Article by Kamilla Jamal
Just a few weeks ago, our social media newsfeeds seemed to be cluttered with news about fashion week. Fashion week seems to be made up by a simple formula – designers design clothes, models wear them and are paid to walk down a runway, photographers take photos, and the clothes are usually later sold for a ridiculously expensive price to the celebrities and elite. Yet, there is so much more to fashion week than pretty models selling products. Here are 15 things you might have not known about fashion week:
1. The first fashion week originated from NEW YORK, not Paris
Contrary to popular belief, it was New York and not Paris that witnessed the first Fashion Week in 1943. During World War II, fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert decided to shift the world’s attention from Paris to New York as the fashion capital by inviting journalists to view the collection of American designers. It was also originally known as “Press Week” and later evolved into fashion week as we know it today.
2. There are four main types of fashion shows around the world every year and they each have their own style
These are the fashion shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, also known as the Big Four in the Fashion World.
The Big Four each have their own styles to which they uphold. Of course, designers like to mix things up, but mostly they stick to the rules. New York rocks sportswear, Paris has haute couture, Milan features boundary-pushing looks and London is always avant-garde.
3. It happens twice a year and has a set order.
Fashion Week occurs twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. The Fall/Winter Show takes place in February whereas the Spring/Summer Collections are showcased in September.
Fashion Week always takes place in the same order every year:
1. New York
4. Paris – where there is the grand finale!
4. You cannot buy tickets to Fashion Week.
In most cases, you cannot buy a ticket to Fashion Week. Typically only industry professionals such as stylists, buyers, high-profile bloggers, editors, and journalists are invited.
5. You can now LIVE STREAM Fashion Week!
Now that many designers have turned to live online streaming of their shows, did you know that you can actually tell which fashion week you are watching just by the catwalk style?
Models at the Paris Fashion Week walk at a slower and smoother pace whereas runway models at NYFW have a more upbeat and staccato style.
6. There’s a Lot of Buildup for Very Little Payoff
Every show requires months of design work, weeks of set, music, and lighting design, hours of hair and makeup—and that doesn’t even take into consideration the time and energy spent on the press side, inviting people to the show, checking them in, and getting them seated. The actual length of most runway shows? About 15 minutes.
7. Models can be paid up to $100,000 per show
The top 21 models on this year’s Forbes highest-paid models list made a combined salary of $142 million in the last 12 months, proving that flawless genes and stellar business acumen make up a killer combination.
8. There is Food Everywhere & Models Actually Eat It
Contrary to popular belief, models eat. A lot.
Beyond the water, soda, and snacks being passed around in the tent lobby, there is a catering spread backstage at each and every show.
Coffee, tea, juice, veggies, fruit, sandwiches, pastries, cheese, snacks, cookies… you name it. It’s not only all there, but it’s also free. Besides the media people gulping down Diet Pepsi in the tents, who else is eating all this delicious free food, you ask?
The models are eating constantly. They eat bagels, pasta salad, cookies, and even cheese.
9. Models Aren’t Allowed to Smile
The reason models make ‘sexyface’ all the time isn’t because they want to—it’s because that’s what designers demand.
10. People Work Incredibly Hard
Behind the scenes, there is a small army of hair stylists, makeup artists, publicists, designers, fitters, model wranglers, garment handlers, photographers, interns, volunteers, editors, writers, and various other professionals running from show to show, not sleeping, living on junk food, and basically working extremely hard. They don’t get much credit, but they definitely deserve more.
11. Kanye West is fashion week’s biggest supporter
In fact, the American rapper hasn’t missed a show during fashion week in New York since 2007!
12. This year, Chanel staged a “Feminist Protest” at their Paris Fashion Week Show!
Models along the likes of Kendall Jenner, Gisele Bundchen, Joan Smalls, Cara Delevingne & Coco Rocha walked the Chanel protest catwalk!
13. Bumble & Bumble hairstylists used 130 lb worth of bobby pins at NYFW
During last year’s shows, the team of hairstylists went through a hefty 130 pounds of bobby pins to secure models’ intricate ‘dos.
14. Pictures convey a thousand words
In the case of a Fashion Week, all those drool worthy images of stunning couture are worth much more. And for that, a photographer on an average takes about 70,000 pictures from a mere 1’ x 1’ space in a pit during a Fashion Week.
15. New York City needs Fashion Week, financially speaking.
According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Fashion Week generates an estimated $532 million in direct visitor spending annually. This translates to $865 million in total economic impact.
So what do you think? Did you know all of these facts or were some new to you? Tell us in the comments below!