When it comes to fashion, people automatically think glamor, couture, Dior: the fabulous lives of the trendy.
In reality, it's stress, sweat, tears (lots of tears) and looking the most unglamorous you've ever looked in your life.
I'm a final year fashion student in Dublin at the National College of Art and Design, and for the last few months I've been trying to organize a show, as well as a collection, alongside my fellow students.
For a showing that only lasts two minutes, it's a hell of a lot of stress! It's a coming together of students, tutors and everyone hired when we first started organizing the show just under a year ago.
For someone who had no experience in anything like this, it's been a learning curve to say the least. For any of you interested in fashion, I have a few words of advice: Be prepared, be organized and be ready for arguments!
All decisions must be made unanimously... that means location, sponsors, makeup, models, hair, the guest list and much, much more. And with a graduating class of 32, there were always going to be bumps in the road.
Financing was always the big question: How do we raise money? How much does everything cost? Do we need to take out a mortgage?! (FYI: Be prepared to spend money as if you were a Kardashian.)
In the end, most of our money came from our crowdfunding video (another aspect that had about five meetings). Every one of us had to assume some sort of role in the planning process -- and let's not forget the stress of just making and designing our clothes!
When I look back at it now, I honestly don't know how we did it; it took the effort of 32 students to create some kind of buzz and excitement around the show and around ourselves.
Class politics were always at play, and I don't think we even realized it until later in the game. Looking back, the pressures of organizing a show would be enough to take it out of anyone; I'm not really sure how I've managed to get a collection completed.
I can't describe the effort and stress of being a fashion student; anyone who's interested needs to be ready to push the hardest he or she has ever pushed before. But it pays off… and we're just at that moment!
Now that everything is almost set in stone, I can almost see the light.
The most difficult thing in organizing the fashion show is the amount of opinions that are shouted out; everyone has an opinion and is, of course, entitled to one. However, everyone thinks his or her opinion is the right one!
Meetings go on at least once a week and each time it's as if your crazy family has gathered around for Christmas games; at the end of it, you don't want to see any of them for another year.
Unfortunately, we all had to see each other every day, all day, so it's really a miracle there were no catfights!
People always say fashion is bitchy, but if there is any excuse for our attitudes, it's that we don't get much sleep. No sleep equals crazy fashion students.
Friendships have really been put to the test and squabbles within cliques are not uncommon. If you make it out still smiling, you've achieved something great in my eyes.
In our case, there were tears and last-minute retouches (and the fear you'd have to do much more); the low bank account figures are, undoubtedly, scary. But we took a trip to Paris for fabric, so it wasn't all that bad.
It's really an all-or-nothing momentum; if you drop your passion for a moment, you might fail, but those pressures have made me a better person -- even if I'm constantly sleepy.
And even though it's just a short amount of time on the runway, those two minutes will be worth the year's organization.