Last Friday, I found myself wandering around the vaults of The Royal Arts Society at London Fashion Week. Yes, you read that correctly, jeans and t-shirt wearing me, backstage at one of the most prestigious fashion events in the world. And no, I haven’t thrown it in and decided to become a fashion blogger (ha – can you imagine!), instead- I was there for work.
Not exactly being a fashionista myself, I didn’t really know what to expect. I went in thinking The Devil Wears Prada, the reality, though not far off, opened my eyes to a whole new world. Here is what I learnt.
Five Things I Learnt at #LFW
1) No matter what you wear you will stick out like a sore thumb.
Apparently my turtleneck and slick blazer just didn’t cut it. I have never felt so un-cool in my entire life. It wasn’t the models of designers that made me feel this way – it was the attendees. I saw someone wearing a brightly coloured peacock coat, there was a girl who had made her top out of tape. Someone else was walking around in wire mesh, and a man with long pink flowing hair and a bowler hat who crossed my path several times. Let’s be honest, I didn’t have a chance.
2) It takes two hours to get a model ready for a 5 minute walk
This was mind blowing for me – two hours?? But I kid you not, between each show there was a designated two hours for all the models to go through hair and makeup before their next appearance on stage. I have a strange new respect for models, there is no way I would be able to sit still for that long.
3) Most designers are pretty calm and collected when their show is on.
I don’t know why this was so surprising, but I guess in my head I had always thought that they would be stressing out behind the scenes with a manic clipboard in hand. Truth be told though, most of them are in the crowd talking to the people who matter and gauging their reactions and it’s their assistants who are manic. I also learnt that most designers have never met the models before the show and vice versa. They just turn up and get the job done.
4) Carbs are not on the menu – at all.
I worked close to a twelve hour day at London Fashion Week and didn’t see a single carb, not for lack of looking I might add. They served mini canapes which were no bigger than my thumb and everything looked suspiciously like salmon mousse, so I avoided them at all costs. Perhaps this is in order not to tempt the models, who had a permanent look of hunger on their faces, or maybe because no one who actually buys the clothes eats carbs, I don’t know. All I know is that I got death stares while eating my lunch-time kitkat!
5) Models do smile!
Contrary to popular belief, models can smile. Though not often, and it really does depend on the designer. I was lucky enough to see six shows that day, and out of all of them the one I loved was by gym wear designer Charli Cohen. Her entire show was based around millennials (being one herself) and she wanted her models to reflect this. All of her models were laughing and having fun, moving around and talking to each other. It may sound weird, but it made a huge difference and I found myself actually looking at the clothes with interest as opposed to confusion.
Being at London Fashion Week was nothing if not an experience. It’s not something I think I would ever pay to attend but having been, I understand why people do. My eyes were opened to a whole new world, where what you wear really does matter. I was surrounded by people who could spot high street clothes from a mile off and it was easy to see who belonged there and who didn’t. It was a fun day, but I don’t think I will be starting my own fashion line anytime soon.