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FASHION WEEK: GLITZ VS GRIND

New York Fashion Week is in full swing, and those who don’t “work the shows” are often in awe of the catwalks, but unaware of what goes on behind the curtain.  I have written about what it takes to put on a show in previous posts, but have never shared the pros and cons of fashion week from a publicist’s perspective.  So, in honor of the fashion industry’s most celebrated 7 days (or so), I will share with you the glitz and the grind of New York Fashion Week…

THE GLITZ

Glitz and Glam…

Fashion shows are glamorous and exciting, no doubt. There is something really special about collaborating with a designer or putting on your own brand’s fashion show after all of the work that goes into making it happen. Between the clothes, models, makeup, hair, notable press (did somebody say Anna Wintour?) and front row celebs, it is obvious why Fashion Week is such a spectacle.  When the lights dim and the music plays and the first model walks into the spotlight, I still get chills.

See and Be Seen…

You will run into editors, friends, fellow publicists, basically almost everyone in the industry that you know during Fashion Week. It is one of the biggest social events of the year in the beauty & fashion industries.  That said, you also make a lot of new connections and expand your social and professional network—always a good thing in PR.

After the Party is the After Party…

Fashion Week is one big party. There are gifting suites, backstage perks, parties galore, and of course, the shows themselves.  If you are a social butterfly, Fashion Week allows you to spread your wings and fly.  There is always an event to go to—never a dull moment, literally.

Backstage Beauty…

As a beauty publicist, Fashion Week is so much fun because your team gets to be their most creative, working with designers to bring their visions to life via hair, makeup and nails.  It is fascinating to watch a model transform and know your brand was part of the transformation.  And there is no place more energetic than backstage. Between the press, models, hair, makeup, photographers, and celebs, backstage is where all the magic happens.

Team Building…

With as many hours as you work on the hundreds of things that need to get done during fashion week, you become an even tighter, well-oiled machine of a team. It is always really rewarding to see my team come together, divide and conquer, and deliver great results during this very hectic week.

THE GRIND

Less Than Fashionable Week…

The bigger shows for the well-known designers are usually large scale productions that cost a lot of money and are held in beautiful venues that accommodate the backstage teams and have plenty of seating for guests. Then there are the other shows… Fashion Week is so scattered around the city and there are so many venues you are running back and forth to and from. A lot of them are small, in basements, in buildings with no elevators, in venues with no circulation, in very cramped spaces, and the list goes on. A lot of the glamour behind fashion week is actually smoke and mirrors. And sometimes, there are literally smoking hot lights and no place to put a mirror.

Working 9 to 5…Yeah right…

Fashion Week often requires LONG days, meaning EARLY call times and LATE night shows. If you work in house and are prepping for your own show, you are working round the clock on booking press, seating, organizing backstage, preparing gift bags, writing your press release and run of show, dressing celebs and VIPS, and so on. If you work at an agency, you may be doing all of those things for multiple clients. Fashion Week often requires less than fashionable weekends and late nights at the office.

Let’s Talk About Stress, Ba-by…

With the laundry list of things to manage for a show, the stress is inevitable. You are on your feet all day, schlepping from one show to the next, possibly skipping meals, and definitely skipping out on enough sleep. All a formula for increased stress. It isn’t always so crazy, but I don’t remember a Fashion Week when I didn’t have at least one day like I just mentioned.

With all this said, Fashion Week is clearly a mix of glitz, glam and grind, so keep that in mind when thinking about breaking into fashion PR. There is a lot of work that goes into each show before you can go play.

Have more questions about the Glitz vs Grind of Fashion Week? Tweet me at @ThePRCloset.

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