Friday, 8 July 2016

My Experience as a Backstage Dresser at Graduate Fashion Week 7th June

So, this post is long, long overdue but I thought I'd finally publish it anyway - better late than never!

Even though I officially finished my first year of Uni on 27th May (this year has gone craaaaazy fast), I volunteered to stay a bit longer to help out 3rd years with their collections ready for Graduate Fashion Week, and worked as a dresser backstage on day 3 of GFW for the BCU show.

I actually began helping out a 3rd year student from March right up until the day before she left to show her collection in China in May with a few other students, which was great because I really got to see the process of how her final collection came together. I was involved with every stage of making her garments - god knows how many hours I spent hand sewing, but it was worth it in the end because her collection really was stunning.

The week before GFW, it was a mad rush to get everything finished and pack everything into boxes, and each first year helper was given a model and their outfits from each designer which we were responsible for and had to organise.

On the day of the show, we unloaded the boxes backstage and organised the rails with the order of outfits with the correct shoes and accessories to go with each one, had the chance to meet our designated model and have a dress fitting. Fortunately for us, our model was lovely, and made the effort to chat to us before she had to rush off to other fittings - obviously a true professional.
When it was time for the BCU show, the adrenaline was insane, everyone was running around like headless chickens because we had about 30 seconds to get our model changed into an outfit, whilst ensuring they were wearing the right underwear, everything was styled exactly how the designer wanted and the clothes were pressed to perfection. Some outfits proved to be a nightmare to put on the model because the fastenings were really fiddly or had multiple layers, and coupled with the time pressure it was fair to say my heart was beating like crazy! Everyone worked so well as a team even when the event organisers were screaming at us to hurry up whilst the heavy bass of the catwalk soundtrack blared out of the speakers around us. After the show was over, we had about a minute to have a breather before it was another mad rush to pack everything back into boxes and load them onto the van. Although most of the day was pretty stressful, I honestly loved every minute and am so glad I had the opportunity to do it - I didn't realise how well I actually work under pressure and how much I enjoy it - I'd definitely recommend being a backstage dresser to any first year fashion student if you get the chance!

Throughout the whole day I think we had about 15 minutes to look around the other Uni stands with students work and portfolios on display, and the talent was absolutely insane, it really motivated me to work harder next year and confirmed that my goal for 3rd year is to try and get into GFW and be able to showcase my work there. Anyway, here are some photos I managed to take during the day, as well as 4 of the 5 outfits I dressed on my model Ieva (photos from GFW website).

Outfits 1, 2, 3 and 5 on Ieva.

Em x

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