Backstage Pass: NYFW from Behind the Runway

With New York Fashion Week well underway, it’s easy to get lost in the dizzying fantasy of what’s hitting the runway—whether you’re one of the lucky few to attend the shows or find yourself spending hours scrolling through and daydreaming about a closet full of next season’s clothes. However, from a working girl’s perspective, the appeal lies not on what the show-goer sees as a model glides down the runway, but rather in the chaos that occurs backstage and behind the scenes.

Prepared looks backstage at Katie Gallagher S/S '15
Prepared looks backstage at Katie Gallagher S/S ’15

I’ve had the opportunity to work backstage at shows since the age of seventeen and with each new season, I find myself longing to be surrounded by a bevy of designers, models, stylists and a host of creative talents more than I desire to sit front row. Perhaps that simply comes with the gratification of seeing the hard work pay off. After assisting designers and stylists for days, weeks or months in preparation for a show, those precious few minutes during which the collection makes its way down the catwalk are everything.

Casting director talking with models before the show
Casting director talking with models before the show

That’s not to say that working backstage is as glamorous as one might think. Days before the collection even hits the stage, time is spent casting the right models for the show; fitting garments that took months of inspiration, research, design and production; styling every look in order to fit the story the designer is trying to tell; and creating a seamless lineup of the right looks in order to send the most accurate representation of the designer’s vision to an audience who probably has about ten more shows to attend that day. These are all of the meticulous decisions that must be made before the show rolls around, as there is absolutely no time to waste backstage before showtime.

Jordyn Payne is a contributing writer. Email her at 


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