Beginner’s Guide to Mercedez-Benz New York Fashion Week

Here is my personal, insider look at Mercedez-Benz New York Fashion Week.

If you have ever watched the show “America’s Next Top Model,” you can kind of get the sense of craziness that is Fashion Week.

Tyra Banks has her girls running all over the city to go-sees and castings, trying on clothes, walking for big names, and all within a five hour time frame. Sounds like a handful, right? Similar deal for models during fashion week.

MBFW CASTINGS: Tourists and locals know a couple of weeks before Mercedez-Benz New York Fashion Week, that a whirlwind is coming. “Invasion of the tall pretty girls,” someone told me in an elevator this last September. You know you’re a part of something big when you have 10 castings all with different time frames and locations and you’re running around, seeing so many other models about. The time before Fashion Week is crazy, invigorating, and fun. However, you have to make sure you’re keeping yourself in tip-top condition. Here are 12 pointers to remember while on castings for Fashion Week (some more obvious than others):

    1. Always have flats to run around in
    2. Always have clean and simple heels you can walk well in
    3. Always have your book and comp cards
    4. Have makeup on hand for touch ups
    5. Have band-aids in your bag for your feet. You will probably need them
    6. Bring snacks and water to sustain you throughout the day
    7. Planning your route ahead of time will save you!
    8. Be prepared for additional castings to be added to your day
    9. Don’t naively trust everything other models tell you–they will try to bring you down!
    10. Have Hopstop on your phone or a subway map to help navigate
    11. Be dressed appropriately–ask yourself, will people be able to tell that you’re a model on the streets? If so, you’re looking good!
    12. Be fierce! Bring your A-game. Be in shape, and stand out. Personality is key.

MBFW SHOWS: Don’t get too down on yourself if you only booked one or two small shows. It’s ok, it’s only your first time! There is always next season, and you will have more experience than the last.

Chances are, you could be still going to castings while you have shows. You could have two shows in the morning, a casting to go to, and another show all the way across town. So when you’re dressing for shows, don’t think comfy, think: castings. You’re in New York. You have to look amazing. There are photographers, press, iconic figures all about during Fashion Week time.

One thing to note is that many of the New York Fashion Week shows pay very little or only pay in trade, so this is mainly for your image, clothes, exposure and fun. Mingle where you can and take all the press you can get for your image. Maintain a professional appearance and, most importantly, have fun!

AFTER MBFW: It is incredibly easy to find images of yourself after Mercedez-Benz New York Fashion Week is over. Just keep a list of all the shows you are walking for, and look them up when you are home. I almost guarantee you that there will be photos up of your show in less than 12 hours. Check all your bases. I’ve had the most success searching on Google, YouTube, and Instagram.

Keep this list of shows you’ve walked for to keep track of who owes you clothes. Some designers may give you clothes right away. You might get to take home whatever you are wearing. Other designers will collect your information or have you select from a sheet or website. Assuming you’re agency represented, most of the designers will go solely through your agency and the agent should notify you of your trade clothes. Don’t let anyone get away without compensating you in some way. Make sure to keep asking about when the clothing will come in. Ask either the designer/contact or your agency.

OTHER SHOWS: Here is a list of some other names I’ve heard tossed around during fashion week. (There are also individual showings of collections that are a smaller portion of Fashion Week).

  1. New Jersey Fashion Week
  2. Small Boutique Fashion Week
  3. Brooklyn Fashion Week[end]

So even if you’re not a huge part of Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week or you don’t have agency representation yet, there is a way to be a part of all the action. You can find casting calls on many online sites including Craigslist and Model Mayhem. If you have good connections, you may also find out about events and designers searching for models through word-of-mouth.

Best of Luck!

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

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