Realities of the fashion business
FASHION:Midnight oil, 14-hour shoots and 7am starts: ROSEMARY MACCABEasks three women about the not quite razzle-dazzle reality of working in fashion
Ruth Griffin, Model
“I’VE BEEN modelling for 13 years. I started off doing wedding shows, then I joined an agency. In the beginning, I was juggling it with college and other part-time jobs.
“I always did a bit of everything – fashion shows, press work, editorial work, commercial work, PR work . . . you can’t pick and choose. Dublin’s not a fashion capital, so you have to be able to do a little bit of everything.
“I get up at 7am regardless, because my little boy is up, so I do the school run with him. There’s never a typical day or typical week. It’s not nine-to-five, Monday to Friday. That’s a real downside, especially since becoming a parent. This week, I’m doing three shows . . . On Wednesday I leave at 2pm and I won’t be back until after midnight. You have to be super flexible and be able to drop things and just go to the job.
“A model is only one part of a big unit, made up of all of the behind-the-scenes people, and you may be the most focused-on person, but actually you’re the most powerless. Your agent takes the booking, they tell you where to go; the make-up artist decides your look; the hair stylist decides your hair; the photographer and the stylist make the decisions about the vibe of the shoot. The end result is quite glamorous, but a model is at the bottom of the food chain.
“Sometimes, with press calls, it can be freezing. You could be in a teeny little summer dress. They’re quick, so you’re done within the hour, but you’re wearing these short little dresses in the freezing cold. It’s a small complaint, but that can be a struggle.
“It is a tough industry – if you’re not very emotionally strong, or very confident, I would think long and hard about it. And a lot of modelling jobs have become overtly sexual. That’s changed within my career span. If I had a young girl who was looking to get into modelling, I might think twice about it.”
Jessie Collins, editor of Irish Tatler
“I WENT straight from doing a postgrad in journalism to working in Village magazine for free and just taking everything I could. From there I got a job editing a fashion trade magazine . . . There was a lot of work around, so I kind of hopped that way and ended up in Harmonia.
“My day starts off the same as anyone else’s: trawling through emails and catching up. I usually have a long list from the day before to get sorted. A lot of what I do is administrative: organising shoots, organising people, organising editorial [content]. And there are no assistants.
“I eat lunch at my desk. I hit the internet and catch up on what’s happening that day, and in other magazines . . . You really have to keep your eyes open.
“I have a big bunch of writing I do every month as well . . . It’s just myself and two other people putting out a 176-page magazine each month, the equivalent of what some UK magazines do with a team of 40.
“I work late in the evenings because that’s when I can write: when the phones have stopped. I work maybe 45 to 50 hours a week, depending on what’s going on. It would change in press week, where we burn the midnight oil to get the magazine out.