It was all a dream. (No Biggie.)
Just a few short years ago the idea of brushing elbows with the fashion editors of Vogue, Elle, Glamour and Essence, exchanging laughs with some of the world’s top fashion models and sitting front and center on the New York Fashion Week runways seemed so far away.
But now that I’m in my third season of NYFW, it’s safe to say that the dream is now a reality.
But don’t get it twisted.
My first NYFW was spent on the grind as an intern for one of NYC’s top fashion PR agencies. I created seating charts till 2 a.m., steamed clothes, did countless coffee runs, served lunch backstage, and ran garment bags up and down Manhattan in -5 degree weather – then watched the shows from backstage.
But I kept at it.
I turned on that smile when all I really wanted to turn on was some serious shade. Gave a ,“How else can I be of service?” When I really wanted to ask ,“When the HELL can I go home?!” and kept my cool when I was tested, tried, then tried AGAIN.
And it paid off.
Now, as a social media manager at one of Manhattan’s foremost powerhouse fashion PR agencies, I’m able to live-cover amazing shows from the runway, hit those epic after parties and see all the magic happen front and center.
But it’s not all champagne and stomping through the city in Stella McCartney.
NYFW is a whirlwind, to say the least. It’s a week that we spend months preparing for, and yes those crazy work hours and hard days and nights running across the city for four back-to-back shows per day still exist.
You wouldn’t believe the countless hours and manpower that goes behind putting on a spectacular show. And it’s all done in a flash. From the time the first model steps out in the first look of the collection to the final walk – all the magic happens in less than 15 minutes.
Yep, all those countless hours and the work of hundreds of people boil down to just a short 15 minutes on the runway.
Is it hard work? Yes.
Is it worth it? YES, YES, YES!
My fashion-minded Sista Friends, when the fashion industry beats you down, just know – Your time WILL come. The fashion industry tells us that we don’t belong. From the lack of diversity in the designers of color showing at NYFW, to the small numbers of Black models walking down the runway, to the slim number of Black editors and industry insiders sitting in the first rows.
But we’re letting the industry know we’re here to stay.
This past fashion week was the most diverse to date in recent years. According to The Fashion Spot’s 2016 Diversity Report, out of 180 shows, 31.9 % of models were non-white, a small but still significant improvement from Spring 2015, where only 24.9 percent of models on the runways were women of color.
Sista Friends, we’ve still got work to do. And it starts by working hard, sticking to it, making our voices heard, and our presence known in the fashion industry, whether walking down the runway, working backstage or sitting front row.
Your Sista Friend,
Kaylah Burton is a 2014 alumna of Southern Methodist University. She is currently a social media manager and blogger based in New York City. Stay up to date with her current musings in the fashion industry at StyleMeTwice.