A LOOK INSIDE NYFW FROM BEHIND-THE-SCENES TO THE RUNWAY
With the recent conclusion of fashion week across the world, Tyler Reid, 24, documents a day in the life of a runway model exclusively for
The Bergen County Bible.
I would like to first acknowledge how grateful I am for the opportunities I've been blessed with. Although modeling was something I had never dreamt of doing, this industry has provided me with so many amazing experiences and allowed me to build so many relationships. It also gave me the opportunity to meet Heather at one of my shows in February. We spoke before the start of this season and decided I should share some insight on what a day in the life of a runway model is like during New York Fashion Week to shed light on a side of the runway people barely get to see.
CHINA DAY CAMPAIGN
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7th: 1:30 AM: Lower East Side, NY
I'm leaving a restaurant where I was attending a kick-off event celebrating the start of Fashion Week. I was expected to attend the event since being on the scene plays a vital role in being a successful model. The call time for my first show of the day is at 7:00 AM and I have to "look" well-rested, which might be difficult since it's already so late. But keeping up appearances is everything in this industry and in a few short hours I will be walking the runway in front of hundreds of high-profile guests, as well as a photo pit filled with photographers from the biggest international publications in the industry such as Nylon, WWD, Vogue and more.
7:00 AM: Spring Studios, Tribeca, NY - IISE show
Running on roughly three hours of sleep, I am greeted by backstage chaos to start my day. Thankfully, I have a buzz cut which means I can skip the hair portion of getting ready and head straight to the catered breakfast before I get my makeup done. I mingle with the other models, magazine editors, casting directors and show stylists to kill the time.
The show is set to begin at 11:00 AM but EVERYTHING runs "fashionably late."
It is hard to understand why this industry is incapable of maintaining organization.
11:40 AM: Finally on the runway. The flashing lights are so bright I cannot tell how many people are in the audience, but what I do know is that the feeling is always the same... an exhilarating rush that is hard to explain. I had so much fun at this show because all of my friends were walking as well, so it was much more enjoyable and really changed the dynamic for the better.
11:45 AM: I am off the runway leaving me little time to take backstage photos, get changed, say my goodbyes and get to my call time for the next show.
12:45 PM: Pier 59 Studios, Chelsea, NY - Flying Solo show
I arrive almost two hours late to my scheduled call time, but thankfully my agent called the show's casting director ahead of time, so I'm not that stressed out about being late. Since I'm still wearing the makeup from my previous show I am thrown directly into the makeup chair to have my face stripped before they proceed to cake it up again. The look for the show is a very exaggerated raccoon eye and a lot more makeup than I'm used to wearing.
After makeup I have some time to kill before our walk-through so I leave the venue and find a deli to grab a late lunch, (since this show did not find it necessary to provide their models with anything to eat). Following lunch, I quickly smoke a cigarette and down my 10th cup of coffee for the day while I chat with my agent, (who called to inform me that I will not be walking in any of the shows I was scheduled for tomorrow, because I will be shooting a fashion week campaign for eight hours straight instead). Awesome. (Insert sarcasm).
4:30 PM: I just finished a walk-through to get the run of show down pat so there's no confusion during the actual show. The casting director lets me know that I will be wearing three looks which is very uncommon. Usually a model only wears one look. That means I have the lovely pleasure of walking the runway, getting off stage to quickly rip off the outfit I was just wearing and quickly getting redressed all within 30-45 seconds.
5:00 PM: I have successfully completed the show and am beyond exhausted. One show left for today!
5:30 PM: Garment District, NY - Artistix show
I arrive at the next venue and have less than an hour to be ready for walk-through. Luckily, I am the last model to arrive so I get my makeup removed and reapplied quickly, leaving me some time for dinner and a chance to take advantage of the open bar! I’ve earned myself a couple drinks by this time. This particular show is filled with a lot of high profile guests including Tommy Hilfiger. He happens to be the older brother of the designer for Artistix. I had the pleasure of speaking with Tommy for ten minutes backstage prior to the start of show. That conversation made this entire day of exhaustion and chaos well worth it.
8:00 PM: I am off my last runway. With nothing left on my calendar I have time to mingle and take backstage photos for the magazines in attendance. Following the after party I am headed home to catch up on some much needed sleep before my day-long shoot tomorrow followed by another day of shows.
While trying to document and put together my brief summary I realized that there is really no way to "simplify" what it's like to be a model during fashion week, because it isn't simple at all. First and foremost, it is not merely a "week" for a model. The castings and fittings begin weeks before. Models spend countless hours traveling the city with no guarantee that they will even book the shows and collect a paycheck when all is said and done. And don't forget, that is just for the shows in New York.
Fashion week immediately travels to London, Milan and Paris after the end of NYFW.
The hours are long and tiring. The shows do not pay well. The clothing rarely fits properly, and the shoes always hurt your feet. (Male models are never shorter than 6’1, but most designers use sample size 9 for their men’s shoes-which are typically way too small). But with that being said, walking in NYFW is an important and necessary part of my career. It's funny, because I never set out to be a model, it just kind of happened, and I certainly never intended on being a runway model at all. But these shows have provided me with a lot of exposure, and if you take advantage of each season and play your cards right, ultimately they can lead to big paying campaigns and important connections.
During the two minutes of actual "walking" on the runway it is a crazy addicting adrenaline rush. It's almost like a bad habit that I can't kick. I keep coming back for more.
On the flip side, I also enjoy being in the audience. Sitting on the "other" side and admiring the models and the much anticipated collections as they wiz by in a matter of seconds to heart pounding music. Most people will never know how vastly different walking in them is verse sitting front row, sunglasses on, looking too cool for every and anyone, dressed to kill, but pretending like it only took you a matter of minutes to get ready. (If you've ever attended a show, you know EXACTLY what I mean).
But the real prep time for everyone involved in the show, combined with the money spent, and the commitment made by models, designers, stylists, casting directors and photographers is something very few people are aware of unless you are directly involved and invested in the industry. Most attendees arrive a half an hour prior to show time and see an amazing collection showcased in under five minutes and have no idea what goes into that.
My hope is that this piece sheds some light on the behind-the-scenes efforts and not so glamorous side, which is as real as it gets. And while I only documented one day of shows, I walked in seven total and then flew to Paris for three days to shoot a collection as well as a look book. After that, I flew to London for a quick 36 hours to shoot another collection, then headed back to New York City. I currently reside in Jersey City and by the end of fashion week, I couldn't be happier to be on the other side of the Hudson with the NYC skyline as my backdrop. As I reflect back on my experiences, I realize that NYC really is a concrete jungle where dreams are made of.