PARKSHOW YEG 2017 - Behind The Scenes
In March of 2017, the PARK team headed to Edmonton for the first time in a year and a half to host a series of events, including PARKSHOW YEG 2017, and SHOWROOM 2017. One of our newest team members, Adriana Seto, joined us and wrote this post about her first show experience.
We walked down to the hotel's common area Saturday morning with bleary eyes, wearing the same clothes as the night before. It's the morning of PARKSHOW 2017 in Edmonton, and we are all packed loosely in the dining room, piling our plates high with items from the complimentary continental breakfast.
Most of us have travelled in from Calgary - with four people to a hotel room, we've learned each other's bedroom routines very quickly, ears still ringing from the symphony of snores the night before. Otherwise it is very quiet, a marked change from the usual energy. There is a focus, a palpable tension as people contemplate the tasks that need to be done, the variables that need to be considered ahead of a show that is just eleven hours away. The tension is infectious. I ordinarily work as a Marketing Coordinator for PARK, but on the actual event days I work as part of the front of house team. I stress-eat three boxes of cereal and down a cup of coffee. It's show day.
Anyone who thinks fashion shows are all glamour, flashing lights, and booming music, has never prepped a runway.
Once the VIP chairs are wiped down with placards applied (twice, for good measure), we move on to sorting out gift bags. These will also need to be placed meticulously on each chair to showcase two of our most prominent sponsors, Londonderry and Hedkandi. The gift bags will later be sorted and re-sorted three or four more times that day for maximum sophistication. It's all about the extra mile.
10:39 a.m. We're wrapping zip-ties around the legs of all of the chairs along the runway. We have only been working for two hours, and my legs and thighs are already aching from being crouched over. I curse my feeble body and vow to do squats every day when I return to Calgary. Despite this promise, I never do a squat again.
I wander backstage during a brief break from prepping the runway. Behind the curtain, there are models everywhere, wearing the latest styles from some of my favourite Canadian designers.
There are stacks upon stacks of shoeboxes from Gravity Pope, which PARK's fashion team has worked tirelessly on to tape up the soles and ensure that these are not damaged from use on the runway. I am immediately struck by the effortless cool exuded by the fashion team. It's par for course for everyone to be dressed down for maximum comfort and functionality. For the fashion team, this means athleisure at its finest. For myself, this means a raggedy pair of sweats, some old sneakers, and if I'm lucky, a hoodie that doesn't have a stain on it. Today I'm not lucky.
1:15 p.m. Lunchtime, which is otherwise known as a great time. I quickly find the stash of Hot Rods, Rice Krispies, chips and other assorted processed delights. The unique cocktail of mechanically separated meat, sodium, and sugar tastes good enough that I temporarily forget about the aching in my feet. I'm happy.
3:37 p.m. By now SHOWROOM Market, a pop-up market adjacent to the runway offering clothing and art from Canadian designers, has been open for over three and a half hours. It takes an enormous amount of self-control not to throw my money at every item with dinosaur print at Suka Clothing. In a reprieve from greeting SHOWROOM guests, I take a couple of shots of the complimentary espresso from the Nescafe booth. The caffeine feels like it's hugging my heart in a warm, jittery embrace and I love it.
They begin to rehearse the lights and sound for the show as the models walk up and down the runway. I begin to wonder what it'd be like if I had cheekbones that could cut glass, and then decide that I should not be trusted with that much power.
6:30 p.m. There's only a half hour left until the venue opens. We all hastily glam ourselves up, changing out of dusty sweats and loose ponytails. Suddenly, everybody is beautiful and fabulous.
6:55 p.m. As part of the front house team, we are charged with checking everybody in and providing wristbands for the afterparty. Already there is a huge crowd of people lined up in the vestibule to enter at the 7:00 p.m. start time. There is an electricity in the air, the music is bumping, and we are ready. We can sense the anticipation.
9:00-10:30 p.m. By now everyone has checked-in and has had a chance to shop amongst all of the pop-up stores. All of the guests are at the runway to watch the show. Meanwhile, we are running around, quickly bussing any empty glassware we see, trying to clean up the rest of the venue.
9:00 - 10:30 p.m.
Eventually I remove myself from the front of house booth to catch Lennard Taylor's collection. A model stands still in the middle while he paints the white shirt that she is wearing. It is an incredible display of talent and nerve. The rest of his brilliant collection is showcased as the other models walk around them. Everyone's cameras are up to capture this moment. I've never seen anything like it.
The evening is nearing its conclusion, and a photo on the runway of the entire PARK team is about to be taken. The front of house team literally runs over to the runway for the quick photo before running back to the check-out counter before the coat check rush happens. I can't stop giggling at the ridiculousness, as we charge back from one place to another to close the show.
2:21 a.m. The show has been over for a couple of hours, but we're all tasked with the cleanup and the takedown. There's something to be said about the camaraderie that's built from working together late into the night, despite aching feet and sore backs. One of the things I admire about PARK is that it is an egoless operation where everybody is willing to get down and dirty. When you see the president doing something like a garbage run, it makes you willing to stay late knowing that everybody is expected to put the work in. When we finally finish, we all collapse to the floor, delirious from a job well done.
4:01 a.m. Myself and the rest of the PARK team are back at the hotel where the day started. We're celebrating, we're laughing, and we're sharing a snack-sized bag of chips amongst fourteen people. It feels like we've all gone through something together in the past twenty-four hours. Everyone is tired, but we decide to share a few drinks together -- to bask in the moment as victors, triumphant in pulling off another PARKSHOW for the books.