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Behind The Scenes: The Faces of Fashion Week

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One question I get ALOT before, during and after NYFW is how exactly it works, how a regular girl like me has evolved into being a NYFW “regular” and what actually goes on behind the scenes. I’ve been attending Fashion Week regularly for the past 4 years and I can definitely say it has been a journey. I’d consider myself a pro at this point. Fashion Week happens twice a year here in NYC and today is the beginning of yet another fashion- filled season!

So what exactly happens during NYFW? What roles do fashion week attendees play? And how did a blogger like myself become a Facemaker (someone who helps catapult young talent like super models to the forefront of their careers!) Here’s a brief cheat sheet of all the important players during NYFW including a few quotes from newbie modeltestants of Oxygen’s reality competition “The Face”:

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The Designers

This is the time of year that designers take center stage. They premiere their seasonal collections and every detail has to be right – from the models to the clothing and the ambience of their show. Editors and critics alike will be there for all of 15-20 minutes to take in everything these designers have been working on for the past 5-6 months.

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The Models

Models are fashion week’s mannequins. They don’t just have to look pretty. They have to sell the clothing and be representatives of the overall looks – from the designer’s clothes to the hair and makeup brands sponsoring the shows. It’s not as easy as it looks!

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I spoke with a few newbie modeltestants of Oxygen’s reality competition “The Face” who have attended NYFW. Here’s what they say is the hardest part of working NYFW:

Isabelle Bianchi:

“…the hardest thing I think is people don’t realize all the hard work and hours [that] actually go into modeling during fashion week. I mean we have 10 to 12 castings a day that we have to run around the city [for]. We’re not all as lucky as our super model coaches [whom] get directly booked for jobs.”

Afiya Bennett:

“​….several castings when it’s freezing outside and, you know, just having several shows to attend during the week. Taking care of your hair, you know, you have a whole bunch of products in your hair after each show [so] going home and washing your hair [to be] ready for the next show.”

Season 2 of Oxygen’s The Face starts Wednesday, March 5th at 10/9c. 

The Beauty Brands

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Many fashion designers actually partner up with hair, nail and makeup brands to not only help them accomplish the beauty looks that will go with their clothing, but also to help offset the cost of producing a major show. In exchange for premiering their products backstage and being an exclusive provider of products, these brands sometimes pay a fee to the designer.

The Glam Squad

No show can run without a super star glam squad! There is a huge team of makeup artists, hair stylists, nail technicians and dressers who help models get ready backstage. The show can’t run without professionals to make the models look amazing.

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The Editors

All of this pomp & circumstance is for the critics. The magazine editors that attend the shows include those who will write about the collection, those who will pull from the collections for shoots and those who will determine if the designer’s collection deserves to be seen or talked about.

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The Bloggers

Recent additions to the fashion week circuit, bloggers serve similar roles to editors but in “real time”. They provide timely critiques of the collections – often posting about the shows within hours and posting “first looks” via social media. Bloggers with large social media followings can often be found front row at NYFW.

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This was unheard of years ago, but times have changed. Hence someone like me, who hasn’t been an editor at VOGUE per se but happens to have a unique perspective and a collective audience (you guys!) that designers appreciate or want, now has access to this elite event! I never take it for granted that I’m allowed an opportunity like this. Everyone has to start somewhere! And the democratization of the fashion industry allows people like me, girls like Isabelle and Afiya (modeltestants I interviewed above) and more to enter what used to be a very closed-off world!

Now that you have a quick cheat sheet of all the players involved in NYFW – any other questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section! 

Check out the exclusive trailer for Oxygen’s The Face Season 2. Seems like it’s going to be huge!

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Oxygen’s The Face through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Oxygen’s The Face, all opinions expressed herein are my own.