My Dresser Experience at South Coast Fashion Week

So last weekend from the 9th-11th of May was the debut of South Coast Fashion Week. It was the first major fashion event ever in the south coast of England that showcased exhibition stands of high street brands, live music, and catwalk shows. The third year students from the Arts University Bournemouth were able to debut their major final year collection to the general public, which provided them great local media exposure.

Throughout the whole event I signed up to work backstage as a dresser. I would say that the most exciting/terrifying thing about being a dresser is that knowing that the outfit you just put together is going to be viewed by a live audience. Exciting because when looking through press coverage images after the show you get to point out which model/s you dressed and which outfits and be like “OMG I DRESSED HER”. However the thought of messing up and dressing someone in the wrong/ not the whole outfit is very very terrifying.. Whats just as bad is when a model misses their queue because he/she wasn’t dressed on time, making the whole dynamic of the runway show somewhat awkward. Thankfully I didn’t had to go through such an unfortunate ordeal and things went rather smoothly.

On Friday I worked dressing the womenswear and on Saturday/Sunday the childrenswear collections. However each morning I would start working in womenswear for fitting sessions and then worked with the kids later on in the afternoon. The mornings typically started off with checking if each garment bag hung up on the rails contained the right garments/accessories. Then there were last minute fittings with models such as making sure that shoes had the appropriate size for each model etc. The dressing process during the actual show however only lasts for about 20 minutes, providing quite the adrenaline rush. During this chaotic environment, making fast clothing changes did not prove to be as easy at times. Some of the tops I had to dress on some of the womenswear models had really tight necklines (I mean seriously why so tight??). I had to be careful not to rip nor smudge the clothing with makeup and not to mention choke the poor girl! On saturday, I had to literally go behind the catwalk to dress a kidswear model for three quick outfit changes! My god that was insane!! Normally the models would have to run back into the dressing rooms where we would dress them, but this model had super quick changes that I had to follow her up behind the stage. Thankfully she was great to work with and she didn’t miss any of her queues. However when had to safety pin one of her outfits at one point, I couldn’t get the pin off her right away and had a slight freak out! I had another freak out on sunday during dressing, when one of the girls was dressed in the wrong finale outfit! Thankfully we changes her in the right one on time. Despite the slight freak outs, I enjoyed working backstage! Working as a dresser, you better be comfortable with stress and partial nudity because if not, this defiantly is the wrong environment for you… Overall though, its something I would recommend to any other fashion student or anyone who has a general interest in fashion, as it provides a good industry insight and professional experience.

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