them. They go from one casting call to the next hoping to be chosen so that maybe their star will rise and they’ll start commanding bigger checks. They wear uncomfortable clothes for many shows but the shoes? These girls are put in some of the most uncomfortable shoes, which often aren’t anywhere close to the right size, they’re expected to walk in front of thousands of people and photographers as if they’re in a pair of slippers. Us normals like to pretend being a model is easy, it’s not.
4. Sometimes I feel more like I’m at the circus than Fashion Week. I’ve not been in the industry that long, but I understand why fashion vets are annoyed with the new blogging world. Each season, the amount of “photographers” that wait outside the tents and venues multiples, as does the number of bloggers and other randoms desperately trying to be photographed. You know the pictures you see of people wearing the most random, awkward, and uncomfortable looking outfits? Well, those people don’t just randomly get snapped, they are TRYING to get photographed, as often as possible. In fact, they walk around quite slowly and talk their friends and boyfriends into taking their photos in hopes of tricking the real photographers into thinking they’re noteworthy.
Once you get in the tents, it doesn’t end. It’s just more photographers and more people begging to be photographed. This continues happening right up until the show begins, and it makes navigating the venue and enjoying the experience frustrating. Trust me, most editors I speak to despise this part of fashion week. Generally, we talk about it while we’re corralled behind barricades, waiting to be let into the next space. It’s kind of like being cattle.
5. We complain, but the majority of us know how lucky we are. I’d be lying if I said there aren’t times I want to pinch myself. Growing up, I had no idea that I’d be in the high-paced and extravagant fashion industry. In fact I spent my college days pre-med. Now it’s my life and I consider myself extremely lucky. I won’t deny it, the shows are fun. When a designer invites you to a show it is an honor; he or she is sharing his or her hard work with you and hopes to have you share it with others. Watching well-known models strut the catwalk in designer wares in the same room as high-powered fashion editors and celebrities will never gets old for me.