5 Things I Learned Volunteering at NYFW

I attended NYFW for the first time and here are the main things I learned (and what surprised me most).

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This season, I attended NYFW for the first time. I volunteered to help set up for two fashion shows and attended quite a few panel discussions. And I learned a lot in the process.

Attending NYFW opened my eyes to an entirely different side of fashion, beyond simply “putting clothes together into a look.” Fashion, in a broader sense, is about collectiveness. Clothes allow us to express ourselves, yes, but we do this through the designs that other people have created.

While NYFW taught me to think about fashion in broad new ways, it also taught me some more specific lessons. Here are the top 5 things I learned at New York Fashion Week:

1. There is a LOT more to a runway show than you think

One of the most shocking things I learned at NYFW was the amount of work and preparation a fashion show actually takes. Yes, obviously I knew it was a huge project to take on, but I didn’t understand all the moving parts involved. I had no concept of the unimaginably hectic process that leads up to a show.

Forget about just designing the clothes. Runway shows are a gigantic production in themselves. From getting sponsors for the goody bags, to hiring the makeup staff and finalizing the seating chart, fashion shows involve an overwhelming number of tasks. Yet, somehow, everyone pulls it off and makes it look effortless!

2. The shows are REALLY short

To my surprise, NYFW shows are quite short. I had expected to be seated for a while, watching the gorgeous models strut down the runway for ages, but that is not the case.

While the planning process for a runway show is long and involved, the actual show is not. Runway shows are quick and fast, and go by in the blink of an eye.

3. Even though you’ll expect this, the style will blow you away

No matter how prepared you are to be amongst some of the most ~fashion forward~ people around, you will still be in awe when you see these people in person. (There’s a reason street style photographers stalk the shows!)

Every moment at NYFW is a fashion opportunity. People of all backgrounds and all styles come together and create an amazing place to share your thoughts through style. The fabrics, the colors, the styling — it will make your jaw drop.

4. You will. need. around 7 outfits; pack 46

I am someone who spends hours agonizing over my outfits and finding the perfect pieces. This is my default state when I’m not attending fashion week.

So multiply this pressure by 100 times and you’ll have an idea of what dressing for NYFW is like. Having the perfect outfit is crucial, so do not pack light.

5. Dress to express yourself — not in the latest trends

Dressing to fit your personal style and to make yourself feel confident is the biggest takeaway I received from NYFW. If you are expressing your genuine self then you are putting your personal brand out there.

Many of the influencers I saw at NYFW were wearing trendy pieces, yes, but the outfits that stood out most weren’t trendy — they were just unique to the person wearing them.

So focus on your personal style and put together some unexpected combinations. Fashion week is the perfect time to experiment and really push the envelope — and set some trends instead of following them.

As Karl Lagerfeld once said, “trendy is the last stage before tacky.”

Have you been to NYFW?

Have you ever volunteered at New York Fashion Week? Let us know in the comments.

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