7 Things You Only Know If You're A Model During Fashion Week
The Debrief: How much do they get paid? And do people actually eat?
It’s been 31 years since the very first London Fashion Week – the five-day feast of clothes and catwalks, which starts again tomorrow.
Once shrouded in mystery, the whole thing has become a lot more consumerable in recent years. Shows were once lived in the moment; they now live on, streamed online and recorded for eternity on YouTube. Reviews are immediate and on Instagram. Bloggers are abundant. Burgers are mini and champagne is free-flowing. But, if you're a model, is it actually as glamourous as all that?
We asked the people who know best – for some (surprisingly honest) answers:
1. How much you get paid totally depends on who you are
‘It totally varies, depending on the designer and on the model,’ says Vogue's Booking Agent Rosie Vogel. ‘It can be as little as £100 or up to something like £20k for a really big model. Some big designers actually pay very little – and some will pay the girls in clothes.’
2. Sleep is not a thing that happens. At all.
‘They will usually stay in hotels or model apartments,’ says Rosie. But no – they don’t get much sleep. ‘Fittings can go until the early hours of the morning and often, for morning shows, the call time can be as early as 5am – or earlier.’ (No answer on how they still managed to look half decent by the end, though.)
3. Anna Wintour isn't going to take a selfie with you
‘If you find yourself sitting next to Anna, keep yourself to yourself,’ says one anonymous insider, who’s worked with the woman who inspired The Devil Wears Prada for years. (Hence why she’s anonymous.) ‘Don't stare, don't touch, and whatever you do don't ask her if she will do a selfie with you. In fact, don't speak unless spoken to.’ And the lift thing? ‘Yes, it’s true that people get out when she gets in – but not because she demands it, people just assume she’ll want it so back away from her.’
4. Do models actually eat during Fashion Week?
According to David Waddington, who runs Bistrotheque and Hoi Polloi, the answer is yes. ‘They do! Loads! But it's generally more likely to be a pit stop for stomach-filling chips and cheese between shows, rather than nibbling caviar and canapés.’
4. Models might be getting paid pittance but the shows cost a fortune
Alexander Fury, fashion editor of The Independent says ‘Price-wise, they vary. And for a few houses, the sky is the limit. The train Louis Vuitton built for their A/W12 show reputedly cost £5 million. And that’s before the clothes.’
6. Stress levels at fashion shows is off the chain
‘It's exciting and the adrenaline is pumping and you kind of get into the zone of 'throw anything at me!',’ says PR supremo Mandi Lennard. ‘Seating plans aren't an exact science so you are always going to have issues, but it's how you respond to these, how you treat your "guests" and your attitude, that overcomes anything. There's a lot of mental preparation. My biggest problem is lack of sleep, and I find myself concentrating very very hard not to faint.’
7. Yes, a lot of people are on drugs
‘Fashion week is one of the busiest times of year for me. From making about £800 a week, I can earn nearly £4,000 if I bust my balls, basically because there are so many parties,’ says Andy, 27, a drug dealer based in London. ‘I have one mate from secondary school who turned out to be a model and she introduced me to a lot of her mates and I basically became the coke dealer for a little crew of models and photographers. When there's an aftershow party during LFW they put me down as a plus one and I go and make a killing. Sometimes I also deliver straight to the show. I get a taxi to backstage – which they have to cover – they run out, get in and I give it to them that way.’
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