In this installment of “How Fashion Week Gets Made,” we interviewed Wilhelmina model Ava Smith, who gave us the rundown on what it’s like to go to casting sessions, walk the runway and stay sane during NYFW.
Give a brief description of a typical day during fashion week, from start to finish.
There is no typical day of fashion week. That’s the beauty and the curse. It’s a medley of fittings, castings, shows and subway trips all mixed together in different ratios every day. You probably are going to start really early though, and go well into the evening! Coffee, Vitamin C, and easy on the go snacks become your best friends.
What is it like backstage at a fashion show? Can you describe a typical backstage scene?
It’s kinda like a big traffic jam… Everyone has their assigned tasks and is trying to get where they’re supposed to be. It makes it really hard to get anywhere. But everyone is still trying to rush anyway… its fun… and funny :-)
What is the most stressful part of working fashion week?
Trying to make every appointment…even though it will never be possible. I’m waiting for the invention of teleportation. :-)
What is the most fun part of working fashion week?
Being part of a production that is a collaboration of different artists. Its cool because it’s never really one person’s show, and when you’re a part of it you’re at the forefront, so you see the direction some of these well respected artists are going in.
What is it like, the first moment you step on the runway? What are you feeling? Thinking?
“Here we go!”
Do you ever feel nervous on the runway? Why or Why not?
Of course! I think it would be strange not to be nervous. Its part of the thrill I think. It’s finding comfort in the adrenaline rush…that’s the trick.
What sort of directions do designers give you before going on the runway? How do you channel whatever the directions are?
You try and become the character the designer wants to represent the brand, whatever that may be..
What is it like when you get to the end of the runway and all the photographers are snapping photos? Do your eyes ever hurt from the flash?
I’m so blinded by all the lights I never knew there were people on the end :/
What does it feel like to be cast in shows? Do you ever feel rejected if you didn’t get cast in a show, but many of your peers/ model friends did?
Absolutely no one wants to feel left out. But it happens and you learn not to take it personally. Seasons change, looks change. One minute you’re in, the next you’re out. It’s the beauty of fashion…it has a
short attention span, but easily grabbed.
Can you describe a typical casting session?
Lots of waiting around. It can be very crowded during fashion week. Timing is everything, it’s minutes to hours. Meeting the client is actually quite quick, with them trying to learn a little bit about what
makes you, you, and of course how you rock the runway.
What does it feel like when a designer is fitting you? Are you bored? Do you get to give input?
Haha, sometimes it can be a little boring, depends. I like boring, sometimes those 15 minutes of quiet are much needed with the chaos of shows.
During fittings, it’s normal for a designer to make comments about your proportions and body in order to fit the garment properly. Does this ever make you feel awkward or insecure?
I can see how it may, but i dont think of it that way. We come in so many shapes and sizes and colors and I try to always remember just to embrace my own.