College Student vs. New York Fashion Week

The inner workings of the most talked about week in NYC

212 To My City | Isabella Langbecker | February 25, 2016

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2 hours 30 minutes until show time

The rain starts pouring down just as I see Chris waving at me from the backstage entrance to The Dock and Moynihan station, which, surprisingly, is just the backside of the Post Office on 33rd street. I race my way through paparazzi, fashion bloggers, and celebrities while dodging fur coats and studded jackets. Traffic signs mean nothing during fashion week, not that they ever do shit in the city to begin with. Given strict instructions to wear all black and nothing else, I quickly fall into what seems like the fashion army of backstage workers, and take a seat at my desk. I have yet to have my job explained to me, all I can see is a pen and a binder full of names, so I guess I’ll just start working. It’s pretty easy: people come in and tell me their names and publications, I check them off, they get a badge, the end.

But people whose names aren’t on the list have started showing up, or someone suddenly has an extra cameraman. Who do these people think they are? I get that we’re in New York but just because you show up doesn’t mean I am letting you in, sorry not sorry.

Some of my biggest dramas are coming in the forms of a missing gold pen from Paris and a model who won’t stop insisting that her show is in the same space as ours when her show is actually tomorrow.

1 hour 30 minutes until show time

With backstage check-in done, I grab a salmon colored plastic VIP pass (each show is a different color so security doesn’t have to read what’s on the pass) and I head towards the action. There are hair and makeup people running around braiding girls’ hair and sticking gold glitter on the highest points of models’ cheekbones.

Making my way towards the stage was the definition of the #freethenipple campaign: literally not one girl is wearing a shirt, or a bra for that matter.

In order to get fully dressed it takes 5 minutes and two assistants per model. The process is slow, at least for the fashion world.

1 hour 15 minutes until show time

I make a quick left and I’m suddenly blinded like a drunk kid in a brightly lit Taco Bell.

I somehow find myself on the runway and take the opportunity to strut down it like the Gigi Hadid within me, #feelingmyself. I catch my boss giving me a look of disgust and pity: hello modeling career.

1 hour until show time

Have you ever heard of fashion GPS? No? Me neither. So there I am: iPad in one hand, printer in the other, and no fucking clue what to do.

And here, my dear friends, is the importance of not being afraid of the fashion industry.

I turn to the gorgeous man to my left with cheekbones higher than the heavens above and ask if he knows what fashion GPS is; lo and behold, he does! All it is, for future reference, is a search engine that allows one to look up a guest’s name and print her pass to be scanned at the door. From editors, to investors, to fans, to bloggers, I shuffle people one after another into the never-ending line.

Show time

The room is filling up with people ready to see the first ever couture show featuring kimonos from Japanese designer Hiromi Asai. The lights go down and Uptown Funk starts playing — Asai’s goal of modernism is certainly off to a good start without having displayed a single outfit.

The showroom comes alive as models start strutting down the runway wearing the very braids I saw being formed and glitter I saw being painted. Hiromi appears and waves to great applause and admiration.


Then the lights come on. Just like that it is all over.

The months of preparation for just 6 minutes of show time, it almost doesn’t seem worth it.

30 minutes after show time

Walking through the hallways feels like patrolling a ghost town, it is possible that I am the only person still left here. Clothing is all packed, the models are gone, and photographers have long left the venue to move on to another show. I snag my jacket that I left hiding in the corner and throw on my Olson-twins-post-rehab-sunglasses.

I step outside into the rain and encounter complete emptiness: there are no paparazzi, no celebrities, no bloggers, not a single sign that a fashion show happened here barely 30 minutes ago. I stick two fingers in the air and hail a cab feeling like a disheartened Carrie Bradshaw. I love fashion but after seeing the work involved for a single show I begin to wonder if it is all really worth it or just a waste of time. Maybe fashion critics have a point when they refer to the obsession with couture clothing as a waste of time.

However, I maintain that fashion is an art like any painting or sculpture out there, and all great works take time.