What It's Like to Be a Fashion Intern During Fashion Week
For a few minutes, as models strut down the runway in the season’s most glamorous creations, a fashion show becomes a scene of breathtaking perfection. But those who call Fashion Week work will tell you that the lead-up and aftermath can be chaotic, mundane, and downright absurd. We’ve asked industry pros, from a front-row photographer to a fashion editor, exactly what the week is like for them. Here, former BCBGMAXAZRIA Group fashion intern Andi Morales details her typical NYFW day working two fashion shows. Come back all week for more insider perspectives.
4:50 a.m. I woke up already late for my longest day of shows. I was exhausted, partially from the time change (I skipped school at Iowa State University in the Midwest to work NYFW), and partially from the night before, when I had to find a new place to sleep.
The night before, I had been at work until 11 p.m. helping to prep gift bags for the BCBGMAXAZRIA show guests, and by the time I’d finished working and made it to my friend's apartment, she’d fallen asleep on me and didn't open the door. I was left sitting outside her apartment with all my luggage. Thankfully, I saw my coworker on Snapchat was still at the office, so I texted her and asked to stay with her, and sweetly, she let me. A few tears and one $70 Uber ride later, I hit my pillow at 2 a.m.
5:30 a.m. I ran to the closest CVS because it’s open super early, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat for the rest of the day. I grabbed a granola bar and an apple, then headed for the Subway (and went a stop too far, of course).
6:05 a.m. I finally arrived at the Skylark, where the BCBGMAXAZRIA show would be in about four hours. I was slightly late and freaking out, but I got there. Since I was a PR intern for BCBG the summer before, they put me at the front to check people in at the entrance—which was boring as hell.
7 a.m. My boss finally came over and asked, “Do you really want to work this?" She offered me a job helping the team backstage with press passes and celebrity wrangling, to which I said, “Hell yeah, dude!”
My new task was to escort all our front row celebrities through press and to their seats. The celebrities were coming at 8 a.m., so as soon as I got backstage, we were briefed on who was coming.
8 a.m. Then the celebrities started arriving. My first celebrity was Annet Mahendru from the show The Americans. I was supposed to pick her up from her car at 8 a.m. in front of the Skylark, but when I get to her ride, she wasn't in the car.
8:30 a.m. I ran back through the building and thankfully found her outside of the press conference room, and all was well. (I found out later that she had gotten out at the end of the block because traffic was so bad and she was getting impatient—I don’t blame her.)
9:30 a.m. I found my other celebrity, Alexandra Richards (one of Keith Richards’s daughters), and helped her to her seat in the front row.
9:45 a.m. I looked for a seat for myself, since they had told the interns that once we sat our celebrities down, we could find a seat anywhere in the audience—just not front row, which is pretty understandable.
9:55 a.m. Of course I literally couldn't find an open seat beyond the front row.
10 a.m. The next thing I knew, I stumbled next to the runway and people came up to me yelling, “Where are you supposed to be sitting?” One girl said, “We don’t have time for this!” and sat me down front row, right next to Keith Richards’s daughter. I knew for a fact I wasn't supposed to be there, but it was what it was.
10:05 a.m. Alexandra Richards told me my thigh-high boots were cute. I replied, “Thanks! They’re from DSW!” a bit too enthusiastically. The show began.
10:20 a.m. The show was over as fast as it started, and we all get up. I escorted my celebrities outside so they could make it to their next shows.
10:30 a.m. Everyone started taking pictures backstage and congratulating Max Azria and his wife, Lubov.
11 a.m. I had another show at 4 p.m., so I left the Skylark with some time to kill and went to SoHo in search of a coffee shop.
12 p.m. I found a Starbucks and went inside to charge my phone, grab some lunch, and decompress. I sat around on my phone and made sure I knew the exact time I needed to be at the next venue and how to get there.
3:20 p.m. I arrived at Adam Selman’s venue 20 minutes early. It’s a much more intimate show, so I didn’t need to be there hours ahead of time to prep. Still, I wanted to be early. One of my sorority sisters was working at PR Consulting, so she and I started chatting and catching up.
3:30 p.m. My sorority sister introduced me to her boss, who walked me through the seating chart and who was going to sit where.
3: 45 p.m. I got to the entrance to work check-in with three other PR Consulting interns and we start setting down the seating charts on chairs around the runway. Slowly people start coming in. We escorted the models to the back as they arrived. Not many people were allowed in the back, so I decided to stay up front for most of the show.
4 p.m. I escorted a former Miss Universe and Joey Bada$$ to their seats.
4:30 p.m. One of the other interns kept trying to get a security guy to let her backstage to take pictures. He kept saying, “Absolutely not. You’re just an intern. You can’t go back there.” Nevertheless, she tried giving him excuses that ranged from “But I’m actually a blogger!” to “I need to get my phone charger.”
5 p.m. The intern finally gave up. The show began.
5:25 p.m. The show ended, and I finally got to go backstage to get a charger from someone else—my charger had stopped working—and snap some post-show photos.
5:45 p.m. There was an after party somewhere nearby, so some of the interns were leaving to go work that, but I didn't. It was a hectic day, I had been up for almost 14 hours, and I was starving.
7 p.m. One of the other interns and I grabbed dinner in Greenwich Village near the show venue.
9:15 p.m. I got back to my friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side and think about everything that had happened. I decided I would totally do it again. I originally wanted to do this because I love the hustle and bustle of New York, but catching a glimpse of the unbelievable craftsmanship of the clothes and watching artists paint on intricate makeup was more exciting and inspiring than I could have ever imagined.
Everyone was stressed and angry at times, but that’s all part of the energy. And when you get a second to realize, oh this is a really cool fashion show, or oh this is really awesome what we're putting together, it’s all worth it.
9:20 p.m. I passed out.