So this giant nerd somehow scored a hair styling gig for Fashion Week last year, and I have been on the roster ever since.
It. Is. Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
After a decade in the hair industry and as somehow who thrives off of stress and the pressure of perfectionism, the beautiful madness of backstage at Fashion Shows really suits me. Need perfect straight hair on curly models with no power? Awesome, let's hide in the men's room and flat iron you! 100 models need to be styled and only 5 hair stylists are here? Let me drink my red bull and start working at Warp Speed!
I am lucky because I have the experience behind me to help me succeed at these shows.However, I have tons of newer stylists starting out that have big dreams and they get really crushed and stressed out when things start going completely crazy at these shows. I started teaming up with the New York Institute of Beauty (Who I do my bookings with for Fashion Week and a bunch of other cool events and photo shoots!) and we prepared a Fashion Week Bootcamp to help set up stylists for fashion shows. And while nothing can beat the actual experience, here are a few things you should know before signing up:
1) Suit up, Show up, Be prepared! If you commit to a show, show up! Last minute cancellations set everyone up to fail. If we book 12 stylists and only six show up, it creates a domino effect for everyone. Emergencies happen, but make sure you stay in touch and let someone know what's going on, because no showing is a sure way to never get booked again.
When you show up, be ready for anything. Have PROFESSIONAL TOOLS AND PRODUCTS!! Blow dryer, flat iron, multiple curling irons, brushes, clips, pins, rubber bands are all necessary, as well as tools for men's styling. I love boar bristle brushes for finishing styles, they create amazing shine and can smooth out styles really well. You want to make sure you are using products that are easy to work with and can hold a style. I like to have a workable hair spray for setting up a style, and a harder spray to finish with. Gels, pomades, shine sprays, oils are also amazing to have, especially for wet looks and men's grooming. Natural products for curly girls can also be super helpful, especially if they are keeping their hair curled.
2) BE PROFESSIONAL!!! Wearing all black and not showing up in a crop top and jeans would be the best bet. Seriously. We are backstage creating the styles. You want to look professional, not like you are walking the show, because it's all about the designer and how to emphasize their brand. Wear comfy shoes too. I am kicking myself for breaking in new shoes this week because standing for ten hours with blisters is a surefire way to have a miserable day. Dr Scholls insoles make your life soooo much better!
Be super aware of how you are speaking and conducting yourself. You are a professional hair stylist, so that's how you need to present yourself! Talk to your models about products, hand out cards to photographers, make sure you make some connections! I'd recommend making separate social media accounts for your work so instead of showing potential clients 30 snapchat selfies, you can start showcasing your work on a professional outlet. Always tag models, designers, and photographers too! (gotta give credit to get credit!) Remember, it's totally awesome to take tons of pictures to show off your work, but wait until after the show to post so you don't let the cat out of the bag for all the hard work the designer put in.
It is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out, especially when you are dealing with tons of people in a timed setting trying to create specific looks. I don't take any crap from anyone, but I don't talk crap about them either. If someone is being rude to you or not cooperating, let someone know, and I guarantee the situation will be handled. Handling any situation in a calm and professional manner is how you get rebooked for more events.
3) Practice, practice, practice. If creating soft waves, braids, or volume is a challenge for you, grab a friend or mannequin and keep practicing until you never second guess yourself again. Take a look at what designers you are working for and take a look at what styles are trending. Odds are you will be creating similar looks, so start playing with techniques and products to prepare yourself. The more you prepare, the more confident you will be styling backstage. There are so many amazing tutorials online, and a ton of classes available in this industry; it is so worth it to invest in your education to further your fashion goals.
I'm sure I will post some more actual styling tips and show off how to pack a kit and maybe one day some video demos that will help out a bit more. NYIB and I will be doing some more classes before the Spring Fashion Week as well, so if you really want to get hands on and prep with me, that would be the best opportunity! Until then, I gotta take a rest day, these shows are so fun, but giiiiiiiiiirl I am tired!