You know the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Well, those who can’t walk or grow legs-that-never end, volunteer.
Walking into the SCAD MOA has a different feel; an electric atmosphere that you can only describe as anticipation. You pull back the curtains to the backstage and get thrown instantaneously into the mix.
First things first, there is little time for introductions because your name will only be remembered if you keep the fast pace that has been set. It was honestly hard not to try on every pair of shoes that the stylist brings in because you can hear them calling. (Confession: you will try on two, or three, or six pairs).
Now for the model fittings. Once the models start rolling in, your role as a shoe model ends and assisting the stylist begins.
Familiar faces, and some new ones, begin to be outfitted. Garment, check. Shoes, check. Accessories, check. The motions continue until the day before the show. Somehow, they never get monotonous. Maybe it’s just the sheer love of being involved in something you can see yourself doing as a career path.
Thursday is a whirlwind dress rehearsal. Excitement laces the air and the SCAD Atlanta designers have arrived. Dress rehearsals are mostly just considered a quick run through, but SCAD does nothing halfway so for this dress rehearsal you go all out.
From start to finish, everyone is put into their garments at a breakneck pace. Shirts are flying off hangers. Dresses are shed like old skin. There is no privacy backstage. There is only close and closer. It is your choice whether to move with the flow or work against it. But be mindful, because working against it means a heel to the toe or a breast to the cheek. It is organized chaos and it is beautiful.
Friday is the big day! The models begin with hair and makeup. If you didn’t already see it, the makeup is bold and the bowl-cuts are even bolder. Soon it gets kind of hard telling the models apart until they walk right up to their dressers.
Someone yells, “Let’s go!” and it’s like the dress rehearsal all over again. But this time when clothes were shed, the new adornments are worn like an Emperor’s new clothes.
Models put their game faces on. You begin to think about the quickest way to strip their clothes off. (Yes, you realize that saying it sounds super sexual, but when the goal is to put on more clothing, it couldn’t be more platonic).
Eerie and total silence falls on the room. The first measure of music begins to play.
The introduction rhythm to “Cranes in the Sky” has never sounded so exciting. One by one, the models strut down the runway. Suddenly, a sinking feeling sets in when you realize that you can’t see what you spent all week doing. That feeling lasts a few seconds, until someone shoves a phone in your face. It’s the live stream. Your eyes are glued to the screen only until you remember that the runway does not stretch on into the sunset. Back to action.
Fifteen to twenty minutes later, the last model walks in and yells.
If you haven’t yet began to sing, “Wave it ‘round your head like a helicopter,” you are missing out on a moment.
The satisfaction that comes from your collective hard work is something so strong that it unites you and every other person in that room; strange friendships forged in the fires of SCAD FSHWKND.
Written by Faith Newton
Cover photo by Liam Graham Haehnle