I hope you guys have been enjoying the new year so far!
I want to apologize for my lack of posts. 2014 ended up being a hectic and crazy year for me. This next post is lengthier than usual to make up for almost one year of my absence. After this, they should return to something more consistent.
Late last spring, I started making plans to host my very first fashion show. I’ll start by saying that the preparation for the show was INSANE. At certain points I literally felt like a chicken with its head cut off. I was anxious, stressed, frustrated, but also, excited, motivated and joyous.
As you all know, I had been involved with some runway shows in New York during the first part of the year. And what I saw was a lot of the same thing: tall, thin, white, blonde, young girls. There’s nothing wrong with this body type, but, women come in all shapes and sizes. So, I decided that I wanted to showcase inner beauty of all women by promoting different ethnicities, ages, body types, and heights.
Because this show would also be a huge way to introduce myself to the small fashion community in Pittsburgh, and be a catalyst for my own inner growth -like a butterfly breaking free from its chrysalis- I decided to call the event, the “Monarch Fashion Show”.
Poster designed by: Yesun Kaplan.
But, unfortunately, deciding to host a show is easier said than done.
Here’s what I wanted to do:
Find models on Model Mayhem with no overlapping qualities; I wanted each model to represent something unique from the others. Then, I wanted to meet one-on-one with each model to get their measurements, gauge their personality, note their skin tone and hair, among other things. Next, I would speak to boutique owners to introduce myself and suggest a mutually beneficial agreement in which I would promote their clothes and business in exchange for them lending me the items I need for 24 hours. Finally, I would be able to tailor select two outfits for at least 15 models.
Meanwhile, in the background, I would find a location central to the young college students who were my target audience. After putting my deposit down, I would measure the space and purchase the following items to decorate the room: a runway carpet of course, lights above and on the runway, a projector displaying the logos of all the clothing, head-shots and descriptions of each model hanging on the walls, drapes to section off where the models changed and pamphlets to hand out to guests.
I would hire a designer to create a poster. I would speak to stores such as Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, and JCPenny to obtain samples and gift cards to offer my guests in welcome bags. I would invite the press and women’s magazines. I would host an array of food and drinks to fit all dietary restrictions. In addition to the runway music, I would have a pre-show and after party playlist. Guests would be invited to stay after the show to meet me and the models. I would give out gift certificates for my services in hopes that these guests would bring in new business. This would be extra on top of the revenue I made from ticket sales, even after paying off show expenses.
Here’s what actually happened…
I started preparing four months in advance and I was mostly on track with what I needed to do, until a week before the show. Then I had someone who was close to me burn ties suddenly. I decided to cancel the show because I didn’t feel like I had the energy to perform at a level that my guests and models deserved. The models booked other jobs, my guests cancelled and signed up for other events. And I returned the clothes.
Three days before the show was supposed to happen, my business partner, Kim, helped kick my butt back into gear. I was a 110% on board, but the next three days really tested the strength of my character and challenged me in ways I would have never imagined.
Only four of the original models were able to stay on board. By some miracle, we were able to find six more in 24 hours. Many of these women had never modeled before, they were just ordinary people; but, now I think that made them even better for the show. I couldn’t go back to the original boutiques, I used my business credit card, to purchase clothing from stores like H&M, Nordstrom and Target based on the models pictures. Fortunately, everything fit and most models had at least two outfits. The deposit I placed on the venue was still valid, but now I had no guests. I spent $30 on Facebook promotion and people responded.
The day of the show was an absolute frenzy! My day started at 3 in the morning when I went to work. I never went to sleep that night. I got home around 11am, and immediately took my business partner to the grocery store to purchase food for a fruit platter, a veggie platter, a meat & cheese platter, and a hummus and pita platter. We also got ingredients for punch and specialty drinks. Models started arriving shortly after Kim and I returned. I started styling them as she prepared food and drinks. The models were kind enough to help out with some of the prep work, as well as finish each other’s makeup and hair. I sent them off clown-car style to the location while I gathered some last minute materials. We were so rushed that Kim and I almost left in our sweats!
We got to the venue and some of the guests were already there, sitting and chatting. The models were waiting in the changing area. We ran in with bags of clothes, lights, and food platters, set up a table for guests to snack while waiting, and then I went to give the models a final go over while Kim rolled out the carpet and readied the music and lights. I walked out and stood in front of the guests. I thanked them for their patience and support. And then the show finally started.
The guests witnessed a different side of fashion. My show was more about the model than the clothes. As a personal stylist, my goal is to put together outfits that reflect an individual’s personal style, creating looks that fit them best.
This show pushed me beyond the limits I thought I had, and in the end, it was worth it.
Thank you for continuing to follow my blog, and read my posts. Enjoy pictures from the show below.