True Tales of a Collegiette: I Modeled in College Fashion Week

This entire year has lead up to this past weekend. Hold up -- let’s do a quick rewind before I get into all of this. (I didn’t join Her Campus Montclair until late November of 2018). In October 2018, I saw a friend’s Instagram post: “College Fashion Week!” I thought to myself, “How do I not know about this? What is that and why didn’t I go? Who was running this?” I knew Her Campus existed through former chapter members, but I never knew what it’s all about. This sparked me into googling; there I saw it… Her Campus.

Now let's flash forward to today: I’ve been a part of Her Campus Montclair for (almost) a complete year now as a Contributing Writer and recently, Entertainment & News Editor! Although it feels like it’s literally been two minutes since I saw my friend’s post, I modeled and attended CFW for the first time on Saturday. Now let’s spill and break it all down.

“Congrats! You’re a CFW Model!”

I applied thinking I wasn’t even going to be considered (but clearly, I was so wrong). I received my email while I was working, and of course, I threw everything down and read it immediately! I was so excited and began to send the news to my family… then I stopped myself. I didn’t want to share it with the world. Even though that’s literally all I do in my free time; share my whole life on Instagram. I wanted to keep this victory to myself until the very last second. So I never directly told all of my friends, family or my entire chapter; instead, I’m here, writing this.

After reading the email and filling out paperwork I remembered the show is a Her Campus x Primark collaborative; I already followed Primark on Instagram but never shopped there considering my job (American Eagle). It felt a little weird thinking about how different it’s going to feel to wear clothes that aren’t from AE. Then I reflected and told myself: “I’m lucky. I don’t want to reflect ungratefulness. I don’t want to stay in my comfort zone. Let’s do this.”

 

Fridays Are For Fittings!... And Style Disasters

The day before CFW, all the models had scheduled fittings. My commute from North Jersey was rough, to say the least. I had to skip class early in order to get to the fitting. Thankfully, my dad knows how to drive through the streets of hectic NYC. It took a little less than two hours to arrive at the tip of Brooklyn by car. I arrived a couple of minutes early, walked into Primark and received one outfit. One? Yeah, one and it was all sporty; not my style at all. A beanie, oversized hoodie, puffer vest, leggings and sneakers. I put it on and made it work; everything fits me comfortably so woo! (This is the part where we refer back to my earlier reflection of being out of my comfort zone.)

Photo by Giselle Huasipoma

After some back and forth between the Primark employees, they found out that some models were missing outfits. Thankfully they found out during my scheduled fitting! I tried on the next outfit; an overall autumn look that included a plaid scarf, white long sleeve, baggy paper bag pants and ankle booties with no heel. At this point, I felt completely out of place. I’m so accustomed to styling myself and giving others advice in the fitting room. I wasn’t allowed to choose my outfits, it was up to Primark. I asked for a different size pant or a heeled shoe since the pants were too long my height; it bunched a lot and looked balloony. So we did a little switch: a pencil skirt with a slit and chunky sneakers. I lost my comfort zone and creative control. The only option was to make it work.

In came my own useful styling skills. I untucked the long sleeve and tied a knot into the middle front in order to create a cropped effect… much better! 

Photo by Giselle Huasipoma​

All The Morning Mayhem

I got ready the night before but only slept for three hours (totally my fault, I decided to go out instead of prepping earlier; loved that for me). Our pre-party included a beautiful brunch set for 10 am. I took the bus at 8:30 and planned to take trains through the city in order to arrive at Sunday In Brooklyn. But… I completely underestimated the NYC traffic. By the time I got to Port Authority, it was already 9:32 am. Unless I wanted to be 40 minutes late by train and ruin my already empty appetite, I settled for a different route. I rode an Uber for the first time! Yes, 100% my first time. I never felt the need to use it until this very moment.

I arrived at 10 on the dot. As I worked my way up the stairs of this beautiful scenery of a restaurant, good vibes flooded in. That’s when I told myself, “This is going to be life-changing.

 

Content Creation Paradise

The second I walked into our personalized eating area, I was welcomed with overflowing hellos and welcomes. I saw the most familiar face in the room, Her Campus Beauty Editor, Gina Escandon. After secretly fangirling in my head about meeting the Her Campus team and exchanging some words, I sat with all the CFW ladies. We all immediately started chatting and getting to know each other! Everyone was from completely different sides of the east coast. Some girls flew in, drove, took trains, even walked to brunch. After asking each other so many questions, laughing, passing around food, exchanging IG handles, the sun shined in. Everyone knows golden hour means photoshoot!       

Photo by Giselle Huasipoma​​

Road to the Runway

Watching the room transform into an almost empty venue to a complete fashion show was an absolutely jaw-dropping transition. As we stood around and took turns for makeup and hair, we began to explore the already set up goodies. Once it was my turn, I met makeup artist and the sweetest soul, Teddy Wilson. Teddy brought my already-done face up by 50 notches! Joined by Teddy was the entire Glam Squad; restyling us with natural hair and makeup.

Once 5 pm hit, the doors opened and in came the VIP guests; the most stylish women in all of New York City! As I mingled with some girl bosses, I ran back and forth between goodies and snatched. Thankfully, I got to see a handful of my chapter ladies before the show began. Backstage was hectic but thrilling; I’ve done quick changes and touch-ups in the past so I kept everything super organized!

 

Wear it, Walk it, But Most of All… Work it

Walking out and seeing dozens of cameras, loved ones, friends, strangers etc. all went over my head. I looked straight on and thought “I am that b****.” The entire reason for College Fashion Week is to be you. Don’t think about putting up walls, shielding yourself, hesitating; any of those negative words that pull you down. Just be the real you. Whether you’re on the fantasy runway or in the reality of walking to class, walk with all the purpose in the world… it’s #TheRealRunway after all.