Glamour, models, backstage previews, and working 24 hours non-stop, fashion weeks are rough but are they so much fun! Different cities around the United States host fashion weeks for style enthusiasts among them.
For the past year, I have had the incredible pleasure of being a volunteer for Austin Fashion Week in Austin, Texas. As someone who wants to break into the fashion industry, this opportunity has meant the absolute world to me. I first heard about this volunteer role back in my first year of college —it was freshman year and I remember being at the cafeteria with a couple of friends complaining about me not knowing how to get started in the fashion industry. It seemed as if my phone was listening because once I entered Instagram a post appeared saying they needed volunteers for a local fashion week in Austin. I saved the post and used it as motivation for things I should do before I graduated college. At that point in my life, I wasn’t sure where anything was heading but two years and a pandemic later, I was finally able to secure a spot to volunteer for the shows.
I volunteered for the back of the house which means that I helped the designers, models, and staff with anything they needed before the collections were showcased. I worked with a designer, Christina, her brand called @christina_ward_co on Instagram is a clothing line for everyday work and casual outfits.
Helping Christina gave me so much insight on the fashion industry. While pairing up heels and accessories for her outfits, I talked to her about being a fashion student at Texas State and how I was doing everything I could to get into the industry. That day, not only did I gain more industry knowledge but also a friend and great networking connection. Runway time was 4 pm for Christina’s collection which meant we spent the whole day doing fittings for models, last-minute touch-ups, and a lot of running around.
Back of the house is no joke and I learned that very quickly. Getting everything ready in time is hectic, and stressful and you’ll definitely need a breather after the show, but the result is amazing. Seeing Christina showcase her collection was incredible and I’m so proud that I got to help.
After working with Christina, I was connected to other designers at Austin Fashion Week. Next, I worked with Joseph, whose collection represented our shared Hispanic heritage. The way he implemented that into his designs was remarkable. I was honored to be able to see his collection hit the runway and shine. If you would like to see more of Joseph his Instagram is @josephlfashion he will be hitting the runway again in New York this September so stay tuned.
In May, I worked my second fashion show for Austin Fashion Week, but this time I decided to change things up and volunteer for Front of the House. This meant I was helping with the preparation of the event — handling the tickets, and shops that would be there. I was in charge of the VIP section, which was making sure that those who bought our tickets were getting the treatment they paid for while not encountering any problems.
During my time volunteering for Front of the House, my networking continued. I connected with Mia (@miaroseconleche), the social media manager for the Austin Fashion WeekIn my time with fashion week, not only was I exposed to incredible style, but I got to meet so many inspiring individuals in the industry. If you find the opportunity to attend an event like this, take it! You never know who you might connect with and how they may be able to support you in your career goals.
Seeing the collections that day and everyone’s hard work pay off made me realize that I want to continue to be a part of this magical industry.
How To Get Involved
Austin fashion week sets up its application forms early in the year. If the shows are in November, then applications will start opening at the beginning of July. This may be different to other fashion weeks, so be sure to turn those notifications on for other applications you come across. For the first show I did back in November of 2021 I applied in the summer and waited for about three months to hear back. If you don’t get a response right away, don’t give up! Be patient and persistent in your process.
The application asked what I would like to help with during the shows, where I wanted to volunteer, and what experience I had. At first, I was a bit nervous about not having much experience, but ended up applying anyway and manifested that everything would work out.
The dates vary every year but Austin Fashion Week usually hosts their shows every November and April, applications for their Fall 2022 Fashion week are open right now August 2022, and close the first week of October. Even if you are unsure about having the experience or qualifications necessary, apply! You never know what might work out in your favor.
From time to time my life doesn’t feel real, and it’s moments like the one that makes me especially grateful. If you are from Texas and want to be part of the show as a volunteer, designer, or model, I can’t recommend applying enough. I am excited to say that I will be interning for Austin Fashion Week this upcoming month, and I can’t wait for all the amazing designers and collections to be shown. If you would like to see behind the scenes or find out more about Austin Fashion Week you can find them as @fashionbyevents on Instagram. Best of luck applying! I hope to see some of you soon at Austin Fashion Week.
Featured Image via @calyesquivel. Design by Her Campus Media.