Have you ever wondered how all those runway shows happen? We see the fabulous stoic models on Vogue Runway dripping in opulence - How DO they do it? The whole thing? Well, Julia is a part of how they happen. This week we are spotlighting a member of our very own team, Julia Tatone! This Spring 2023 season, she worked backstage at NYFW for the first time. We decided to conduct a small Q&A to talk about her experience for any aspiring designers or creatives who are curious how our most stylish pieces fall into place.
Hi Julia! For our readers, where do you attend school/what year/major, etc?
Hi! I’m Julia and I am a current junior at Michigan State University! I’m majoring in Apparel, Marketing and Textile Design with a minor in Spanish!
Where are you from?
I’m from Farmington, Michigan.
Tell me a little bit about why you love fashion. What got you interested in fashion?
I think my mom and my grandma started my fashion obsession from a young age. They always took me shopping and made sure I was included. My parents also allowed me to be very free with my clothing choices and didn’t stifle my creativity which, I think, helped me explore fashion and my own personal style.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion design?
After taking every art class under the sun, I finally took a fashion illustration class at the Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center in middle school and I fell in love with it! I loved the idea of creating anything I wanted and being able to showcase my thoughts, feelings, and my personal style! I continued taking fashion courses and found myself at SCAD for a pre-college program where one of my TA’s mentioned a fashion merchandising/marketing course - this was my epiphany moment. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more than be surrounded by fellow creatives and work with them to build a brand!
Was this spring your first time working behind-the-scenes for New York Fashion Week?
Yes! I never thought it was even a possibility to go to NYFW so this was a huge opportunity for me!
Was it your first time in New York City? How do you like it?
My grandma and my mom actually took me to NYC for the first time when I was 13 and I immediately loved it! I had been to New York a few more times after, and the city never disappoints!
Have you worked on any runway shows before?
I worked on a smaller boutique fashion show over the summer– and this was a great starting point to see how the event was planned, but it was very different from this experience!
Give us a day-in-the-life synopsis of working under a designer during Fashion Week.
The entire day, in a nutshell, is crazy! From the moment I arrived, there was always something to do. Of course, I woke up so nervous and didn’t know what to expect for the day, but the minute I arrived at the venue everyone was so helpful and showed me the ropes and even let me help out with other tasks! By the end of the night I was exhausted of course, but I had such a sense of accomplishment knowing I was a part of this show!
What kind of tasks were you doing?
My initial job was coordinating invites, RSVPs, and seating/ check in for the actual show. When I got there, I didn’t really have anything to do at first, so the styling team let me help out with taping shoes and steaming clothes! Then, I began the seating process because there were actually 4 designers showing that night, and the seats were pews! This was a very challenging part of the night, from organizing the seats with other designer’s assistants, to somehow numbering the ‘seats’ even though there were no individual spots, it definitely took me a while!
Finally, I had to check in all of the guests as they walked in. I loved being able to meet everyone that I had only been communicating with virtually and it was a very cool experience overall! Everyone was so nice and greeted me like we had known each other for years!
Does doing this kind of work excite you, or stress you out?
I love staying busy and it actually reduces my stress when I have multiple things to do! This entire experience was so exciting and so motivating to keep working towards my goals in the fashion industry.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
My favorite part was checking in the guests and seeing them as they left! I didn’t expect so many of them to say hi to me, or even know who I was as I was checking them in (because there were guests for the other 3 designers as well), but immediately when they found out that I was working for Anna they were so excited to finally meet me and I was glad to make an impact like that.
Who did you work with?
I worked with Anna Zhou for ORAZ.
Did you see any garments you fell in love with?
Anna had an AMAZING performance piece with dancers under a veil which was a show stopper. Her finale piece was also breathtaking backstage and even more amazing walking down the runway! Her pieces looked so good in the venue they were all so amazing!
Will you work Fashion Week again in fall, next year, or in the future at all?
I hope so! I would also love to experience Fashion Week in different cities to see if the experience differs at all.
Does this firsthand work experience change your perspective of fashion shows?
Although I knew that a lot of hard work goes into a fashion show, I didn’t realize how many little details there are. You don’t think about it until you’re working backstage and actually have to complete the tasks! I think the styling really impressed me because there are so many things you have to think about and so many little accessories that could make or break a look and how it is perceived on the runway.
You are currently still in school studying. Would you recommend this kind of work experience to your peers who also want to work in fashion?
I would definitely recommend it! It gave me such a great insight into what the fashion world is actually like: not just the TikTok montages that show runway clips or styling hacks, but what really goes on behind the scenes and how much time, effort, and energy goes into making a show run smoothly.