WEEKEND EDITION

Fashion is My Drug of Choice: An Aspiring Designer Talks Fashion Week

| September 8, 2011 6:00 AM video

Fashion Institute of Technology graduate Edwin Mohney at the spring Fusion Fashion Show. He describes the fast-paced world of fashion design as his favorite drug. Photo courtesy of Edwin Mohney.

Edwin Mohney, 20, moved to Manhattan from his hometown of Holland, N.Y. in 2009 to study fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). He participated in Fusion Fashion Show, which pits FIT students against Parsons School of Design Students, in both 2010 and 2011.

My experience as a fashion student has taught me to hold three things sacred: sleep, coffee and Fashion Week.

Chalk it up to sleepless nights with a looming deadline over my head, but “the essentials,” as I like to call them, are ever-present with the advent of fashion week.

This time of year it’s common to see frantic interns running up and down Seventh Avenue, arms stretched in the air with a dozen garment bags trailing behind them. They’re undoubtedly exhausted, behind on homework and on the verge of a nervous break down, just praying that they can make it back to their boss’s studio before the fitting begins. Been there done that.

Nothing has prepared me better for what the fashion industry is really like than the Fusion Fashion Show did. Twice I’ve signed up to literally relinquish any life I had outside of school for the opportunity to show my own collection.

After months of preparation, four hours of sleep becomes a full night’s rest and a steaming cup of coffee the only thing that keeps sore hands supporting a sore neck. Homework was almost out of the question some nights.

The Rag and Bone spring 2011 collection is modeled Friday, Sept. 10, 2010, during Fashion Week in New York. Aspiring designer Edwin Mohney says that there is no better high than walking down a runway, greeted by cheers. AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

The difference between an A and B blurs when you compare hemming three pairs of pants in one sitting versus drafting a pattern you know you will never use again.

 

Ever since I was 11, Fashion Week has meant hours spent at the computer screen fawning over the latest trends. It was not until recently that I came to understand what a feat a single show is.

My own collection consisting of a just five looks came with its own surprise hiccups. I had one model who I think fell off the face of the earth. She refused to answer any message I sent her. I even joined Twitter to try to find her by following her updates. In the end I was forced to replace her last minute.

There was also a jacket from hell I threw out three days before the show because it fit so terribly. I had to construct a completely new one from scratch because the show’s coordinators enforce a strict rule about keeping the outfits as close to the original designs as possible.

To top it all off I had gotten a mere 12 hours of sleep the entire week leading up to the show. Now imagine that stress on a grand scale. There you have the nervous energy pulsing through the streets of New York.

In reality Fashion Week is the industry’s battery charger. It’s an annual reminder that each season the possibilities are endless.

I can speak for any designer by saying that there is no high comparable to walking down the runway greeted by the cheers of a dazzled crowd. That’s what the industry lives on. It’s a small, but potent dose of euphoria that keeps the industry, myself included, focused on the bigger picture, even in the most stressful situations.

Fashion by far is my drug of choice.

WATCH VIDEO: “Styled”

“Styled,” which features Edwin Mohney, follows two fashion students over the course of three weeks as they scramble to create their collections for Fusion 2011, the annual fashion competition between Parsons and the Fashion Institute of Technology. “Styled” was produced by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism students Sela Foukimoana and Tahiat Mahboob.

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