Interview with Maeghan Archibald, PARK's Director of Fashion
Maeghan Archibald has been with the PARK team for eight years. Originally a model in PARK's first runway show, she is now the Director of Fashion, along with making sure the organization runs like a smooth machine.
What do you do as PARK's Director of Fashion?
I pick all of the designers that are going to be in the shows and their collections. I also manage my fashion team, which is a lot of fun. There's about ten of us now. We need that many people because each show has 200+ outfits in it. The scope of how much stuff there is to organize, track, steam, prep, lint roll, and sew is endless. I also book models, hair and makeup, in addition to picking up shoes, wardrobe, and other styling we do.
What goes into picking the designers?
PARKSHOW is obviously the more emerging designers, so we like to give chances to newer designers who aren't necessarily established yet. At the same time for us, since your stuff is going to be seen by thousands of people, you need to be able to sell it because there's no point of a collection being on the runway if people can't purchase it. So for PARKSHOW it's a mix of people we know, love, and support, and new people we see who are taking it seriously, and want to have that exposure and are ready for it. A lot of people aren't ready to be in front of thousands of people -- there's nothing wrong with that -- but you don't want to promote something and get people excited about it if you have to wait years and years to get what you want.
For PARKLUXE we approach the designers who we feel fit the aesthetic of the theme or vibe we're going for in that show. It's a bit more curated, so there are luxury brands and big headliners to make it a more elevated experience for the audience, where they can see things they would not normally see. We try to showcase new people and new things, but there's always those tried and true brands like Paul Hardy who are always producing new collections. Even though it's the same people, they are still showcasing something fresh, so we like to keep that balance between new and repeating.
Is there anyone you think has grown exponentially during your time with PARK?
I remember the very first time I saw Camp Brand Goods at one of our first PARKSALEs. They just had one sweater and I still have it and it's my favourite! And now when I go anywhere you see Camp all over the place. Spencer Badu has also blown up. I remember when he was an Olds Fashion Institute student working as a Fashion Intern on the PARK team and now rappers are wearing his stuff. He's another example of someone who is now doing big things.
What goes into completing a look for each designer for a PARKSHOW?
The designers show up with their collections, and depending on what they design (full outfits vs. just accessories, etc.) we will fit an outfit on that model and get 10,000 shoes from Gravity Pope. For a clothing designer, we will do a fitting to find the perfect person to wear each outfit and style any shoes or accessories that go with that, to complete the look. We use the same models for every designer so we have to get creative and find a hair and makeup look that works for a variety of things. It's usually a challenge to come up with everything. For anyone who is an accessory designer or a jacket designer we will work really closely with them to complete outfits so that they have a look and a vibe that they want. The timeframe is very tight leading up to the event, so it can get pretty hectic!
We usually have each designer send their collection and what their vibe or inspiration is, as well as their music, so we know what feel they are going for. It also depends a lot on the day-of and seeing how it shakes out with the models, choreography, and staging, which changes a lot leading up to the show.
Every single piece of clothing and accessory needs to be immaculate and go together, and it's just this big messy puzzle of figuring out how it can be this cohesive thing.
I don't think it's really understood from the outside how many moving pieces are part of putting together a runway show. There's so much planning that goes into it and there are so many things that don't go according to plan!
What is your favourite part of every show?
My favourite part of every show is at the end of every event and we all just sit on the floor with no shoes on and eat cold pizza because we don't have time to eat when everyone else does. And I think to myself: "This is the definition of what this is about." We're just running around all day long and the craziest things happen, but at the end of the day I just want to sit in the dirt and eat pizza.