As we near the end of January, New York begins preparing for a bi-annual event that turns the live event industry on its head: Fashion Week. As a freelance technician or designer you’ve probably heard a little about this mystical time of year and the riches that it potentially affords. Let’s take a look at some of the basics of working as a freelance technician during Fashion Week and what to expect.

Fashion Week refers to a series of large events that take place in various cities all over the world in cities like Paris, Milan, London, New York, etc. It is the time of year that fashion designers gather to showcase their collections for the upcoming season, establish new trends, and allow buyers the opportunity to see what’s what. The typical fashion week occurs twice a year, lasts 7 days, and consists of hundreds of individual fashion shows (typically runway) lasting 5-10 minutes each. Surrounding the officially sanctioned Fashion Week there are also independent shows (calls “off-sites”, parties, industry events, experiential marketing installations, and a myriad of other sources of potential work.

On an average day in New York there are far more technicians available to work than there are calls. During Fashion Week, however, that trend reverses and with all the extra work calls needing to be staffed, the demand for technicians skyrockets. On the surface, this seems like a great thing for us (and indeed can be a great opportunity to make a lot of money), but there are some serious ramifications to such a sudden shift in our job market that we should all be aware of.

We asked the experts, and here’s some points to keep in mind as you put together your schedule for working Fashion:

  • It’s extremely easy to overwork yourself. During Fashion Week it would not be that difficult to book yourself to work 24 hours a day for 7-10 straight days.
  • It’s okay to say no. We’re not used to saying no to work, but sometimes it can be prudent.
  • Strategically plan sleep:  It is possible to work every day of Fashion and still get 8 hours of sleep a night (or day).
  • Fashion Week is a marathon that you must be both physically and mentally prepared for…
    • Be sure to schedule in a laundry day before Fashion hits.
    • Plan your meals out in advance and get your shopping done.

Because of the amount of work available, you’ll definitely be working alongside people who are overworked, underfed, and under slept increasing the chances for accidents. As you book up your work schedule for February, keep in mind your health and safety.

What do you do to prep for working Fashion Week? What do you bring to every call? Leave us a comment or tweet at @tincprod and share your tricks for surviving Fashion.