For those who know me personally, know my history of Fashion. I am a Fashion Institute of Technology Graduate receiving my Associate’s in Fashion Merchandising and My Bachelor’s in Direct Marketing. I worked for JA Apparel Corp. aka Joseph Abboud for 6 ½ years as a Retail Services Coordinator and then left there to go to MW Samara Inc, a sterling silver jewelry company, as a design assistant. Leading into the lifelong dream of working for self, in the past 2 years I have worked with my husband as Creative Director/ Stylist for our Indie Label and more recently really trying to promote myself as an independent Wardrobe/Fashion Stylist.
Taking a step back in time, in the process of attaining my Bachelor’s, I interned for Audrey Smaltz’s company “The Ground Crew”. For those who have never heard of the The Ground Crew, it is a Freelance Fashion Show/Event Production Company. I have been a freelancer for The Ground Crew for the past 8 years but recently started freelancing with them again. For those who don’t understand the fashion industry, it has such a high turnover rate, people float until they may eventually feel like this industry is just not for them. So in trying to reconnect with former contacts and get to know new ones, I worked with The Ground Crew this season for New York Fashion Week!
I don’t think anyone understands how much work really goes into a Fashion Show, let alone Fashion Week! Many of the designers are perfectionist, and they hire The Ground Crew for their industry experience and outstanding services, to make their shows a success. Do not be fooled, all the glitz and glamour you see in a Fabulous 10 minute show on the Runway, is not what goes on backstage!
Behind the scenes even in front of the camera, any and everything can go wrong if you do not pay attention to detail! Changing looks, understanding the delicate/ intricate details of a garment, and getting your model in the lineup on time… it’s like watching Live TV without the edits, anything can happen! Shoes can fall off, boobs can pop out, models can fall on the runway and outfits can come apart…Talk about HECTIC!
Let’s Take a Look into The Life of a Ground Crew Dresser
Prep Time: Ground Crew Members arrive an hour to 2 hours prior to a show. They check-in with supervisor and get assigned a model. Review your model card, check in all items and start to prep. Take items out of their bags, steam garments, snip tags and hang ties, make sure shoes fit your model, score the shoes and have everything easily accessible to you: pins, top stick, makeup scarf, shout wipes, tide to go stick, lint roller seam sheers and/or seam ripper.
Showtime: Models get dressed in 1st look, get in line up! Make sure everything looks superb, and placed where needed! Detail is Key! Everything happens so quickly, you must be prepared to get model out of a look and in to the next with turbo speed and minimal issues. Help a Ground Crew Member if needed! Many of the shoes & garments can be very tricky, never lose focus or get frustrated and definitely keep a calm attitude in the midst of chaos!
End of Show: Once models have final walk, you begin gathering looks and hanging them back on the rolling rack in order. 1 look to a garment bag, shoes and accessories placed in individual bags and returned to Designer production team. Once all garments have been consolidated to 2/3 rolling racks and shoes/ accessories in boxes, Ground Crew Members are dismissed.
Some ground Crew members have back to back shows. Many Designers are in off sight locations and some designers have more than one show a day. It’s never an small task, and of course you can always get volunteers, but nothing like industry experience and lots of designers thrive on professionalism, punctuality and product knowledge, as The Ground Crew Motto says, we are “The Best Team to handle the Seam.”
Founder/CEO of The Ground Crew
Ground Crew members getting prepped for a Show
Getting Prop Kit Ready