Students gain first-hand experience at New York Fashion Week

Although it may seem impossible, many students interested in the fashion industry divide their time between the classroom and the catwalk.

nyfw Courtesy of Izabella Zalewski/THE REVIEW
Izabella Zalewski at NYFW during the Vivienne Hu show.

Senior Reporter

When New York Fashion Week is brought up, images of famous supermodels, glitz and glamour come to mind. However, many fashion week workers are college students just like us. Many students have the chance to “shadow” professionals and be immersed in the hectic, sometimes insane yet rewarding fashion world.

But how do they deal with all the pressures from being both a full-time college student and being involved in the fashion industry?

Three college students shared their experience with the world-famous New York Fashion Week (NYFW). One student was a model in the show, another helped out behind the scenes and the last one met with designers and their business teams during that week. NYFW is a week where fashion defies all the norms.

Izabella Zalewski is currently a freshman at Fordham University majoring in global business with a concentration in global marketing. For this year’s Fashion week, she walked down the runway for two shows — one for Vivienne Hu and another for Sania Maskatiya and Patricia Wijaya. In spite of walking in multiple shows, Zalewski was able to find a balance between modeling and academics.

“For me, fashion week wasn’t as stressful because I made sure school was a priority,” Zalewski says. “I wanted to go to more castings, but I made sure to tell my agent that college was first. I only went to two castings, but it was because I never wanted to miss a class.”

Her typical show day would start at 6 or 7 p.m. and would end at 10 p.m., after the 15-minute show was over. She would have to sit through hours of makeup and hairstyling just to be on the runway for a quick photo.

Zalewski finds it more stressful to walk on the runway wearing a heavy, beaded dress in front of hundreds of people than to sit in a classroom waiting for a test. For her last show, the designers decided last-minute that she should walk on stage without any shoes.

Without the work behind the scenes, the show would never happen, which is where university students Sabrina Romanko and Abby Treers were able to get hands-on experience with the fashion industry.

Romanko, who is currently a junior at the university who is studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City to earn an associates degree in fashion business management. She was able to go to FIT through a fashion program that the university offers. Her job during fashion week was being a dresser.

“A dresser is responsible for preparing the clothes and dressing the models and making sure everything looks good up until the very last second,” Romanko says.

For Romanko, dealing with the stress of being a full-time student while working to gain connections in the fashion industry was “definitely insane.”

She had to make sure she wasn’t missing any classes while volunteering to work shows.

“Basically, during fashion week, it comes down to homework and then fashion shows and maybe a quick bite to eat somewhere between that,” Romanko says.

On the other hand, Treers was involved with the business side of the fashion industry. She attended NYFW through the IMG College Licensing fashion program, which she was nominated for by the university’s Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies. IMG College Licensing and IMG’s fashion events division partnered together to provide 15 students with an opportunity to experience NYFW and the fashion industry.

She attended a Macy’s brunch and a presentation by the brand’s team about their opportunities and merchandising teams. Meeting important people from the fashion industry, such as Elaine Welteroth, who was a former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue, was also on the agenda.

Many of the students that are involved in the fashion business know that keeping up with stress from classes and shows is what makes NYFW a phenomenal experience.

As Treers says, “NYFW is an experience in itself.”


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