This year I had a chance to volunteer at Toronto Fashion Week (TFW), which was a very valuable experience and chance to give back to the community.
Many people from all around the world (I met some people from France and Korea) volunteer at TFW. Indeed, even though I offered to work for free, I had to prove in an application and my résumé that my help will be more beneficial for the event than someone else’s. However, once I was chosen to be a part of the team, I won a lot of opportunities.
Volunteers get to do almost everything, from the front of the house to the backstage. I spent the majority of my time in the media lounge and the fashion environment. I am in journalism, so being around all of the journalists and photographers from national publications was a dream place for me. I was surprised how bloggers and media people were open to chat with me between the shows. Personally, I really value talking to people from the industry, asking them about their experience and advice, exchanging business cards and staying in touch.
Helping out backstage was probably one of my most exciting experiences at the TFW. Beside seeing the outfits before everyone does and helping the models to get ready, I was also witnessing designers’ reactions to their shows. One of them was panicking because the music for his show was wrong. Other was frustrated that one of the models takes right side while walking down instead of coming to the middle of the runway. However, when the show was over, designers forgot about these small issues and were just celebrating a success of their collections.
A fashion show is only a ‘show’, but volunteering there taught me two, very important, life lessons:
First, collaboration leads to the success. Many people work together to make TFW happen. I truly believe that my family, friends and mentors who always support me play the major role in helping me to become successful in life.
Second, small flaws are not big deals. When I fall in the real life, I do the same thing models did on the runway when someone spilt liquid on the floor and they fell, I get right back up and keep walking.
As a volunteer, I was able to find out how everything works and enter all areas at the TFW. Here are some behind-the-scenes snapshots.
And some from the fashion environment.