10 Things I Learned During My First Fashion Week
by founder, corinne foxx
When I first began modeling, I went in with the attitude that I would never walk runway. Being 5’7” (5’8” on a good day), I am nowhere near your stereotypical amazonian runway model; and being black, I got myself a booty too. So, last September, when I booked the Yeezy fashion show, I was sure that they asked for the wrong person. Low and behold, I found myself squeezed between some of the most beautiful women, feeling like any minute someone was going to ask me if I was a production assistant. Fortunately, I couldn’t have asked for a better first runway experience. Even more fortunately, a few months later, I got booked to fly across the world and walk for the Dolce and Gabbana fashion show in Milan. As a fish out of water, here’s what I learned about international fashion weeks…
#1 - There will be food
When I found out that I would be walking in the Dolce & Gabbana show in Milan, one of my first and most impending concerns was that I would be in a city filled with every form of carb that I love and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. Well, as Donald Trump would say, “Wrong.” The fashion world is fast-paced and a workout in itself to navigate. Therefore, when you do have time to eat, all you’ll want is a big ole’ bowl of fresh pasta. Trust me, a salad just isn’t going to give you the energy that you need to make it through the day.
#2 - You’re going to be naked (and nobody is going to care)
I’m not a shy person when it comes to getting changed in front of people. I’ve never been the girl awkwardly changing in her towel at the gym. But, in the fashion world, you need to be ready be full on naked at any moment. There is really no time to think or question it. Outfit changes and fittings are quick. The wardrobe department needs to get those clothes on/off you and they don't care how much of you they have to see to do it. Being naked just realIy isn’t a big deal here.
#3 - It takes a village
There is a complete shift in tone between what you see on the runway and what is going on backstage. Just until the moment you step on stage, there are hundreds of crew members touching you up, counting you off, getting you in line, fixing your shoes, etc. Some models are even getting sewn into their outfits just as they step onto the stage. But once you’re walking, all the tension leaves your body. You must be elegant and poised - not sweating like you were a few moments ago. While the designers and models get most of the credit afterwards, the unsung heroes of the fashion world are everyone who helps put it together (hair, makeup, PAs, catering).
#4 - The designers are actually involved
For some reason, I was under the impression that the designers were not actually a part of the fashion show experience. Yeah sure, they designed the clothes a few months ago. But, when it came to fittings, choosing outfits, getting to the know models, I thought the designers were probably too busy, too important or too lofty to actually deal with the details. During the Yeezy show and the Dolce and Gabbana show, the designers were completely hands on with each model, stitching almost every button into its exact place. For me, it’s been fascinating to see these huge personalities, completely enveloped in their craft.
#5 - It’s a bit like summer camp
This was probably one of my favorite parts about the Dolce and Gabbana show. It felt like a big summer camp. Even though I was only in Milan for 4 days, I spent those 4 days flying, eating, sleeping, prepping and rehearsing with these women and men. All I kept thinking was, “Oh now I get why Kendall and Gigi have their squad.” It’s so hard not to get close to people and bond during these experiences. You’re tired, anxious, excited, overwhelmed and overjoyed. In order to survive, you need to find your people and get through it together. Plus, once you're done with the show, you’ll be so glad that you have a squad to get loose with at the after party. We ended up demolishing the dance floor at the after party, then getting into our pjs and watching the Oscars together until 6am. Talk about memories.
#6 - You won’t get much sleep
Not a big surprise here. Show prep is long hours and, with jet lag, you probably won't be able to sleep anyways. However, I realized that you don’t need that much sleep to function during fashion week. I spent most days running off of 3 hours of sleep (and I don’t drink coffee), but my adrenaline saved me. I didn't even realize how exhausted I was, until I sat down in my seat on the plane home. 13 hours of the most blissful sleep I’ve ever had.
#7 - Explore the city (if you have free time to)
I was lucky enough to have some free time to spare, in between fittings and rehearsal. It left me a few hours to explore the city and do some site-seeing. Cue: Me sitting on top of one of those touristy red buses with a headset, learning about Milan’s history. What I didn’t expect is how much understanding the city would effect my understanding of the brand. I was able to see the clothes in a new light, as I better understood the people and the city that inspired them.
#8 - Models come in all shapes and sizes
Of course, I knew that models come in all shapes and sizes before I came to Milan. Refreshingly, the Dolce & Gabbana FW 17/18 show made a point to cast extremely diverse models. From body type to age range to skin color, I saw the most beautiful women in every form. It took me back to my initial concern about being too short to walk runway. By seeing such beautiful women comfortable in their own skin, I was pleasantly reminded that we are growing towards a society, not completely dominated by conventional standards of beauty.
#9 - Traveling alone is a liberating (and scary) feeling
I am no newbie to traveling. It’s one of my favorite things to do. However, as a boarded the plane to Milan, I realized that I had never travelled outside the country completely by myself. From kidnapping stories to googling the crime rate in Milan, every possible negative thought went through my head. However, when I touched down, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of calm and liberation. Every decision, every site, every restaurant that I went to was chosen by me for me. While, I wasn’t completely alone the entire time (my dad flew out for the show), the few moments of being alone in another country allowed me to connect with myself on a new level.
#10 - It’s one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life
At the end of the day, as tired as I was, I couldn’t have been more thankful for the experience. I met some of the most creative, passionate, inspiring people in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It may be a crazy week, but it’s unlike any other.