Styling Assistant for a day: my experience at Graduate Fashion Week
Third year BA (Hons) Fashion Communication and Promotion student Marta Zaremba takes us through her experience of working on the Graduate Fashion Week ‘Talent of Tomorrow 2019’ campaign as a Styling Assistant.
When our year got approached with the opportunity to apply for assistant roles at Graduate Fashion Week, I had absolutely no doubts whether or not to apply. My choices were either Styling Assistant or Creative Direction Assistant, since the two roles are interconnected and my creative practice focuses upon both styling and creative direction.
My course has provided me with many incredible opportunities to collaborate with other students including photographers, videographers and fashion designers.
Both this, the practical experience gained through organising my own photoshoots alongside university projects has prepared me with the knowledge of tasks and gave me the confidence to work in a creative team.
Jennifer Mertens was responsible for both styling and creative direction and she was an absolute dream to work with. The moment we started talking, we instantly got along. She is German and I am Polish, our hometowns are only a drive apart from each other and we share a sarcastic sense of humour – this definitely helped break the ice.
Before the shoot day, I challenged myself to leave my comfort zone in Norwich and put myself out there as much as I possibly could. I took the initiative to introduce myself to the person I was assisting, offered my help before she asked for it and checked if anyone else in the team needed a hand.
Over the course of the day, I got a real insight into the reality of fashion shoots. It may not be the most glamorous thing carrying numerous clothing rails, camera equipment and shooting in a cold warehouse, but the energy on the set and the visionary people you get to meet are beyond priceless.
"This work opportunity gave me a real insight into the reality of photoshoot production while developing the skillset I can now implement in my future career"
I also worked closely with the photographer, Erika Astrid. Her and Jenn turned the shoot into a fun experience – we chatted lots, laughed, made jokes and danced. This was the part I enjoyed most, as I truly felt like a part of the team.
My main duties included unpacking garments from graduate collections and helping to dress the models as well as influencers featured in the shoot. After just a few hours, it felt like I had worked with Jenn for ages! She shared a lot of her industry experience and trusted me with styling tasks along the way.
Whenever her and the second Styling Assistant were styling one model, my responsibility was to stay on the set with Erika and the other model to look after the outfit that was being shot. I made sure to keep in touch with Jenn in case she ever needs an assistant in London.
This work opportunity gave me a real insight into the reality of photoshoot production while developing the skillset I can now implement in my future career. Gaining practical experience is absolutely crucial, as it teaches you more than even the most informative guest lecture ever could.
To anyone unsure of applying for an opportunity like this, what is the worst that could happen? As uncomfortable and challenging as it may seem, the more you do it the less overwhelming this feeling becomes. Instead of letting the fear of unknown stop you, see it as a challenge and grow from it.