I’ve worked somewhere within the fashion industry for nine-plus years now—be it digging through endless clothing samples as a fashion assistant or writing copy for hours on end as an editor. While the glamour of NYFW had long since worn off—after covering 10 shows in one day without so much as time to pause to grab a sandwich for fear of missing the next—I never fully grasped the intense prep that happened before the “boot camp” of the actual week.
I had an idea of how much needed to go into each show or presentation, I just didn’t realize how fashion week actually came to fruition in the mere days and hours before the shows began. This season, I received a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse thanks to various job opportunities, and all I could do was sympathize with the entire group (including makeup artists, hairstylists, models, and designers) that somehow pulls off an extremely expensive and stressful runway performance—an event that lasts all of ten minutes at most.
When it comes to catwalkers, the city is inundated with lithe lookalikes a couple of weeks before the first show begins so that castings can get underway. Castings as it seems, are not so glamorous. Unless you’re a Kendall or Gigi, you spend your entire day trekking from location to location, to simply hand a model card to someone (who often barely says hello) and then get a mere second to show off your walk before you’re asked to leave. At one casting, I witnessed at least 15 models crammed into a room waiting to be seen for over two hours late at night—the show was scheduled to take place the very next morning, and many of the girls simply ended up bailing in an attempt to book other jobs.
One model I spoke to (who was furious, I might add) had been there since early afternoon and was asked to stay as the designer’s fit model. She was only later told that she wasn’t actually booked for the show. She stayed for seven hours that day, missing countless other castings, and was ultimately turned down in the end.