Hello my fellow readers,
If you have been following my blog and Instagram for the past couple of years, you are aware of one of my favorite categories on the blog: NYFW Street Style. Every season, I shoot street style just because I find it inspiring, quirky, and different, however, this season, I was not able to shoot it. Due to the constant movement of the venues nowadays, it is difficult to catch attention grabbers because they are scattered all over Manhattan. Whether they were in Downtown for Lacoste show, or uptown for the Kate Spade presentation, it has become challenging for me to travel and photograph them while it’s snowing, and I had school and work to attend to. Although I was not able to catch the fabulous and attention seeking starlets, I did manage to get my hands-on experience behind the scenes.
Here’s the thing: fashion week is not all glitz and glamour. It is often nerve-wrecking, last-minute preparations that include stressed designers, late models, and some unexperienced yet willing-to-learn volunteers. Fortunately, being a resident in the city allowed me to participate in two shows, one of which was not as great as the other.
My first ever fashion week experience was previously documented here on the blog. I volunteered behind the scenes at the Sherri Hill show. My first fashion week volunteering opportunity will never be forgotten because it was beautiful, exciting, and fun. However, not every fashion show is like that.
I am lucky enough to be attending a fashion school, which usually offers plenty opportunities for fashion students to attend and volunteer at fashion shows. One of those opportunities came from a fellow student, who posted about a volunteering possibility at a fashion show, however, it was not a part of the actual fashion week; it was a part of CMG Fashion Week.
One thing to know about fashion week in NYC is this: there is the actual fashion week, and then there are a couple of other fashion weeks that are happening at the same time, but are more accessible to the public and usually, don’t have all of the famous names. I call those fashion weeks “faux fashion weeks,” or more appropriately, “quiet fashion weeks.” Don’t get me wrong-I am not saying they are fake by saying “faux,” or of a bad quality; they are just not what people usually know of.
Yet, every fashion week needs a volunteer. I signed up to be a backstage assistant at CMG Fashion Week, which was an one-day event during the same time frame as the actual New York Fashion Week. But, not everything goes as smoothly as one would like for it to.
From what I have experienced during every Fall/Winter season, the weather is poor. It could be sunny and warm outside right before the beginning of the fashion season, however, as soon as it starts, the weather does a 180 degree change. Of course, the weather causes flight delays, absences of people, etc. That Saturday, because of a lack of hairstylists due to cancelled flights, I went from a backstage assistant to a hairstylist.
Here’s a little fact: I am not a hairstylist in any case. I do not know how to professionally style hair. My skills are limited to curling hair with both, a curling iron and a straightener (thanks YouTube), straightening it, braiding it, and trimming bangs (usually, my own). Yet, I am in no case a professional hair stylist. Because no one was available to do hair, I volunteered to help out. I didn’t have any supplies, but thanks to a couple prepared makeup artists working the show, I was able to get my hands on a straightener, a couple of pins and bobby pins, a hair brush, and a travel-size can of hairspray. You gotta work with what you have! (Funny enough, I was named the winner of “The Eventful Stylist 101” & “2017 Travel Award” category.)
Long story short, the show began. To be quite honest with you, the designs were not the best, and the fabric…The fabric was, to say the least, poor. I am not a fashion critic yet; however, thankfully to my intelligent and educated mother, I know things about fashion. Trust my judgement when I tell you that the shows that happened on that day were a mess.
However, I was fortunate enough to gain another volunteer work at a fashion show that happened on Friday after fashion week. This time around, it was the same concept: several shows shown in one day, all a part of one fashion week that is not really the fashion week. But, these shows were worthy of one’s time. I volunteered for Minika Ko, a brand started by Minika Ko, who is a talented designer, and certainly, has a creative approach to using fabrics, as well as setting themes within the collection.
Although the backstage work is usually stressful, this time around, everyone was calm. Volunteers, hairstylists, makeup artists, even photographers found their peace. The only moments of quick stress where the ones when the volunteers, including myself, had to change the models in order for them to be ready for the runway. Yet, even that didn’t stop many of us to lose our zen. Believe it or not, this show went smoothly, with no interruptions and only happy faces on both, us and the audience.
New York Fashion Week is not just glitz and glamour. It’s a lot of work. Hard, dedicated behind-the-scenes and 15-hours-in-the-studio types of work. However, the product designers deliver to the table can be drastically different. It could be groundbreaking; the most beautiful and high quality garment you have ever seen in your entire life, or it could be a big mess of a collection. As a volunteer for various types of shows and products, I will say that I am grateful for every experience, no matter what it is. Every single experience can teach me something, and every experience can give me something to learn from. Thus, I am grateful for every single one of them, and I am more than happy to share them with you, my fellow readers.
Thank you for reading this lengthy post, and have a good Wednesday.
Photography by Sophia Ostapenko, Michael Rose and 120 Photo
Sophia for Fashion Caption.