Thursday, February 21, 2013

A day in the life. Fashion Week NYC.

Hi sweet friends! 
Many of you have asked me what it is like to dress a show as an outreach at Fashion Week, 
so I've decided to break it down for you!
Here is how a typical show goes! 
I hope you enjoy!

A day in the Life.
[[Fashion Week NYC]]

And don't worry! More specific stories && photos will be posted soon!!!

We arrive on time. 
Third show of the day. 
Milk Studios. 
Lauren and I walk inside, greeted by the adorable blonde girl with her hair in a bun. It's Day 4, so we are confident now, & head straight for the elevator. 
Second floor. Elevator doors open and we follow the others toward security. "Jessica Hover and Lauren Thacker. We are dressers." They flip through masses of names until they find ours... We are usually at the end. The security man gives us our wristband and we are pointed toward the backstage waiting area. 
I love it there. Soft couches. Free coffee, water and snacks. 
Not all venues are like this- but Milk always takes care of us. We sit for a while and talk with the other volunteers. Lauren and I pray over the show and ask for God to be glorified in everything we do. Darryl walks over, along with the other dressing supervisors, with their clipboards and pens. They ask, again, if we have checked in. We have. So we continue waiting. The energy begins to get exciting. Models with their hair and makeup mostly done wait in line for the bathroom. The designer paces around- appearing busy & excited. People talk more quietly when the designer comes... Whispering insights they have about the designer's life... Usually something found off google or Wikipedia. I'm thankful for google... Because I rarely recognize a designer without googling their photo first.

Eventually the supervisors call for us to gather and have a meeting. We are all wearing black. No jewelry that will catch on the fabrics. No bright lipstick that could accidentally stain something. We are informed about the line and any special details we may need to know backstage. The styling team introduce themselves and offer to help with the shoes and jewelry. I'm grateful for it. With about one minute to get a model out of one elaborate outfit and into another, it is a gift to have a professional stylist willing to help. 

After we have been given all of the needed info about the clothing line, they assign us our models. I can see that they are growing to trust Me and Lauren more, because our changes have been getting gradually quicker and more difficult. I love that. I want to be trustworthy. I also love it because it usually means that the models are more experienced... Meaning I may have seen them before in previous shows.... Perfect opportunity to continue building relationships.

After I receive my model's name I go backstage and find her rack. The racks are lined up around the room with outfits hanging on them in garment bags and poster boards with the model's name, photos, and numbers in the show lineup. My model has 2 looks and will be number 4 and number 20 in the lineup. Quick change. I read through her look card to pick up any needed details. Things like: "Shirt loosely tucked in, no lumps.
Right hand in skirt pocket with thumb facing forward.
Shoe laces wrap around ankle and tie on outside.
Brown bag over left shoulder.
Necklace for both looks."
I then unbutton and unzip everything... Ensuring that I understand the fastest, most effective way to get everything on and off without wrinkling the garments. I pray quietly for God to use my hands. I also pray for my model. I know her name and face now. I pray for the love of Jesus to be revealed to her. I love to pray for them, because I don't know if anyone has ever prayed for them... and even if I don't get to witness the prayers being answered, I'm confident that God will be faithful to answer my prayers.

I have studied my look. I've gone through it with the sweet dressing supervisor who has come over and confirmed that everything is clear. Now I wait and get to know the people working around me. Other dressers. Stylists. Event production team. The older seamstress women who are sometimes brought to tears when they see their finished work on the models. My model comes over to try on her shoes and do a run-through on the runway. Thankfully her shoes fit tonight. Often they are too big for the girls and I'm having to tape pads into them. Her shoes are slippery though. After she takes them off and goes bad to hair and makeup, I use my scissors to put slash marks into the bottom of the shoes, so they will have some traction when she walks. It feels strange to scratch up the soles on a pair of Manolo Blahnik's, but in reality we are not really doing any damage... And it's better than a model slipping on the runway.

My model comes back and they call "first looks". This means its time get her into her first outfit. I love this part because its not stressful and it's a fun opportunity to get to know my model. She and I are a team. We both want to do well, so we talk through her quick change, figuring out our plan of attack. As soon as she comes off the runway she will start taking off her skirt, while I will go straight for her shirt... Then once the first outfit is off she can just step into her second dress. Smooth. Like butter.

The conversation we have is sweet. I'm excited to know her and let her know that she looks beautiful and is going to have a great show. I also let her know I'm praying for her. She laughs awkwardly because she has never heard that before... But I can see that she is grateful for the encouragement. I love it. The momentary awkwardness doesn't phase me, I remember feeling confused when Christians reached out to me. It's unfamiliar to her. That's okay.

The music starts. 
The show begins. 
My model is in the lineup posing for photos, but every now and then she looks over at me and smiles. 
She is lovely.

The first model has already come back from the runway and is frantically being stripped to get into her next look. I take my second dress off the hanger because I know my girl will be back ready to change momentarily.

She is here! I boldly tell the hair and makeup crew to move and together my model & I execute our changing plan. The dressing supervisor jumps in to help, but everyone else stays back. I'm thankful. Though I appreciate help, sometimes too many hands can create chaos.

She is mostly dressed now, I just need to button the back of her dress. They started yelling her name. They always do that. They need her in the lineup. The dress isn't buttoned but I walk her over to her place in line and finish her dress there... Praying for God to steady my shaky fingers so I can button her in time.

Yes. She is buttoned! "You are doing great love! So beautiful!" I tell her. 
She smiles genuinely and is ready for the spotlight.

Within minutes the show is over and my model is back again, ready to get back into her own clothes and head over to her next fitting. She has been going non-stop since the morning and will not stop after New York Fashion Week. In a few days she will head to London, Milan, and Paris to do it all again. I assure her that I will continue praying for her to have strength and I share a bit about why I am here, considering I live in LA and am not getting paid to work Fashion Week. She comments on how differently I treat her, compared to others that she has worked with. She says that she is often really lonely and homesick working in the industry, that its difficult to make friends because so many people just want to take what they can get from her... She then informs me that she is not religious at all but has noticed recently that the kindest people in her life have all been "religious".

We talk some more but she has somewhere to be, and I need to pack up all of the garments "showroom style" so they will be ready for the designer to display tomorrow.

My new model friend and I swap information before hugging and saying goodbye. 
It was truly a joy to work with her.

I pack up my looks and get them on the correct rack with all of the other clothing. We make sure all of the jewelry has been returned and wait patiently until the dressing supervisors release us.

As we are walking out Lauren and I look for opportunities to talk with people on the way. Anyone we can encourage... 
Any faces that we recognize... 
Celebrities or models that we have been praying for.

And after all is finished- we leave the venue, roughly 4 hours after arriving, and head home for the night. It's been a long day and we have lots to share with each other about how we saw God moving backstage. We are also EXTRA hungry. So a yummy dinner sounds perfect.

Encouraged by God's faithfulness, 
and strengthened by His Spirit, 
we rest our hearts & our bodies, 
preparing to do it all again tomorrow.

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