Friday, February 18, 2011

Ask Joey: My Experience at NY Fashion Week F/W 2011

What's Happening!

New York Fashion Week has worn me out, but it was well worth it, let me tell you. I went to several shows this week with my 25 year-old daughter, who is the associate buyer for Bergdorf Goodman, and really enjoyed being in the midst of all the hustle and bustle that is fashion week. Here is my recap for all of you:

Jason Wu - I am blown away by this young designer, who has dressed some very important people including our First Lady, Michelle Obama. His baroque take on sportswear was very feminine, pretty with beautiful rich colors. I expect that this young man will really make a name for himself in this industry.

Diesel1 Diesel2

Diesel Black Gold - The men's coats were great and the models on the runway all looked like young TV stars. Really, they all looked like they were young Hollywood celebrities! The music was hot, and the clothes were very hip, young and fresh. Lots of leather and knits, a little country and rock n' roll mixed together. I'm sure many of you will be excited to hear that I spotted Chace Crawford and Vanessa Hudgens at the show who both looked fabulous.

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Vera Wang - I loved the slinky, sheer pleated dresses, all very feminine. It was good to see a lot of agents roaming around. Vera always makes gorgeous clothing for women that are body conscious. She really knows how to make a girl look sexy.

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Narcisco Rodriguez - Unfortunately, this was not my favorite show. All the girls looked alike, a bit too androgynous for my taste. The clothes didn't knock my socks was like he didn't know whether to make short or long dresses...choose a length! It just didn't excite me. There were too many shoulder pads and boxy menslike suits. I like excitement, and femininity!

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Michael Kors - Beautiful clothes, beautiful models...this was great show. Very elegant and modern but timeless. I think I might start dating blondes again, the girls were gorgeous! There was a really great over coat that I have to buy.

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Anna Sui - I really loved Anna's show. Very modern 60's hippie chic but elegant at the same time. Fabulous show, one of my favorites. Subtle, sexy schoolgirl feel, very fun! Lots of patterns, colors on both clothes and tights and the girls all looked like hippie flower children.

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Calvin Klein Collection - The girls looked good, clothes were very wearable and true to fall. Minimalistic but still classic and very proper. Calvin is good at making girls look sophisticated but still feminine. It was a great way to end fashion week.

Because of fashion week, I didn't have enough time to answer a ton of questions, but I do want to answer this one question for a photographer, who posed a great question and who will remain anonymous.

How do agents and agencies prefer to hear from photographers who are looking to build relationships with them and test with their talent? E-mail? Cold calling? One followed by the other? Or dropping by an agency in person to show your book?

The second part of the question is, how does a photographer make the transition from doing unpaid tests with models to having agencies ask him/her to do paid tests with their models? Is there a certain etiquette for "I've been working with this agency for 'x' amount of time and they've been happy with my work so it's time to start charging" or is it more like the agencies wait for the photographer to develop a certain amount of tear sheets, etc?

My advice to young photographers, who want to break into the business, is to hook yourself with an agency. Contact your local agencies and setup a meeting with them. Make sure you call them, emails get deleted so easily. In the meeting, bring your portfolio and tell them you would like to do testing for them - for FREE.

The key is getting your foot in the door, donating your time, and most importantly building a relationship with the agent, who is in charge of developing young models.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Be available
  • Establish a great rapport with the young models
  • Produce whatever the agent wants in a shoot. For example: If an agent tells you that a certain model's best feature is her face, then make sure you shoot a great beauty shot and not one that focuses on her ass.

No agent will work with a new photographer, if they don't listen to direction and don't produce exactly what they want. Obviously, stay true to your voice and style. The more pleasant and helpful you are, the more they are going to request you.

Once you've established yourself as a reliable and successful testing photographer for the new models, you will graduate to test shooting the more established models. It is at this level where you can become successful. The goal for volunteering with an agency is not to charge the agency; it is to have your portfolio full of established models that you shoot, at no cost!

Obviously if you have expenses with a shoot, then you should ask the agency to pay, but only the expenses.

Once you have worked with the established models, it is at this point where you can start approaching magazines and catalog houses. Your book will show that you have worked with these high caliber models and have great relationships with their agents. One can't make a living shooting exclusively for an agency. The money is always with the advertisers.

So photographers 'get out there and start a relationship with an agency!'

In the meantime,

Have a successful day!


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