During New York Fashion Week (NYFW), which took place Sept 6-13th, one is bound to meet new people and see old pals before, after, and during shows and in people lines(lots of lines if you don't have a seating assignment ticket). There are a variety of shows during the week and throughout the city; some on the official fashion week calendar and some not. It was at one of those lines for a show that went around the block where I met two fashion students Zainab Koli and Hira A. Both whom attend the Fashion Insitute of Technology in New York City. Students are exciting to talk to; they are loaded with fresh creative energy and a sense of exploration for miles--vibes wanted specially during fashion week because one's creative and bodily stamina starts to tire after running from show to show all day for a week, coffee and protein help too.
If you're new to anything 'fashion week', lots of work happens behind the 10-15 minutes of a show in many areas not just design. Backstage is generally where fashion students work along with a designer's team that includes but not limited to models, public relation teams, technical designers, makeup artists, jewelry artists, hairstyling teams, and photographers. Everyone's adrenaline is on its high to see their collaborative hard work unfold after months and months of planning up-to the last minutes before a show, where many times a seamstress is making last adjustments if not putting together a last minute piece.
Zainab Koli is in her third year as a Fashion Business student and spent her Summer interning with Eponym, an eyewear licensee company that partners with brands including Alice & Olivia, Jason Wu, Steven Alan, and Billy Reid, to create eyewear. She also volunteered as a dresser backstage at Dan Liu during this fashion week, a Canadian-Chinese brand on its second year showing at NYFW. Her work involved helping dress the models and making sure they matched the designers specified looks. She relates that this backstage experience was very different from shows she's helped out with in the past because designer, Dan Liu, made it a very positive space by taking time-out to be approachable and meet, profusely thank, and take pictures with all the volunteers. Zainab describes a moment of gesture she appreciated from the designer; he came to each one of the models before they walked the runway and thanked and motivated them, by telling them how beautiful and powerful they are. She felt him genuinely grateful for everyone involved in putting this show together and although not knowing much about the designer, this experience left her inspired with that no matter how much success someone achieves this should always be the attitude.
Outside backstage and awaiting for the show to happen are more industry people connected to a fashion designer's collection like and also not limited to buyers, editors, more photographers, sound technicians, influencers, fashion illustrators and on. Hira A. is a Communication Design student in her second year who spent her Summer interning at Studio Oax, a brand development creative agency in New York City where she did a lot of social media campaigning and observed the creative process of advertising for specific brands. Other experiences included organizing presentations for clients and attending a video shoot for a brand Studio Oax collaborated with. Hira has a passion for digital design and media and has always found herself fascinated by design companies such as Pentagram and Planet Propaganda. It's their way of designing and advertising to create just about everything we see in the media that makes her really want to take part in strategizing and conceptualizing ideas that could be leveraged across different medias.
So, what does the future of fashion have to say about the present of fashion?
Zainab Koli | @kokakoli
"For me, what’s most interesting about fashion week is the inspiration behind each collection. I’m intrigued by the seemingly small experiences, objects, people, and ideas that create that spark in a designer’s mind, which then is translated into a remarkably strange new creation. Reading about their process, helps me as a fashion student learn to broaden my searches for inspiration. Yes, I can be inspired by a fabric, but I can also find inspiration in history, politics, individuals, etc. and go so much farther.
Hira A. | @thedreamingali
"My favorite collection shown during NYFW was from Dian Pelangi. Her collection shined with diversity, modesty, and it gave the statement: "We are not oppressed and we can shine in our own styles that can be beautiful with a hijab". As a Muslim fashion student, it's amazing to see how modest fashion is growing, thriving, and becoming positively accepted. People usually believe modest fashion is associated with oppression of Muslim woman and the inability to be creative with your clothing. However, it's the exact opposite and it's wonderful seeing more modest fashion bloggers and models in the mainstream media. It's definitely a source of inspiration."
Written by Mariana Aguilera