Waking up the day after the runway was surreal. The whole last evening felt like a dream, like it hadn’t actually happened. My mind was filled with blurred memories of flashbulbs and models. Still sort of felt that at any moment my alarm would go off for real and I would be jolted awake.
Finally I convinced myself that I had slept in way too long. I hadn’t. It was 7:30am. I guess jet lag is a thing. I rolled over to check my phone. My screen was filled with lines of pink and blue notifications from Instagram and Facebook. Likes and shares that scrolled down the face of the phone.
So, I guess it did happen.
Of course, I did nothing for the next hour except look at all of the photos, comments, likes. I didn’t even get up for coffee. If you know me, that’s big. I was busy responding to everyone who showed me support. The overwhelming support I got from my team in Ottawa and the new team I met in Vancouver was amazing.
I think the biggest misconception is that once you’re show is done your work is done. That now you get to lay down and relax and wait for orders to come flooding in. It doesn’t exactly work that way. The show is where the work starts. I finally tore my eyes away from my phone to get out of bed, grabbed my laptop and set out for the nearest coffee shop. I was lucky enough to have found one that I liked early in the week and was quickly becoming a regular. I ordered my usual Americano with almond milk. (Yes, I’m that person. I'm a VFW designer, I'm allowed) Sat down in the corner and started emailing. Emailing bloggers, boutiques, news reporters, my mom, local news stations, stylists, everyone who could possibly be interested in buying or helping me grow my brand. Now that you have a product it’s about getting it into the hands of as many people as possible. If a tree falls in a forest right?
I worked in that coffee shop for a few hours before ordering another coffee and left for school. Vancouver Fashion Week hosted a “Fashion Camp” for the designers to learn more about the industry. I’ve always loved school. I love learning and learning as much about my industry as I can never seems like a waste of time. The first day of my Fashion Camp was all about Trend Forecasting. Now, I do live in Ottawa (sorry Ottawa, but tell me I’m wrong), so spotting trends is pretty easy. Just look at what New York or Toronto was doing three years ago and that’s what’s on trend for us.
THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW:
TREND: A trend is what's hip or popular at a certain point in time. (trends can often last two to three years)
FAD: A fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time; a craze. (A splash in the pan and are very brief
Walking out of class, head buzzing with ideas I made my way back to the VFW venue. I had to pick up my pictures! It’s that whole, if a tree falls in the woods thing again. If you don’t have pictures it didn’t happen. Back at the venue I ran into the organizer of the entire event, Jamal, a small man with the most fluid style I’ve ever seen. Rocking a Pharrell Williams style hat one day and full three piece suit another.
“Rowes?” -that’s what everyone calls me.
“I saw your collection. Are you in the showroom tonight?”
“….no?” To be honest, I had no idea what he was talking about.”
“You have to be in the showroom. Come with me.”
With no clue what I was about to get into I started following this man around the venue. He weaved in and out of areas I didn't know existed until finally we made it to a small office. There I was introduced to their head of marketing and social media. Then swept away to meet the organizer of this “showroom”.
“This is Jenny.” He said pointing to a slight Asian woman with perfect straight hair framing her face. “This is Rowes, she will be set up in the showroom tonight.” Jenny’s head nodded but her face gave off a look of, "how is this going to work?" Jamal said good-bye and told me to be back at the venue at three to set up. I looked at Jenny, now her look was transferred to my face,
“I won’t be able to be back by three.” (which was two hours away and my AirB&B was an hour each way)
She smiled and told me that whenever I was able to get back was great.
Needless to say, I ran back to the apartment, packed up my collection and ran back to the venue and quickly started hanging my garments for people to explore. I tried extremely hard to not look like I had just run for two hours and was wearing last night's makeup, I'm sure Jenny knew but no one said anything.
Turns out the Showroom was an area for the guests to get up close and personal with your collection. To touch feel and try on. As soon as I was able to talk to guests one on one and explain my thought process I instantly calmed. The public was responding well!
The next day was slightly more relaxed, no running back and forth, instead I spent my time exploring. I still spent a good chunk of my time in and out of coffee shops sending emails, don't get me wrong, but it was nice getting to see more of the city.
I think my favourite part of Vancouver was this little coffee shop I found near the beach. Bike themed and the most delicious Americanos ever. What really caught my attention though is that they disconnect the wifi on weekends and ban cell phones. Expressing that you should be spending this time with your guest or getting to better know yourself.
Later that night I went to the shows to support my fellow designers. The fashion industry is incredibly competitive and cutthroat, but you lose nothing by going and showing your support. I saw some incredible shows that night by designers that I would never have heard of. I Plus I got the chance to expand my own network of bloggers and photographers. Like DVF says, "Attitude is everything."
Saturday we were back at school! Fashion Wholesaling 101. I don’t think my hands were moving fast enough to scribble down all the notes I wanted to take. So much information to absorb. Little tips and tricks that you never would have thought about, more networking and ideas about how to get your product out there.
Fashion is no longer a business where you just get to create. Now you must also sell, be savvy on social media, branding, packaging, relations, the list goes on, but if you can get any sort of help in the areas you’re not as confident in you take it.
ROWES TIP: Understand your strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t bake you would buy a cake right?
Saturday night and I was back at the shows! To be honest, by this time in the week I was pretty fashion-ed out. I was looking for a night off from smiling and introductions. I got a call from home where I was told "to make the most of my time there." there was a "or I'll kick your butt" in there too, choosing to ignore that part. With that in mind, off to the shows I went. This time I got to sit in the first row. That made me feel special.
(Image from the Lavellea Dorr Show)
Enough about the shows, Sunday is where the fun happened. Sunday was the photoshoot day.