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Fashion Week: Behind the Scenes

Backstage at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week
Ever wonder what happens the days, weeks and months leading up to Fashion Week?  From what we can see, the models walk effortlessly down the runway in perfectly tailored pieces that will be garnishing the shelves and racks of retail stores and boutiques the next season.  However, everything leading up to that point is not as glamorous and calm as it seems from the photo lenses.
Backstage at Herve Leger
Let's start with a well known name and their prep.  It is a lot less frantic since they have been in the game long enough to know the routine. Beginning with the creation of the garments, which actually starts with trend forecasting and research. Then designers and graphic artists spend countless nights drafting and emailing back and forth until something sticks. Once the piece is agreed upon and fabrics and embellishments are chosen, it is sent to be constructed. Once constructed, the piece may or may not go through another series of yes's and no's until a final piece is produced. Next step is to show it to buyers. Is there an interest in this garment? Is it on trend for next season? Is it a good representation of the brand? Then you have to select your models who will represent your precious pieces on the catwalk, and all while in competition with other designers (that is a whole different article).  Now repeat this process twelve times because that's the minimum amount of pieces you would ever send down the runway.
Style's Fashion Week LA

Now, you have to reach out to accessory and shoe designers to see what and who will pair nicely with your garments while making their way down the catwalk and photographed by thousands. If you are an established designer, typically you will make these items as well with your brand name on it to sell along side the garment when the collection is released.  This is also costly for some designers as the cost for leather for shoes is much more than cotton and chiffon.
Photo Pit on the Runway

Skipping a few steps just to be brief, the process of organizing the staff and articles to bring to Fashion Week for day of prep is also quite time consuming and requires months of planning from multiple departments.  For instance, you have your stylist and backstage prep which includes make up, wardrobe (steaming and such), hair, dressers and directors.  Then you have PR teams to organize guests and guest lists prior to and day of. Not to mention the marketing and social media efforts to increase awareness for the new line.

Now this is a mere skim off the top of a very deep pond in which many ducks are seemingly gliding across the water, when underneath they are frantically paddling to stay afloat.  Now imagine the cost of all of this as well. Attending and showing at Fashion Week in any major city is a year round effort and happens twice a year.  You have a mixture of established and well known names in addition to first time shows and up and coming designers who put forth massive amounts of effort and sleepless nights all for 10 minutes of runway.

So thank you to the staff, contractors, interns, designers and more who entertain us season after season.  Good luck at Fashion Week!