Working a Unique Tradeshow for Artisanal Fashion Designers

I’m Toni Nunziata, a sophomore here at LIM, majoring in fashion media. After a week full of excitement during New York Fashion Week 2023, special tradeshows were held around the city for designers and brands to showcase their products to buyers in NYC. The show I volunteered for was FORMSHOW, which took place over a six-day stretch.

clothes on wrack at 2023 FORMSHOW

FORMSHOW is a tradeshow for international design that gives a specific and highly curated group of artisanal fashion designers the opportunity to showcase their newest collections, timed with New York Fashion Week.

I was under the supervision of Jenny Chase, who was the head of this operation. I arrived Friday at 2 p.m. to begin setting up the showroom with about five other volunteers. Some of the other tasks the volunteers took on were steaming clothes, modeling garments for buyers, color coordinating racks and hangers, working the checkout table, and assisting with anything the designers need throughout the day.

2023 formshow workers
2023 formshow clothes
2023 formshow button

We started by organizing racks and tables into small sections for each designer’s collection, then began unboxing all the clothing, shoes, and accessories the designers had shipped to the showroom. We strategically hung and placed the items aesthetically, so it would be more appealing to buyers. Setting up took us a few hours, but I learned that so much effort and planning goes into these shows.

Saturday, I arrived at 8 a.m. This was a big day, the opening day of the five-day public event. Buyers were coming in and thoroughly checking out each collection and, of course, placed orders with designers. This was an exciting day for the volunteers because we got to meet each designer and connect with them over our shared passion for art and fashion. I met amazing people that truly inspired me! I got the chance to speak with Giovanni Contrada, who is the founder of the fashion label Imp Of the Perverse. I was able to ask him questions and get to know more about his brand. I asked about the inspiration behind his one-of-a-kind buttons, and he responded with a rich story that took place in Milan, Italy.

Overall, this was a great experience and I would definitely recommend this volunteer opportunity to other students. I will always be grateful to LIM College for making this possible.