6 September 2014

(Photo credit - Maddy Budd)

Going to fashion week (even as a volunteer) definitely has a going-on-camp kind of vibe. It feels like a whole different world (especially as a student) and the atmosphere is always buzzing; and by the end of the week, everyone is so tired and ready for bed, but they also don't quite want it to end. Being a volunteer dresser at NZFW isn't exactly the most glamorous role, but it was definitely still a busy, insightful and fun-filled week that I'll always remember. I dressed for a total of 7 shows, and also managed to attend a few as well. Read on for my experience at the most fashion-filled week of the year.

(Photo credit - Thread NZ)

Tuesday: Nom*D - 11:00am
Monday was registration day (no dressers required), so the first show my team was scheduled for was Nom*D at 11am on Tuesday; the opening show of NZFW. Backstage was packed out with media/photographers/other important people, and the models' hairstyle of choice created some difficulties when putting tops on/off. Luckily, the hair dressers (/artists) were always around to fix up any mishaps with a whole lot of hairspray. Those poor models would have had a grand time trying to get all that product out of their hair after the show.
New Generation Show - 1:00pm
The New Generation show featured Amber Whitecliffe (my personal fave), Wendy Jared & Desiree. This show was a bit more relaxed than Nom*D backstage in terms of the amount of people in the room. However, there were a few crisis moments of pumps not fitting the models feet properly and slipping off (not ideal when you're meant to be doing some serious strutting). The fix for this was foam stuffing & a whole lot of tape in order to keep their feet in the shoe. Apparently, this is a pretty common problem, which explains why the head dressers were always carrying about 3 rolls of tape with them. While pumps do look fab, shoes with an ankle strap seem to be a wiser choice. On a more positive note though, how amazing was Amber's summer collection..! It made me want to hop on a plane to somewhere tropical and bask in the sunshine wearing this dress all day.

(Photo credit - NZ Fashion Week & Thread NZ)

Wednesday: New Zealand Weddings Magazine Collection - 2:00pm
I was originally only scheduled to do Pia's show that day, but was asked to help out with the wedding show beforehand as well (because as you can imagine, wedding dresses can be a bit of a mission to get in and out of). The gowns were absolutely stunning, and it was amazing to be able to view them up close. The designers really put in so much work and attention to detail to their pieces. I think the little flower girls/boys stole the show though; too cute!
Pia - 3:00pm
I was so excited to be assigned to dress for one of my favourite NZ designers, Pia. I was a little late due to being at the wedding show, so when I arrived backstage at the upper runway, the models were already there. I was assigned to Dominique, who I immediately recognised as the blogger behind Rad As Bro, one of the very first blogs I discovered when I first started blogging. Needless to say, I was rather excited meet her/be dressing her for the show! I absolutely adore Pia's Summer collection; the pastel colours, playful designs and hint of metallics have me way too ready for summer (as if I wasn't ready enough)
Resene Designer Showcase - 5:00pm
This was the show that us volunteers got a free ticket to for helping pack goodie bags (more details here). It was so nice to be able to watch the show as part of the audience for the first time, instead of scrambling around backstage. Although I couldn't help but think about all the work that was going on behind the scenes now that I had been a part of it. The show featured a collection of various designers that were showing at fashion week, as well as a fun display of Jockey's latest underwear range. However, at the end of the Jockey section, there seemed to be a few technical difficulties that resulted in the music cutting out. And that's when everyone realised how awkward it is to watch a bunch of attractive people walk down the middle of a room half naked in silence.. Luckily, they got it sorted in time for the finale walk, so all was well in the end.

(Photo credit - Trish Peng)

Thursday: Trish Peng - 1:30pm
My team was assigned to dress for one of the morning shows, but I couldn't make it due to commitments at Uni (I figured needed to attend at least some lectures that week since I'd already missed quite a few). However, I still got my fashion week fix that day because I had managed to score some tickets to Trish Peng's show through her Facebook page. The pieces were classic and flawless, featuring elegant silhouettes and bright block colours, as well as some fun ready to wear separates. Also, no one pulls off off-the-shoulder dresses better than Trish ♥

Friday: Miromoda show - 11:00am
This was actually suppose to be my day off from all things NZFW related; however, I decided last minute to try and get a door sale ticket to the Miromoda show (since they had sold out online). So I pretty much power-walked the whole way down to the events centre straight from uni, arriving at approximately 10:58am. When I got there, it seemed like the show was yet to start because they were still waiting on people to fill the seats. Being the last official day of fashion week, a lot of the delegates couldn't make it to the show/were probably just too tired. I think this was definitely to my advantage since I managed to get a ticket, and then subsequently got asked to sit front row..! I was super excited, but also slightly horrified as I realised I was wearing my dirty old converse that day (which I tried to hide behind the goodie bag). The show featured 12 emerging & established Maori fashion designer; my favourites were (of course) Amber Whitecliffe & Pia, as well as Kylie Mangan & Sofia Aroha. After the show, I managed to talk to my ultimate fashion blogger girl crush, Connie Cao from K is for Kani, who was sitting about 5 seats away from me. I was so glad I managed to pluck up the courage to say hi; she was so sweet and friendly, while I think I sounded super flustered because I was slightly star struck..!

(Photo credit - Amber Whitecliffe)

Saturday:  Resene Designer Selection Show by Cleo - 7:00pm
This time around, I was dressing for the Designer Selection Show, and boy was it crazy! Each model had about 5 different outfits (including shoe changes) with minimal time between each change. It was all hands on deck; luckily, the models had already done the same show three times before so they were pretty familiar with the process.

Sunday:  New Zealand Weddings Magazine Collection - 11:30pm
Again, my team was asked to help with the wedding show even though we weren't scheduled for it, since they were really short on dressers on Sunday (probably absent due to end of week exhaustion). I was assigned to dress Lelani, who I realised about halfway through the show was actually Lani from Lani Says (bringing the total number of 'bloggers whose blogs I read/models I dressed at fashion week' up to two!). Her final piece was a giant (and heavy) John Zimmerman piece that involved two extremely fluffy tulle underskirts and the actual gown to go over top; it reminded me of one of those doll cakes that every little girl wanted for their birthday (me included).
Cleo presents Spring Break - 1:30 pm
My last show as a dresser for NZFW 2014! This show was similar to the Designer Selection Shows in that it featured a mixture of pieces from different brands/designers; the only difference being that all items were available to purchase in store straight away. It also featured a few appearances from some rather handsome Cleo Bachelors; always a plus. After this show, I spent a good few hours trawling through the Lonely Lingerie boxes at the Designer Garage Sale. It was a bit of a mission, but definitely worth it to pick up these gems at an incredible price.

(Photo credit - Cleo)

Apologies for the extremely text heavy post; if you've made it this far down, I truly applaud your efforts! All in all, I really enjoyed my experience as a volunteer at NZFW this year. I think it's a great way for non-media/bloggers/ photographers/buyers to be able to experience the excitement of the week. I loved being able to see all the collections up close, as well as the sheer amount of work/effort/people required to put together a 20 minute show. The role can be quite time consuming, but if you love fashion or would like to see what fashion week is all about, I definitely recommend putting your hand up for this next year!


  1. This looks like such an amazing opportunity and actually sounds like so much fun! Urgh I wish my area had something like this :(

    Yuen @ The Craziest Paradigm - fashion, beauty + lifestyle