New York Fashion Week presented endless opportunities for LIM students to immerse themselves in the fashion industry. As part of the Fashion Scholars cohort at LIM, my classmates and I were able to volunteer at the Indonesia NOW show on September 11th. This experience gave us insight into all the behind-the-scenes work that normally goes unnoticed and gave us a new perspective on runway productions.
I was placed in the “front of the house” with several other volunteers while the majority worked backstage as dressers. My peers and I organized the seating arrangements and gift bags for the guests. We operated in a peaceful atmosphere, void of chaos, as fellow interns and volunteers set up the runway. After our work, we sat and observed the directors instructing the models and assigning everyone various duties that still needed to get done.
Meanwhile, my peers revealed that the backstage environment was fast-paced and demanding! While some were responsible for steaming outfits, others had to dress the models. Their experiences really highlighted the dependency shows have on the dressers for their models, proving the importance of their job. (One student even offered her own bra for a model to use on the runway!)
The volunteers were rewarded with seeing the final product of their hard work on the runway. The show gave multiple Indonesian designers a platform to display their unique visions of multi-colored pieces and patterns. This served as a “cultural shock,” since American fashion tends to veer away from expressive and loud prints. Being able to watch the show offered many of us a new perspective on the diversity of global fashion. For example, since Asian influence does not have much of a presence in the fashion industry that we’re exposed to, it was very refreshing to see Asian representation.
This experience opened my eyes, as well as the other Fashion Scholars, to the hard labor that comes with the production of a show such as this. Being able to have first-hand experience may have been stressful at times, yet it was extremely rewarding. We were able to learn about all the types of jobs that go into making these events possible and with that, have gained a deep appreciation for them. After getting a glimpse of the fashion industry, we grow even more excited to join this exhilarating business.