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Organizing a Fashion Week involves many different fashion professionals who are experts in their fields ranging from director to designer. With the series “Meet Fashion Week professionals”, FashionUnited looks behind the catwalk to introduce those who bring great fashion events to life all around the globe. We recently chatted with Robyn to learn more about her role as Backstage Manager at Vancouver Fashion Week.
Robyn, you are working at Vancouver Fashion Week, can you tell us a little bit about the event?
Vancouver Fashion Week is a bi-annual event, that hosts local and international designers. VFW SS18 is our 30th season, which just happens to tie in with Canada 150 celebrations! We host 30,000 attendees over the span of 7 days, celebrating fashion from all over the world. We average 90 designers a season from over 25 countries. It's been amazing to see how big VFW has gotten, and the coverage we receive, compared to 17 years ago.
Please tell us about your role at Vancouver Fashion Week?
It´s a little bit of everything! The months before the show I manage the designer team, and partnerships. This means lots of calls, emails, and building/maintaining relationships. Everyone always asks what I do the 6 months in between shows, they don’t see how much planning goes into a 7 day event. During Fashion Week I get to the venue at 8am daily, and start to organize the day for my teams. We start rehearsals for the shows in the evening, making sure all designers and models are fully prepped for the evening. Once showtime starts its go go go, making sure the models are in order, they are in their complete look and styled correctly. It's a great feeling to see the designers come back from their finally walk just so proud and happy.
What do you like most about your job?
The people I get to meet and work with! Being an event lucky enough to host editors, designers, and industry from different countries, you meet some amazing people. I also love that it's different every single day, I like to have my hands in all aspects of a business to learn and gain as much knowledge as possible. Everyone I know who's in the industry is so dedicated and passionate about it, some industries aren't as lucky to have that.
What is your professional background? How did you become Backstage Manager at Vancouver Fashion Week?
My background ranges to many different fields in the fashion industry, however i always wanted to manage backstage of a fashion week. After college I helped manage a few retailers, and volunteered or helped organize fashion events on the side. My retail background played a huge part in my organizational and management skills with working with large teams. I started to then fly out to different fashion weeks, first Toronto, then I worked for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia when I moved to Australia for a year. Being from Vancouver, I knew when I was coming home that Vancouver Fashion Week was the only place I wanted to work, I applied and started only 10 days of being back in Canada....here I am a year and half later!
Did you always want to work for a fashion event like the Vancouver Fashion Week?
Yes, it's always been where i wanted to end up career wise, and what i worked towards. I knew my career path from a young age, so i took every opportunity possible, which has led me here.
What is your advice for those who want to pursue a career in fashion?
To just go for it! Take every opportunity possible and give it your all, even if it´s just the simplest of tasks, like guarding shoes (yes I have done that before). Working in the fashion industry means sleepless nights, and long long days, so be prepared to work really hard and not get much sleep around any big event. You will have to sacrifice your personal life for a bit, but it will all work out in the end, and you will get where you want to be as long as you keep your drive and work hard!