Feb 132012
Authors: Erin Eastburn

The time on the face of my Michael Kors watch glares at me. My legs shake with impatience. I sit helpless in the back of one of the million yellow cabs in Manhattan.

I am seven blocks away from the Tanya Taylor fashion show and 20 minutes late. To make matters worse, Sarah, the Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) photographer I’m supposed to be helping, calls me asking where I am. Panicked, I search for a faster route.

As the stoplight turns red, I am fed-up and believe the traffic is moving slower than I can run. Deciding this is true, I ask the cab driver to pull over. I throw a $10 bill at him, jump out and start running.

It’s Mercedes Bends Fashion Week in New York. This is my life as a fashion intern, and I love it.

Fashion Week, ending in New York this Thursday, is filled with beautiful clothes, fabulous people and an incredible opportunity to build connections in the fashion industry.

As an intern, I’m not guaranteed a spot in the shows I’m assigned. It’s up to me to talk and smile my way in. WWD gives me a media pass but no show invitations. Once inside, I search for WWD photographers, sometimes as many as four, and once the shows end, I sprint their memory cards back to the office for online publication.

The smaller shows are easier, since representing WWD gives me instant credibility –– they want WWD there. At the larger shows, such as Alexander Wang, they’re not so easily impressed. You’re left with your powers of persuasion and only the most skilled succeed.

Once the gatekeepers are passed, you’re safe. Opportunities abound to network with others who “belong.”

I head to the photography pit –– the best spot to see and be seen at all the shows. As a college fashion student I’m dressed well, but during fashion week the style bar is raised.

All shows routinely start late, so I use the free time to join the professional photographers snapping photos of socialites, celebrities and editors taking their front row seats.

After growing up in Colorado, having the opportunity to attend shows and spot fashion icons feels like an out of body experience.

The camera flashes surrounding these fashion moguls are blinding, extending the distance between their lives and mine. I understand now why they’re constantly seen in sunglasses with the flashes that abound.

I’m on the sidelines now fighting to just get in, but someday, hopefully I’ll have my own invitation.

Erin Eastburn is a senior apparel merchandising major who is currently interning for Tory Burch and Women’s Wear Daily in New York City.

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