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An Insider's Look at New York Fashion Week: A Deep Dive with Cassidy Marshall

Model: Cassidy Marshall

By Sophia Randazzo

While some may not be aware, this year’s very own Threads Fashion Show producers were able to attend and work at New York Fashion Week. An opportunity like this does not come by often, nor too many, which means it must be shared. For us to grow as not only students, but also designers, we must learn from our peers’ victories and triumphs. One will never know if someone else’s experiences may benefit them in the future. That is why VERGE Magazine’s Editor in Chief, Sophie Dehn, conducted an interview with Threads producer, Cassidy Marshall. During this interview viewers will learn about the experiences and takeaways from this year’s New York Fashion Week.

What was your mindset prior to working New York Fashion Week? What were your expectations of the event?

“I was terrified. It felt like the moment in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ where Andy has to study for every guests name and background in the span of a few hours. I was just as scared as she was in that moment. I felt like I needed to be a lot more prepared than I realistically needed to be. It was very daunting at first. Especially starting with Fendi. I had wished we would have done that show last, but at the same time, it prepped me very well for the shows to come.”

How were your views changed after working New York Fashion Week?

“It came so much more naturally than I thought it would. Obviously, it was a learning process. There were so many things that I still didn’t know because you have to learn through experience, but every person, from the designers to the producers, stylists, models, etc. were all so helpful. Through their kindness and understanding I was able to grasp a lot more concepts and overall production procedures. I was expecting everyone to be rude and closed off, for which I was wrong. Every time I made a mistake or was struggling, there was a helping hand throughout every corner. Everyone wanted everyone else to shine, which made the atmosphere that much better to work around in. I loved it.”

How do you feel your experience affected you as a designer?

“It made me realize just how little designers think about their models. For example, at Prabal Gurung, none of our models had shoes that fit. We were not aware that the shoes purchased for the show only came between the sizes from eight to ten. That said, regardless of your size, they were giving out wrong sizes on purpose. For example, if you were a shoe size six or seven, you got the size eight ordered. Through this process, even models who were the original size of the purchased shoes may not have gotten the correct size. There was also use of latex throughout some collections, which required the use of lube, making models lives that much harder, as there were models that had back-to-back shows and needed to leave following the runway show. This entire experience showed me that designers need to have more respect for their models. Through my experiences of modeling in the past, I had a small understanding of what models undergo on a daily basis, however I did not think it was at this level. Models are mistreated with needs ignored, even though they are the faces and arguably the most important parts of collections, which showed me a bigger emphasis on treating models with respect.”

What did you take away from this experience?

“The fashion industry is a lot less intimidating than it seems. I’m sure that there are some who have had really bad experiences in the industry, but I think this may be due to the recent movements we’ve had in the past years. The fashion industry has become a lot more softened with its overall image, in a good way. I was terrified going into New York Fashion Week because I thought the staff working there would be a lot less tolerant of mistakes. Rather, I had nothing but comfort and reassurance from all who worked backstage with me. Everyone was so much more welcoming than expected, which showed me how much more lenient I need to be on myself. I thought to myself ‘Holy crap! If people working New York Fashion Week can go easy on me, I can afford to go easy on myself.’ I found out I was a lot more capable of doing it and working in this industry. Not just for myself, but I think a lot more people, especially in the FMD program, have a great chance of working in this industry than they realistically think. It is a lot less scary than it may seem.”

Moving forward as a designer, do you believe any collections shown influenced your passion for fashion?

“Prabal Gurung’s entire collection resonated with me. My entire collections color palate for the Threads Fashion Show is inspired from that show. After seeing so many collections throughout Fashion Week, I was also moved by the level of craftsmanship. It taught me that I need to begin raising the quality of my garments. As a designer, I thought to myself ‘I could totally recreate that, just not to that level of pristineness.’ It showed me that my passion for fashion is there, however, I need to start taking the quality of craftsmanship into consideration in future designs. I have a standard to meet.”

What was going through your mind after working with high end designers and experienced models, such as Bella Hadid?

“Prior to working New York Fashion Week, I had never had an opportunity as amazing as this, which led me to never understand how people became to be starstruck when meeting celebrities. After this week, I now understand that feeling a little bit better. I was genuinely taken back by the entire process, not just by the celebrities, models, and designers. Every show I felt this way, but especially when Sydney Theiler, co-producer of Threads, and I watched as Bella Hadid took pictures for her Instagram. It was a reality check. In that moment, I had that thought to myself of ‘Oh my god, this is what feeling starstruck feels like.’ I was also very intimidated by the designers. Many designers thanked the staff for allowing such an incredible experience happen, and I thought to myself ‘Are we kidding? Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this!’.”

How has this experience allowed you to grow as a producer for Threads Fashion Show?

“I have defiantly wanted to hear people’s feedback after last year’s show, and I want to adjust and give the people an experience that they really want to be a part of, and that’s tailor to them. However, I have to be the bearer of bad news at times. Before working Fashion Week, I would tell myself that I didn’t need to ‘bring the hammer down’ on people, because ‘it is just Threads,’ and they can just walk out and quit. But, after working the Fendi show and hearing that there were only 300 people in the audience, I thought ‘We had double that amount at last year’s Threads show’. This showed me that if we have a bigger audience than Fendi, are running production the same way, have the credibility, I am allowed to bring the hammer down. I am allowed to tell people that this was a part of their decision and if they would like to be a part of a great experience, they can either take it or leave it. At the end of the day, we are a part of an amazing thing, with or without you, so why should we as producers change our decisions based off of how we believe the public will perceive us? This overall experience taught me how to be a better producer in our decision-making process.”

What fashion concepts/production styles did you see at New York Fashion Week that you would like replicated within Threads Fashion Show this year?

“I loved the circular runways that I saw this year. I’m not sure if it will be done, but we are trying to make that happen in our 2023 Thread Fashion Show. While we are trying to make a circular runway happen this upcoming year, the biggest concept we want to convey in our show is the audience to runway ratio. There was a lot more room between the runway and the audience seating, which made it feel almost like a movie theater! Even if you are in the furthest back row, you can still see all of the details and intricacies of each garment. It felt like it added a ‘wow factor’ to a runway.”

If given the opportunity, would you rather attend New York Fashion Week or work behind the scenes once more?

“If I had to do it all over again, which I would, I would prefer to continue working backstage. Getting to work backstage felt like when you are taking a test that you know every answer to. Taking a test can be very daunting, but when you know the content, you almost enter a sort of frenzy. This feeling, and the under-pressure atmosphere, made me never want to leave. Seeing reviews on twitter, blogs, etc., I saw how much of the work that was missed by viewers. Working behind the scenes, rather than viewing it from an audience seat, is completely different. There were so many parts I was able to see and really take in from designers’ collections, that otherwise, I would not have been able to. Seeing how well collections come together, and how many details the audience can miss, I would say without a doubt I would rather work behind the scenes at New York Fashion week again, rather than just attend the show as a guest.”

Unimaginable experiences were available to the producers of the Threads Fashion Show. That said, if you are a student and wish to be a part of such an amazing team, such as Threads, I urge you to be a part of their production crew. Producers had the opportunity to experience something few people can say they have done in their lifetime through their work in Threads.

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