What It's Actually Like to Work at NYFW

As a fashion student, being told you get to jump on a plane and fly to New York Fashion Week has to go down as one of the greatest days of school. Ever.

We spoke to a handful of lucky students from The Fashion Institute in Sydney, who got to travel to the other side of the world to witness what goes into producing a world-class show.

In the fashion industry, hands-on experience is vital. Learning what goes into putting together a runway production—from PR to styling and model castings—it is the best way to get a true understanding of what it’s all about. Not to mention, a great way to make contacts and get ahead.

Keep scrolling as four students describe what it was like to work on the Dion Lee, TOME, Karen Walker and Rachel Comey shows.

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Dion Lee

WHAT: Dion Lee S/S 16

Bronwyn Silsby got to hang out with Dion Lee in the lead up to his show. Here's what she had to say.

Assisting Dion Lee didn’t seem real until I walked into the showroom and was greeted by him and some reassuring Australian accents.

Everyone was so welcoming and calm—there was definitely no running around or diva antics like you might expect backstage before a major fashion show.

I was helping with the model castings and fittings—organising the shoes, managing alterations and running errands for the team (sneakers = essential!).

On show day, it was all about making sure backstage was running as smoothly as possible. What does prep involve? Making sure each model had their station with their full looks organised (sounds simple, but can you even imagine if I missed something?).

So what was it actually like to work at NYFW? Crazy. The eruption of cheers and clapping backstage after the models did their final walk is something I’ll always remember.

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TOME

WHAT: TOME S/S 16

Elena Hong got to go behind the scenes with Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of TOME before their show.

I spent a few days with the team at TOME helping prepare before their show with mood boards, errands and model fittings. So. Many. Model. Fittings.

How was show day? Overwhelming. It was all happening, and it was all happening at once. Getting looks organised and models dressed sounds like a pretty easy task, but when there is so many people involved, plus media backstage snapping pics, it can get pretty hectic.

What I learnt was that it's important to be surrounded by true professionals. TOME had the best team on board. Everyone stayed calm, composed and got the job done. I think if that weren’t the case, things could definitely turn pear shaped!

Oh, and nothing really tops the celeb spotting. Solange Knowles in the flesh? Day made.

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Karen Walker

WHAT: Karen Walker S/S 16

Georgia Collins spent time with New Zealand brand Karen Walker.

Backstage at Karen Walker = frantic. Cameras were constantly flashing and everyone was pumped with adrenaline.

Karen was involved in everything. Along with the stylist, they checked every model before she walked out.

I never realised how much work goes into a runway show and learnt so much being part of the process from start to finish. The most surprising part was it took three days of trying looks on models until the line-up was perfected.

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Rachel Comey

WHAT: Rachel Comey S/S 16

Nakisah Williams lent a hand to a Rachel Comey—a show that was a little different to the rest.

Unlike the fast-paced nature of many NYFW shows, the vibe at Rachel Comey was serene. On the outside, anyway. For the show this season, guests were treated to a three-course meal before the first look even hit the floor. A slow start to the night set the mood as relaxed. Backstage though was less relaxation and more hurried panic. With models only in one look each, once they were dressed we could kick back (kinda) and enjoy the excited tension in the air.

The noise right before the lights dim is always the best part of working at a show and here in New York, that experience is escalated.