30 talented designers, hundreds of models, style teams, professional photographers, and a group of dedicated staff can all give a unique perspective of the Kansas City Fashion Week Spring/Summer 19 shows. Months of planning and countless hours of labor go into this week of fashion showcasing. So what really goes on in the hours leading up to the opening design hitting the runway? I got a backstage look at the part of Kansas City Fashion Week that many ticket holders do not see.
In order to model for KCFW, you must attend a model casting a few months prior to the show. This seasons casting happened in June at a local Kansas City mall. Castings consist of getting measurements, posing for a headshot, and walking for a panel of judges. After all of this, models hear back within a couple weeks if they have made the roster or not. Making the roster simply means you are on the list of models that designers can choose from. After making the roster a model is emailed and asked to be in a designer’s collection. It is recommended a model doesn’t walk for more than two designers.
The Week Of
Every model has a strict 12:00pm call time on the day they are walking and is expected to arrive with clean hair, face, nails and a lot of patience. All the models, hair stylist, make-up artists and designers hang out backstage for the seven hours leading up to the show. These hours involve getting hair and makeup perfected, which can take 1-2 hours per model, some last minute fittings, and a short rehearsal time on the runway. This turns into a mix of girls who are typically ages 16-24 with full faces of makeup, half-done hair, wearing sweatpants and heels. Newer models can be seen practicing their walks up and down the open area between changing tents while veteran models sit on their phone watching Netflix or chatting with friends they haven’t seen since last season. All in all, it is not as glamorous as one might expect.
The underlying truth of KCFW
While everyone gathers together with a mutual love for fashion, there is also an unspoken motive of every participant of the KCFW events: networking. Every model, designer, stylist, and photographer is secretly hoping to meet someone that can help their career. Designers are showcasing the hard work they’ve put into their collections and eager to see if anyone reaches out about a job or collaboration. Models approach photographers and make polite chatter before mentioning that “they should work together sometime.” Makeup and hair stylists are taking before and after pictures of every model they work on to add to their portfolio. Every new friend made within the walls of the venue is a potential contact, and the week is as much a networking event as it is a fashion experience.
Fashion shows are a thrill. They are periods of waiting, waiting, and more waiting until it’s happening and fast-paced and exciting and you can’t believe all of the waiting actually lead to something. Then, it’s over. So, you can breathe but you still feel the excitement of everything that just happened. Fashion Shows are a time where everyone can come together to collectively agree that apparel is art, then appreciate that art. It satisfies the need everyone has of searching for the next new thing. As soon as a look enters the runway you can experience it and when you’ve observed and pondered that look you ultimately reach a point where you’re over it. Then, there is already another look coming down the runway asking for your attention. By the end of the show, there has been enough to take in that you feel good about what you’ve seen, but it leaves a feeling of anticipation for the next season. Luckily, the Kansas City Fashion Show is a bi-annual event we can count on to bring our fill of fashion, along with participant’s next possible big break.