Real Talk Vol. 10: A Non-professional In The Fashion World

by mayashaw


I know that by the age of 22 (one year after I graduate) I will be a successful person in the fashion industry. You know why? (caution bragging coming through!) I have done so many things in my two years of college that most people who say they work in the fashion world haven’t even thought of doing.

I chose this topic because I am home in the good ‘ol RVA and I was catching up with my best friend on what our lives have been this semester. She was doing a big pageant and I was doing the usual. She said to me that she knows that I do the coolest things in my life but, secretly. I told her that people who feel the need to boast the experiences they have had or the people they have met are not doing it for themselves they are doing it for others to see, I do everything for myself and my resume.

Its not just me though, the girls I work with do it for themselves too and they will put everything on hold to do an event because that one event could make or break your resume! Our school’s fashion club is filled with some of the most hard working people who will be the future of the fashion industry. The ones who do events all the time and love what they do will be running the events one day.

My experiences with brands, PR reps and actual designers have helped me grow and learn what type of boss I want to be. It has also helped me branch out from just wanting to design clothes but to also tap into PR for brands and design houses.

If you want to work events and meet fashion professionals here are some tips from working backstage at fashion shows, check in desks and networking:

1. Have Fun: This sounds so lame but, honestly if I wasn’t getting a rush from dressing a model in a Reem Acra wedding dress with the actual Reem Acra breathing down my neck and helping me I wouldn’t do it! Life is too short to do something that isn’t fulfilling!

2. Don’t Be Scared: This is very important! Do not be scared to talk to the designer when you see they are free. Of course you shouldn’t bother them but, polity introduce yourself, why you are there and how much you appreciate working for them! Who knows that might be the sound of your foot in the door.

3. BE FAST: Like not just fast but, FASSSSSSST! Dressing models during a fashion show is fucking hard! Everything is so fast you literally get your model dressed in seconds. At the Valentino event a week ago one model had a “quick change” but it was no quick change we had ever seen before they put her right after the person right after her creating absolute mayhem. Now that wasn’t our girls fault that was bad organisation of the models by the backstage team but, hey what can you do get her dressed NOW! ( This may include getting hit in the face!)

4. Stand Your Ground Against Models: The models aren’t shit! I’m sorry. Some of them are very sweet and appreciate you helping them and they take note of that but, others are just jerks! Don’t let a model tell you off, tell her back! I mean professionally please not cat fights.

5.  Don’t Try To Be Perfect: When you are working with a design houses PR team or a PR company don’t try and be overly professional! If they crack a joke laugh, joke back! Compliment them on their banging ass Kirkwoods, tell them they have gorgeous earrings on, laugh about a tv show and just don’t be the girl that blends into the wallpaper! Now, you shouldn’t over do it, don’t be super loud and always talking, know when to stop and to quiet down.

6. Two Deep Breaths and GO!: When I am trying to network my nerves get all worked up and it takes me a while to relax. So before I go to talk with someone I stand in my place, discreetly take a few deep breaths and I go for it!

7. Dealing With Angry VIPers: I hate doing check in’s. You have to be OVERLY nice to people so that they can be kinda nice to you. When dealing with mean people always keep a smile on your face but a strong tone of voice so that they know you are not faded by them and you can easily call security if they have an issue.

8. Getting What You Want: If there is a model you want to work with or a job you know you want at the event, speak on it. When the coordinator ask who will do what job and assigns them you need to actually talk and make eye contact not just raise your hand. This always works for me, I stand in the front, smile while they talk, make eye contact and say ” I’ll do it” and I get the job! Use your words and don’t be scared… they can smell fear.

9. After The Event?: If this was an event you loved to work meaning you loved the PR agency that ran it and the event as a whole met your standards Google it, find out how to contact them and let them know you had a great time! Ask them if they have any career opportunities and get the wheels in motion!

10. Put It On Your Resume!: Do not forget this is the most important part! Even if the event went bad and you embarrassed yourself and fucked everything up, put it on your resume! Your future employer will know nothing about the event and will be impressed that you even did it and how many you have done!

I wish all of you future fashion world runners the best of luck and I hope my advice is helpful (um, that is if you even need it…) or at least entertaining to read!

Photo: Jakandjil