From the outside, New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is an exciting, event-packed week full of fashion, art, and expression. For a model, it is the utmost craziest week of the year.
Watch behind-the-scenes highlights from this year's NYFW with design platform Flying Solo and award-winning event/fashion incubator The Nolcha Shows:
It all starts the week before Fashion Week. We spend all day, every day, traveling up and down the city, attending castings and fittings–looking to be seen–just to get a chance to walk for one of the hundreds of designers in NYFW.
In order to book a show, you must first attend the casting. During any other time of the year, castings are simple: you arrive during your allotted timeframe, hand the casting director a “comp card” (a card with your name, agency, photo, and measurements), take a few pictures, and you leave. NYFW castings, on the other hand, are often “open-call.” In other words, any signed model can join the lineup. Hundreds of models from all over the world fly to New York City to wait in a three-hour line (which often wraps around the corner of the building), just to get their foot in the door.
Once you make it to the front, you walk.
You can usually tell if a designer wants you for their show. If they like you, they’ll ask about your availability, take your picture, and maybe even throw in a compliment. Otherwise, they’ll hardly look up from their clipboard and scream “NEXT” before you’ve finished your walk. Although there is a competitive nature instilled in the whole process, after the first hour or so of waiting, you find yourself bonding with the models around you, which inevitably builds a positive, encouraging support system. It’s a surreal experience, to say the least.
Although it hardly seems worth it–the waiting, the preparation, the walking–just to get judged based on something as superficial as appearance, I must admit there is so much more to NYFW than looks. It’s the one week where creatives of all forms come together to express themselves through fashion.
Out of all the castings you attend, you’re likely to get booked for at least one show. And then comes the fun. You attend fittings prior to the show. It's there that the designer decides which model wears what, depending on measurements, style, and sometimes (if you’re lucky) which outfit you like best. It’s kind of like a chaotic version of dress-up. There are half-naked models everywhere–running across the room, trying on extravagant pieces, earrings, accessories, and 6-inch heels–all in preparation for show day, which is a whole other chaotic trip in itself. Then comes the makeup, the hair, the nails, the last minute touch-ups, the backstage photo shoots, different product sponsorships, the dress-rehearsal, and finally, the show.
The one common word to describe the whole week is “crazy.” But let me tell you, the feeling of adrenaline that shoots through your veins when you strut down the runway makes the whole experience worth it.
For more information on NYFW, visit nyfw.com or follow @nyfw on Instagram. To learn more about Flying Solo, visit flyingsolo.nyc or follow @flyingsolonyc on Instagram. For more on The Nolcha Shows and this season's spotlighted designers, visit nolchashows.com or follow @nolchashows on Instagram.
Featured image: Models on the runway at NYFW. (C) Ren Haas / Honeysuckle Media, Inc.