A new academic year means new possibilities. And in typical FIT manner, this means the coveted New York Fashion Week for a lot of our students. But what exactly does it mean to be a volunteer at NYFW?
Dressed comfortably in all black and in minimal make-up, Vaidehi Bagrodia shares her experience as a first-time volunteer.
Anushree Sheth: How did you get a volunteer position?
Vaidehi Bagrodia: The Student Life Department had two sign-up days a few weeks before fashion week started. They also had flyers and sent out emails about the events, so it was impossible to miss it. On the day of sign-ups, I had to wait in line for four hours. from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., before I could actually register. There was a long line and the 1200 spots available filled up rather quickly.
AS: Where did you volunteer?
VB: I volunteered at the Style Fashion Week on all three days. They showcased a wide range of designers such as Mulan Breton and Marco Marco.
AS: What position did you initially have and what work did you end up doing?
VB: I was supposed to be an usher, but once I got there they needed more dressers so I ended up being both. As an usher, it was my job to place water bottles and flyers on the seats, greet guests at the door and escort them to their seats. Also, to make sure nobody walked on the ramp. As a dresser, I was backstage helping the models get into their outfits and make sure that they were ready for the runway.
Essentially, as a volunteer, you are expected to help the organizers in any way you can. So, in the three days that I volunteered, I learned to do everything you could possibly could do as a volunteer. I dressed, ushered, cleaned up after the show and did whatever heavy lifting that was necessary.
AS: Did this lead to other opportunities?
VB: Initially, I had signed up for only one morning shift, but after I got to the first show the person in charge let us volunteer for all three days. So your shifts aren’t always set in stone, and they are flexible about it. It led to more work opportunities, and I was also able to watch some of the shows since I was positioned in the front of the house.
AS: What advice would you give to other volunteers?
VB: Don’t wait around for someone to ask you to do something. Go up to anyone in charge and ask if they need help. Don’t waste time waiting in a corner because there’s so much to do. The organizers are so busy, They won’t find you to do something — you need to find them. Also, you need to get used to a lot of nude men and women walking around. It can get a bit awkward at times, but that’s just part of the job.
AS: What did you learn from this experience?
VB: You have to be the calmest person there because everyone else is in such a hurry and they’re all so stressed out, you just need to do what you’re told or figure out what needs to be done at the right time and just do it. I learned how to work under immense pressure in a short span of time and in a fast-paced environment. Things need to be done immediately.
AS: Would you do it again?
VB: I’m doing it again this evening.