How To Survive Fashion Week
Fashion week is a big deal in the industry but it is also a lot of fun. If you have the opportunity to try out for a fashion I really recommend you go for it.
As a general rule fashion shows do not pay very well (there are exceptions) but during a fashion week if you book enough shows you can potentially get a good payment for that week. Some agencies will not pay you until the client has paid them and so you can wait a few months or more before getting your money.
Fashion week is one of the best opportunities to hang out with and meet a lot of other models, its almost a social event even! It can also be great for exposure and therefore getting you more work in the future. The key positions in a show for exposure usually are; opening the show, closing the show and wearing one of the key pieces of the collection. They will most likely draw the most attention and your exposure could be greater than the other positions in the lineup.
Nearly every major city has a fashion week/festival annually. So there are ample opportunities to try out for a fashion week if you adhere to the height requirements (minimum height is often 5'8'' or 173cm).
Behind the scenes at fashion week can be absolutely mental, people running around rushing to get something done last minute for a show. If you book a lot of shows in the week then you may be busy running from one show to the next and you really want to be as prepared as you can be. Being prepared and packing a fantastic model kit for the week will make such a big difference and having a reputation for being well prepared is always a good thing.
Casting For Fashion Week.
The castings for a fashion week are usually about a month before the shows. They mainly consist of doing a runway walk in front of casting directors or clients/designers and the client will decide if your style of walk suits their brand. Castings can either be all in one or you will have to cast with each client.
EXAMPLE. In Perth the castings for TPFF (Telstra Perth Fashion Festival) are held roughly a month or so before the shows and are done in two rounds. The initial casting is one afternoon when a board of judges sit in a room and ALL the models from all different agencies will cast one by one. (Usually in order of agency). The Round 2 casting is for the models who made it through the first casting, this time some designers will watch them walk and the number or models will be cut down again.
In Sydney, each model has to attend a separate casting for each designer for the fashion week. Some castings are open call and others will be by request. Sometimes you can have up to 10 castings a day, and castings run for 2-4 weeks leading up to fashion week.
- Train like a beast. I recommend starting to exercise and get as lean and toned as you can, a month before the casting. In markets where there are a lot of other models there will be heaps of competition and you will need to look your best to stand out from the crowd and book a sufficient number of shows.
- Get your beauty sleep. Try to get as much deep sleep as you can the week before. It is not uncommon for models to have really long days during fashion week (6am-12am), and if you are not well rested before you start you may become extremely exhausted very quickly.
- Stock your handbag. I like to takea really big bag or a backpack to all my shows, I stock it up with everything I am going to need for the week. Try to take everything you will need for the day as you usually cannot exit until the show is finished and you may have few breaks between shows.
- Pack water and snacks every morning. Sadly catering at shows can be a bit hit and miss. If you have any dietary requirements then you may have trouble finding something to eat that suits you. Also shows are notoriously under-catered which means if they put the food out while you are in hair/makeup, by the time you finish there may be nothing left. There is often only catering once or twice if you are lucky, per day. If you are working 6am-12am then you will not be fed well enough on that food alone.
- Make Plans. You want to organise yourself before you embark on your exciting week. Make sure you have the details for all your shows and that you know how you will get to and from each one of them. If you are catching public transport know what times you will be catching them. If you are driving, know where you will be parking. Turning up late before a show tends to have a lot of backlash from clients. Always be at least 15 minutes early to all your fittings and castings - clients will likely be impressed with your professionalism.
During Fashion Week.
- Ask for help. Just finished your last show of the day and you have your hair tied with elastic by the hairstylists? Ask them to remove it for you before you leave. Getting it out at home could be a bit risky if you don't have anyone at home to do it for you. Also don't be afraid to ask the makeup artists or hair stylists for the best way to remove something once you get home, they will likely have the best tips to removing the gems stuck to your face or the backcombing in your hair.
- Bring your backpack. Don't forget to bring your bag full on all the things you will need for each day. Stock up on water, snacks and anything else you have used during the day so you are ready for the next.Read my post on How to Prepare for a Fashion Show for a list of what to pack in your bag as well as a checklist for how to prepare the night before a Fashion show and other things to take note of.
- Be sure to remove your makeup each night and wash your hair so that you are clean and fresh for the next days shows and you can have a little bit more time to sleep in the morning. It will be harder to get out the crimping or backcombing after you have slept on it. When removing my makeup I like to use a 'makeup eraser', its this nifty little pink microfibre cloth that when saturated with warm water - removes ALL your makeup. It is my favourite thing right now. It's so easy to use that theres no excuse not to take off your makeup before bed. Best of all it doesn't smudge your mascara all over your face-goodbye panda eyes! It is also suitable for sensitive skin types because it doesn't need any soaps or cleansers. You can get it in Australia here.
- Be professional. It's easy to get a bit excited backstage before a show and goof around with the other models, we are all guilty of that. It is still important to remain respectful and professional before, during and after shows. If you are immature your agency could receive complaints. Professional models are more likely to get chosen to model in the next fashion week and their reputations are upheld. PLEASE NOTE: Most designers want to keep the suspense before a show. If you take any photos or selfies while backstage DO NOT SHARE THEM until AFTER the show. I have known models to be pulled from shows and Fashion weeks altogether for posting spoiler alerts on instagram. This matter is taken very seriously, when in doubt always ask a designer BEFORE uploading anything!
- Be Thoughtful. If you don't like the outfit you are wearing, be sure to keep an open mind. Making jokes or insulting the garment could upset the designer and they have put a lot of time, money and effort into their collections. If you have nothing nice to say then don't say anything at all.
- Speak Up. If you are uncomfortable being topless be sure to let the designers know if they try to fit you for something sheer. You have your rights and you definately don't have to do anything you are not comfortable with. If you are Under 18 years old, wearing anything sheer is ILLEGAL and you should let the designer know you cannot wear the garment. Younger girls especially can be too shy to speak up, but it is important that you do. Any photos taken on the catwalk with nipples visible are considered child pornography!
- Stay hydrated. It is common for models to faint on and off stage during fashion week. It is extremely embarrassing. Avoid fainting but staying hydrated and eating at regular intervals.
- Have fun! The best part about fashion week is the social aspect of it, interact with other models and make some new friends!
After Fashion Week.
After Fashion Week you will likely find yourself exhausted and run down. Make sure you take at least a few days to recoup. Spend a day recovering and pamper yourself. I recommend: giving yourself a facial, having a bath, using a hot oil treatment on your hair, getting plenty of beauty sleep and eating some delicious nutritious foods to replenish your energy!
One of the joys of completing a Fashion Week is getting to see the final pictures. Be sure to check photographers blogs and google to find images of you at the shows so you can have some memories to share.
Was this post interesting and informative? Have anything to add? Let me know in the comment section below!