Singapore Fashion Week 2016: What REALLY Goes On Behind-The-Scenes

When the rest of Singaporeans goes on leading their busy lives, some of whom are celebrating Halloween, others still busy at work, the fashionistas all around Singapore are instead preparing for a very important occasion: Singapore Fashion Week 2016.

This event hardly needs explaining, really. It is probably exactly like how you imagine it to be: halls swarming with celebrities and bloggers, designers and their business partners, editors and interns among everyone else. Long, flowy gowns swept across the floor, worn by the same women teetering in their sky-high, almost diabolical heels as exquisite architectural jewelry hung off their ears and necks. What a glamorous affair it certainly was. (for the audience anyway)


What about the work that was put in to make this event seem as such?


Many young people desire to work in fashion as they are attracted to the glamour and status that it seems to provide, but are blissfully unaware of how much hard work and effort that is required to put together a successful runway. Thus, I decided that I would experience it first hand by signing up as a volunteer for this year’s Fashion Week and document everything that goes on behind the scenes putting together Singapore’s biggest fashion event of the year.



The road to the National Gallery


Volunteers gather for the briefing of a big day


You didn’t go for Fashion Week unless you have your own backdrop photo

Volunteers come from many different backgrounds, but the majority of them are fashion design and marketing students. Tip for students who wish to break into the fashion industry but not pursuing fashion: Network with these people. They are way more knowledgeable about fashion than you are, and also have the connections that are necessary for you to build your career in fashion. Besides, it is always nice to have friends whom you can talk to about fashion without feeling like you are a complete nutter.

One of roles of a volunteer is being an usher for the guests. This role involves packing goodie bags and sending them out to the showroom, and then ushering guests by directing them to the correct venue and to their seats. Probably one of the most unrelated jobs to fashion, but important anyway (ha).


Frantically packing for the next show




As we were busy pushing the goodie bags out, Mr Videographer was also getting ready for his own part in the fashion world. Media is so fully integrated into the fashion industry, it is hard to imagine one without the other. After all, what makes fashion sell than watching models walk down the runway and the luxurious pictures captured and placed in glossy magazines?



Video-cam being specifically placed to film the models and their clothes in its entirety

Volunteers also get the privilege to go backstage (not to see the models but to eat our dinner) and that was where we got to see hair and makeup team hard at work preparing the models for their walk. This year’s product sponsor was Loreal and Nars if the information I got served me well. The media team is by the models’ sides photographing every single step of the process and interviewers getting a low down on the tips and tricks that the team uses for hair and makeup.

Also at the backstage you get to see the designer and dressers snipping and sewing away at the clothes to ensure that the clothes are a perfect fit for the models before sending them down the runway, while the stage coordinators frantically communicate through their walkie-talkies to decide the perfect seating arrangements and positions of where the models should walk. The fashion board with fully clothed models and their names was also on display for all to see, to ensure that the collection is displayed cohesively during the show.


Nope, work can’t get done with a single makeup artist alone



It’s finally show time! Guests start streaming in and mingle with each other. It is time for the light and sound crew to shine as they made the entire room glow in red and played sassy upbeat music to accompany the fashionable crowd. Mobile phones and accompanying cameras are whipped out every so often for that OOTD or for proof that they were with someone of a higher profile. It is interesting to observe how the crowd’s fashion changes with every designer. In the Hardy Hardy show for example, everyone was dressed in punk, biker chic clothing, while for Naeem Khan, everyone dressed in more elegant yet whimsical pieces. Makes me question whether they genuinely have their own style or just following wherever fashion takes them.


Seats filling up quickly


Content creators, photographers, videographers, writers, volunteers all crammed at one spot to get the best view of the collection

Now comes the most exciting part – The Show. I guess the best perk about volunteering for Fashion Week is the view that you get at wherever you stand. Most of the time, if there are empty seats for a particular show, volunteers are asked to fill the seats. I got lucky enough to get seated beside Tjin Lee and Ong Shunmugam’s friend / partner (?) for the Arissa X collection. Here are some photos of the models to show how good the view really is. (Not fantastic, but not too bad considered it was shot by my iphone)


Fashion Week is a precious affair in the industry, the glamour, the friends and the freebies make the entire show an unforgettable experience for all who attended it. While it is only natural to place all the attention on the leading figures and designers in fashion, lets all not forget to appreciate the efforts of those toiling behind the scenes to make this event a successful one.

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