My First Fashion Week

Ever wondered what a day-to-day life is for a fashion intern? Read below for my breakdown of what it was like working my first fashion week with a daily diary from pre-show to show to showroom. Enjoy!

*Note: I’ve decided to keep the brand I’ve worked for confidential, so, unfortunately, no pictures in this post. Sorry! The featured photo is the view from the venue, so if you’re a good enough sleuth, you can figure out the brand! 

Pre-Show

With only some experience in the industry, I had a wide range of expectations for what the final show prep would be for the show. What I experienced was a range of pretty much anything and everything. For me, I have background experience in design, retail, communications, and business, so my tasks ran the gamut compared to the other interns. I sewed parts of the collection, steamed clothes, ran errands, helped style the final looks, helped cast the models, dressed them, and any and all “bitch-work” you can imagine. One of the most important tasks I undertook was making sure all the clothes were in perfect condition and created the line sheet for the buyers after the show (this included cataloging the collection and being able to name every single piece – really cool if you ask me).

There were multiple late nights including the last day before the show when we didn’t wrap until 1am. It was hard work, but I learned so much and met so many amazing people in the industry.

Show Day

The day of the show was whirlwind and definitely was off to a bumpy start. It was snowing in Paris and we needed to run stuff from the showroom to the venue. I sat in an Uber with the seats down so the model boards could lay flat and not be ruined. Once we got to the venue, it was work mode: dress the models, steam the clothes, make sure hair and makeup were taken care of, make sure the venue was perfect, make sure the dressers knew what to do. Then 3-2-1, it was showtime and after all the quick changes, the show was over in a blink of an eye with resounding applause both from us backstage and all the important people in the audience.

On a high from the show, we rushed to get the clothes to the showroom and prep for the buyers to come for the following weeks. While we were dismantling rolling racks, I sliced my finger open so deep that blood went everywhere — but that still couldn’t kill my good mood.

Showroom

The showroom definitely carried a different air than the week preceding. We were situated in a great space near the Arc de Triomphe with an Italian showroom company.  Mostly, I focused on dressing the model, creating line sheets for buyers, and making sure the collection remained intact. I definitely had a few late nights, too, as I had to make sure all the orders were perfect for important companies like Bergdorf Goodman and Galeries Lafayette. My language skills definitely came in handy as a few clients came in from China and didn’t speak French, Italian or English, so it was Vince to the rescue. Same when we had clients from Italy and the manager of the company was busy with another client, I took the reigns in presenting the collection in Italian.

Final Thoughts 

Throughout the entire internship, I definitely learned so much more about the industry than I ever expected. Especially working with a younger, smaller brand I was able to be significantly more hands-on and at the same time be lucky enough to work with people who’ve been in the industry at larger labels. It was a great networking experience.

On one last note, in America, we’re raised with this magical image of Paris. We imagine the luxurious lifestyle presented to us in classic movies and from the fashion industry. After the show wrapped, I was in the Mercedes with the rest of the team, discussing the success of the show, passing all the landmarks from Notre Dame to the Arc de Triomphe and at that moment I felt the magic that is Paris. The iconic landmarks I grew up seeing photos of were now a part of the landscape of my home and it was magic.

 

Author: Vince Calvi

MBA Candidate, Global Fashion Media at IFA Paris

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