It is a Friday afternoon in September. Students are shuffling from class to class in an under-zealous attempt to forge through the day and into a beach-filled weekend. Most students are tired. Most students are just going through the motions. Most students do not even know it is fashion week.
Most students are not sophomore Sophia Winter. Winter was busy catching a flight. Winter was busy chasing her dreams.
When New York Fashion Week calls, you do not ignore the phone. You book your flight to the city and do your fashion duties diligently. For Winter, this meant spending her weekend working for designer Tracy Reese. She organized, prepared and occasionally even shoe shopped to prepare for the brand’s Sunday afternoon presentation show.
“I got in at 10 and left at 2 a.m.,” Winter said. “They say that fashion week is fueled by tears and coffee…which is pretty accurate.”
The Tracy Reese show took place in New York’s Marble Cemetery, where a secret garden theme shone through the vignettes placed throughout the venue. The vignettes ranged from a fashion illustrator drawing her interpretation of the event to a string quartet surrounded by baby’s breath flowers. The one thing they had in common? They were all adorned in Tracy Reese. Winter explained that the models themselves were what really made the show stand out.
“Tracy’s idea was to empower local women,” Winter said. “So she brought in real people, like activists, philanthropists.. And she used all of these women as her models.”
Among these models were a handful of celebrities, such as Saturday Night Live actress Sasheer Zamata and a dancer from the infamous Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance. The models, who were of all ages, interacted with the crowd and moved around –something that traditional runway shows lack. Winter explained that choosing an alternative route mirrored Reese’s personality perfectly, which is not jaded by the industry.
“She is [a] very predominant and strong-willed woman,” Winter said. “She has great ideas and vision for her brand, for her future, and definitely her personal visions and morals show through her clothing.”
Winter’s relationship with the Tracy Reese label stems back to Charleston Fashion Week, where she was assigned to be Reese’s personal assistant. The two hit it off immediately, prompting her to stop by her office when she was in New York. This is when the brand’s Public Relations director asked her to come back and help with fashion week in the fall. Winter accepted and flew down the weekend of the show to help with preparations and work the door. The latter lended her the opportunity to greet multiple celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg, André Leon Talley and various Vogue editors.
After a whirlwind weekend with Tracy Reese and her whimsical spring wardrobe, Winter found the adjustment back to school to be a bit difficult.
“Getting exposed to different personalities and characteristics and learning what skills work in the industry and what don’t is something that I’ve benefitted from,” Winter said. “It kind of makes it hard to come back to school and make the transition back to grades and essays and things like that when you’ve been exposed to these amazing men and women who are doing big things.”
Although for now it is back to the books, Winter has big plans for a very fashionable future. The sophomore Arts Management major hopes to break into the world of magazine publication.
It looks like she is off to a very impressive start.