What to be, when backstage at Fashion Week

NZFW backstage blogger

Last week, I put my 9-5 job on hold for two days, to take on the role as an #NZFW Backstage Blogger. My sartorial dreams came true as I interviewed designers and their glam squads, sneakily touched the clothes on the dressing racks and sat in the back, middle and front(!) rows at New Zealand Fashion Week. In those whirlwind 48 hours, which felt like forever, I found myself dazed and confused, shy and little, then fab and articulate. Although I was backstage, I definitely wasn’t “in”, and it was a little bit daunting being surrounded by so many industry greats. Somewhere between hour 2 and 4, after a few sweats and shivers (so not #fashion, I know), I gave myself a wee pep-talk, pushed forward and wrote a reminders list.

If you’re ever in my position, remember to be:

1. Prepared
Google is your friend. Spend a little less time fretting about your outfit, and a little more time on your research. Don’t know who the designer is? Google them, screenshot their pic, and when you think you spot someone that fits the bill, scope them out (we all know that people date but pictures don’t always get updated!). You get out what you put in, so to truly milk those 3 minutes with the designer once you’ve pinned them down- you’ve gotta know what they’re about so you know what to ask them.

Other tips: bring lots of pens. Have USBs in case the internet lets you down. Check Metservice so you know whether you need to wear your wellies and pack your heels. Check your bag for any wear that might tear so the strap doesn’t break off your shoulder, and thud onto Queen Street with your laptop, cellphone, chargers, lunch, heels and makeup in it (*relive the freakout*)…

NZFW blogger

2. Confident
Behind the burly, blank-faced bodyguard is a boggling time backstage. Once you’re let across the boundary between glam to getting-glam, it can be a scary place (we all know what it’s like getting up and ready in the morning, so envision that, times one hundred). You might get a few ‘who are you looks?’ when you politely ask to “please speak to the lead makeup artist/hairstylist”, but stand your ground and ask the questions like you know what you’re talking about. Is the sassy M.A.C girl looking at your #can’tbetamed eyebrows? She’s just jealous. Have no idea why the hair stylist said “bootylicious” whilst running his fingers through the model’s hair? Just nod and agree that it works wonders, then Google it later (btw, it was “Rootalicious”, and I know like, all of O&M’s styling products now!).

NZFW makeupNZFW touch ups

3. On time, or even early
This one’s a given, and I don’t want to go all ‘early bird gets the worm’ on you but these are the fundamentals. Although being fashionably late may be very appropriate at an event titled ‘Fashion Week’, you’re better ahead of the game, not scrambling behind. If you get in there about 10 minutes into the two-hour prep time (let them settle in), you can be out of there in 30, drafted up before the show in an hour, and hey, maybe attend the show you’ve just covered.

4. Nice
Being nice should just be a life thing. Smile, ask nicely, give compliments, say thanks… And better living everyone. Contrary to all the Anna Wintour and fashion internship horror stories, people in fashion are nice! You’ll get the extra goodie bag “for your friend”, the foot through the door when everyone else is being turned the other way, and that free hot chocolate and pastry. Oh and reminder 4a, eat!

5. Yourself
I didn’t wear head-to-toe black at Fashion Week because it’s not very me, and had a moment’s regret when I was backstage for NOM*D, getting in the way, and standing out like the awkward Cherry Ripe in the box of Favourites. Later, the regret faded and the embarrassment in my cheeks became a blush, as I was complimented on my outfit by a few bystanders, commenting on… the colours!

NZFW outfits

6. In the moment
You’re at Fashion Week, so be at Fashion Week! Brush shoulders with Murray Bevan, give Four Eyes the eyes, strut to be snapped (#streetstyle), sneak into the photographer’s pit with your iPhone (I wasn’t game enough but I was a witness), clash those prints and pout those lips. See that spare seat in the front row? Just shimmy in there. See that waiter carrying round cocktails? Flip your backstage pass around and say cheers!

NZFW pinkNZFW barNZFW runway backstageNZFW lucilla gray


Who else was at New Zealand Fashion Week? What did you do, and did you enjoy it?

I was part of a group of backstage bloggers and photographers hustled by We Are Anthology. Thank you WAA for having me in your team, you gals are troopers and true #NZFW pros! Here’s to next year (cheeky, I know)!

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4 thoughts on “What to be, when backstage at Fashion Week

  1. I had to ask him again about that O&M product! Bootylicious came to my mind first thing too then he corrected me but the Google search afterwards gave me the right spelling of Rootalicious. I wish I was there the same day as you as the shows on Tues/Wed looked amazing. Dani also loved your writing for the Contemporary Salon Show. She mistook me as you and was shouting your name to get my attention only to realise when I turned around it wasn’t you. Haha

    Also, thanks for the tips/heads up before I did mine. You’re a star! 🙂

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    1. Rootalicious 😛 so hilarious- I struggled with the M.A.C names too. I wish I was there for Thurs and Fri- Ruby looked awesome but so intense by the sound of it! Haha so funny that Dani would get us mixed up 😛 And no worries, happy to share what I experienced!

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  2. This was such a great peak backstage – loved reading all about your experience and I am very jealous! While my love of food is well documented, fashion holds a big chunk of my heart too and I would have been over the moon if I got to do this!

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