Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Backstage at NYFW, from volunteer to model

Courtesy of Nolo.

At 13 years old, Samara Bartoluchi traveled to sneaker conventions with her parents in Mexico where she ran her own sneaker media brand. Now a textiles and apparel sophomore with a minor in analytics and business of sports, Bartoluchi traveled with the University Fashion Group to New York Fashion Week volunteering with Nolo, a Mexican street-wear brand.

Students from UFG travel to NYFW twice a year in the fall and spring semesters where they volunteer as dressers, technical support, backstage staff and more, said the group’s president Faith McNabnay. This year, TXA junior McNabnay said the group traveled to work with the Global Fashion Collective in September.

“Fashion week is all about creating something new,” McNabnay said. “It seems like such a far away goal, but once you’re (in New York), it feels attainable if you put in the work and effort. Everybody is there: the makeup artists, the production team, the designer themself and the models are right in front of your face.”

McNabnay said all UFG members can apply to volunteer for NYFW during the spring semester and only officers can apply in the fall. The students fund the trip on their own, and networking in the city empowers the group to build relationships with brands, said Bartoluchi, UFG’s PR vice president.

“People are appreciative of your work,” Bartoluchi said. “Last (spring), I got to sit in the front row and have (the brand’s) Instagram streaming the show for them, but I was also dressing backstage. There is a different variety of roles you get to do, and it’s a fast-paced thing of whatever comes up at the moment.”

Bigger brands typically hire a full staff of dressers and stylists, so student volunteers lend an extra hand with more on-demand tasks like running errands or matching models to their looks, said Bartoluchi.

“A lot of people think that fashion can only fit a certain type of profile,” Bartoluchi said. “You really get to see how a lot of people find their space.”

Seth Brogdon, UFG member and a textiles and apparel senior, said he filled a model spot left vacant at the last minute in the Nolo show last spring.

“The time period between them asking me to do it and me doing it was a really intense mixture of fear and excitement,” Brogdon said. “I was nervous because I had never been focused on by that many people in that way before. … (But) I pull(ed) back my desire to not be seen because it’s not really about me, it’s about the designers.”

Brogdon said he sees himself primarily as a designer, and in New York City, people come from all over the world to channel their creativity to unique projects

“New York is a city that makes things happen,” Brogdon said.

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