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BEHIND THE SCENES | ENTREPRENEURS WHO MAKE GREAT THINGS HAPPEN

Innovation on the Runway: Behind the Scenes at New York Fashion Week

Beyond the glamor of the front row, entrepreneurs hustle to produce the fashion world's signature event: New York Fashion Week. At designer Jill Stuart's Fall 2013 show, small firms are involved in everything, from design to production. Roll over the numbers below to take a closer look.

FASHION WEEK

Lincoln Center, New York City

With 78 designers each spending up to $500,000 to put on a runway show each season, New York Fashion Week is big business. In total, the semi-annual event brings in $733 million to the city--a sliver of the $250 billion-a-year fashion industry. Fashion Week attracts more than 100,000 international attendees, including buyers, celebrities, and famed fashion editors. The event is also a showcase for entrepreneurs, such as designer Jill Stuart. Here's a look at four companies that worked around-the-clock for three weeks to pull off her 11 minute Fall 2013 show.

JILL STUART

Designer, Founder

Before the show, Jill Stuart gives press interviews backstage. Stuart boasts over 500 international stores and in-shops that house her world-renowned fashion, cosmetic, fragrance, and jewelry lines. The 48-year-old got her start at age 15 when she sold her first collection of silver and leather chokers and suede-fringed handbags to Bloomingdales. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1993, she launched the Jill Stuart Collection, which included the fashion backpack, the cocktail mini dress, and plaid kilt shirts. Today, the brand counts Madonna, Angelina Jolie, and Jennifer Aniston as devotees.

ACW WORLDWIDE

Model Casting

Founder Andrew Weir and his employees at ACW sat down with Stuart months before the show to figure out what types of girls to cast. After the lengthy audition process, Weir selected 24 models based on their looks, walk, and presence. Weir launched ACW Worldwide in 2000 after spending just two years as a casting director at Calvin Klein. Some 13 years later, he says he’s turning down offers to cast shows in order to stay sane.

6Up

The Set Up

The show’s lighting scheme and hardwood runway were designed by 6Up, a New York City-based boutique creative production agency that specializes in live events for the fashion world. In addition to matching the event space’s overall aesthetic to the collection, the company worked with Stuart on event details such as model pacing. What the heck is that? During the show, a 6Up employee prompted each girl to take the stage at a specific moment, keeping the show at exactly 11 minutes. Launched in 2001, Oliver Hicks founded 6Up.

DJ BRENDAN FALLIS

Music

A month before the show, DJ Brendan Fallis saw Stuart's collection and came up with a track list that encapsulated the feel of the show. Because Stuart’s fall collection was inspired by young socialites, Fallis initially rounded up songs from strong female vocalists. Stuart rejected his initial list, so Fallis changed directions picking tracks like Blood Orange's Sutphin Boulevard. The Canadian-born 29-year-old came to New York five years ago to get into the fashion industry, DJing on the side as a hobby. Now he’s one of the preeminent DJs in the fashion world with clients like Vogue, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, and Dior.

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Last updated: Feb 13, 2013

SAMUEL WAGREICH is a reporter for Inc.com. He covers tech industry culture and trends, entrepreneurship, and issues facing small businesses.
@swagreich




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