Tuesday, 23 February 2016

My experience as a LFW runner

I'm going to try and keep this post to the minimum length possible which I know is going to be a task in itself because I have SO MUCH TO SAY. I had the opportunity to intern at London Fashion Week this season (*squeals*) which had felt like the best and yet most terrifying opportunity at the same time and so whilst my thoughts on the experience and aching feet are still fresh in my mind, I wanted to upload this post for anyone wanting to know more about being a LFW runner. The opportunity came about in a sort of 'it's not what you know but who you know' kinda way which I suspect is how many things in the fashion world work; my lovely friend Ellie who runs my fave blog of all time (www.elliesfavouritethings.com) contacted me on Twitter about the job which involved working for one a half days of fashion week with a creative fashion platform (On|Off) which showcases emerging and established talent at fashion week that she was also interning with. I've been browsing opportunities for internships and placements for a while now because I'm more than fully aware that in the fashion industry these are just as important as your degree but whilst I'm studying 3 hours outside of London, it was proving tricky. Ellie was the loveliest human on the planet and offered to let me stay with her in London whilst I completed the placement and I am SO SUPER grateful because without that the whole thing could never have happened.

ANYWAY, long rambly intro over, the placement involved working from 8am-11pm on the Friday and then clearing away after the show and packing down everything on the Saturday morning. I was fully prepared for how long the first day was going to be and had brought a tonne of snacks with me as well as my comfiest chelsea boots to avoid blisters but oh how wrong I was; NOTHING COULD PREPARE ME. I had very little knowledge of what the placement would involve before arriving and just knew that I would be helping out backstage with odd jobs and whatever needed doing to assist with the show, in reality it felt kinda like a manual labour placement in which I was carrying ALL the things and running around. It was hectic. That's an understatement to be honest. I was fully aware that fash week was a crazy busy time and knew from my working hours that it wouldn't be a relaxing placement but boy did I underestimate just how full on it would be. I really enjoyed being a runner as a whole and the experience is completely invaluable and so worthwhile, just a little crazy and a lot manic too. 

A list of things I did not expect to do at fashion week but by the end of the day seemed completely normal:
-Push 60 bags of ice down Oxford Street in a Sainsbury's trolley
-Cleaning chocolate milkshake off the floor whilst dodging models
-Go on a hunt for a very particular white wine that Rankin (as in the Rankin) specifically requested 
-Practically inhaling my brie and avocado toastie on my one 20 min break (cry)
-Almost crying when it got to 8.30pm and I felt like I just COULD NOT GO ON

My jobs throughout the day were varied and consisted of everything from dressing models and washing champagne glasses to clearing a giant paper installation that was part of one presentation in 15 minutes. The experience was a very unique one. I was helping out on day 1 of fashion week and worked on shows from Yana Chervinska, Edeline Lee, Jessie Western, Clio Peppiat and Jayne Pierson for those interested! I was mostly backstage (obvs) helping with behind the scenes things but I did manage to see the Edeline Lee presentation and it was so nice to see our hard work in setting up her presentation in record time came together and look so impressive! It was a very rewarding experience and so despite feeling a little under appreciated at times, I've learnt that in an environment as stressful as fashion week, it's to be expected that people are more likely to be shouting at you than saying thank you. Days later my feet are still aching and I feel like I've yet to catch up on sleep but at the same time I think back to my experience and would do it all over again if I could ?? It took a lot of courage for me to challenge myself to say yes to this opportunity and with many other things in life my immediate answer to scary opportunities is instantly "no!" because of all things anxiety but I'm so glad I managed to put that to one side and take on what I knew was essential experience of the #fashun world. 

-My placement was not paid and did not include expenses which is the case with most internships I have been browsing. In the fashion world real life experiences in industry are SO valuable so deffo try to put aside your resentment at not being paid for your hard work because in the end it will (hopefully) be worthwhile. It's worth saving some money here and there along the way so if a super exciting opportunity does come up then you have some funds for trains and accommodation to make it happen! Also bagging good train deals is a lifesaver in these situations, I managed to get mine from Huddersfield to London for £9.55 (????) making the experience a whole lot more affordable and realistic for my (tiny) budget.

- This work placement was a really great introduction to interning for me because it was only for a couple of days so if you're also an extra anxious human like me then try to look for shorter placements first to get you into the whole thang. I was so shattered from the day of running around that I don't think I could have survived a LFW placement that involved those hours for more than a day or two but I've been assured by Ellie that in normal fashion office environments, things are a lot less hectic and more manageable! Deffo something to bear in mind but I would whole heartedly recommend fashion week as well as longer placements too for a taste of how crazy it is.

-I'm so excited for other placement opportunities because I feel like this one has really inspired and fuelled my love for fashion and confirmed that I really do want to go into this industry. I'm deffo going to be looking for other placements ASAP and feel like I've caught the interning obsessive bug. H E L P.

Obviously I'm no expert as this was my first experience of something like this but if you did have any questions about my personal thoughts on being a runner at fash week then feel free to comment or tweet me (@_charl0ttesweb) where I'll be happy to have all the chats!

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