Behind-the-scenes photos show what a model fitting at New York Fashion Week is really like

Flying Solo, a curator of independent designers, hosted a fitting day for NYFW on Thursday.

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Flying Solo, a curator of independent designers, hosted a fitting day for NYFW on Thursday.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • New York Fashion Week began on February 6 and ends on February 13.
  • Flying Solo, a curator of independent designers, hosted a fitting day at its SoHo store before the brand’s February 8 fashion show.
  • The showcase will feature clothing from more than 70 designers with 80 models wearing four looks each.
  • While I was at the event, the atmosphere was at times chaotic yet organized overall; models threw their off-duty clothes on the floor, while designers made quick alterations to their runway outfits on the spot.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

While the runway shows at New York Fashion Week might look glamorous, what goes into making them happen is anything but.

In preparation for one of the fashion industry’s biggest events, I went to a fitting day hosted by Flying Solo, a curator of independent designers that sells clothes in its SoHo store. The brand is hosting a showcase on February 8 at Pier 59 that will feature the clothing of more than 70 designers, with each of the event’s 80 models walking the runway in four different looks.

From models quickly switching outfits to designers making alterations on the spot, these photos show just how hectic a New York Fashion Week fitting day can be.


When I arrived at 11:30 a.m., the fitting day (which started at 10 a.m.) was in full swing. Walls were lined with racks of clothes from different designers, and a piece of paper with the names of each collection was clearly marked to make items easier to find.

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The space was packed with designers from all over the world getting ready to showcase their clothes.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

A closer look at the clothes showed just how different each of the designers’ collections were. I saw jackets with fringed sleeves, a plethora of prints, sheer Cinderella-esque gowns, and more.

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Each designer was responsible for providing eight different looks.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Flying Solo employees walked around offering to help designers with anything they needed. Flying Solo staff, designers, and members of the press wore lanyards to identify themselves.

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Everyone, besides the models, wore lanyards.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

The space was packed with models looking for clothes from the designers they would be wearing on the runway. There was limited seating so a lot of people were either standing or sitting on the floor.

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The space was full of models, designers, staff, and members of the press.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Since the Flying Solo fitting day ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., there were a few designers just hanging out waiting for their models to show up.

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Designers waited around for models to arrive.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

A sales associate at Flying Solo and aspiring designer, Aldrian Diaz, told me it was his first time working the event. He said he was already taking mental notes of how designers were keeping track of everything for when his time came to participate in the show.

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A lot of the Flying Solo staff told me they also worked other jobs in the fashion industry.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Models walked in and changed right away so designers could see what alterations they needed to make. As I was walking through, I had to make sure to look around me because I didn’t want to step on any clothes or bump into models being fitted.

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Models and designers worked together to make the fittings run smoothly and fast.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Designers paused their work to keep a record of the models they had already fitted, helping the event to run smoothly.

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A designer makes notes on their fitting list.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Designers and models referred to these lists throughout the fitting to easily keep track of who had tried on what, and what was still left to do.

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Each designer was given a list to keep track of their models.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Models stood as designers altered the clothes they were wearing. At times, I heard some models giving their input on how the clothes fit and if they felt comfortable in each of the pieces.

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Models stood around as designers examined how their clothes looked on.
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Crystal Cox/Insider

Although there were models with a variety of skin tones, as a curvy girl, I found it disappointing that none of the models were close to my size at the fitting day.

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For some models, this was just their first fitting of the day.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

While models were getting fitted, designers had their assistants take photos and video of how the clothes looked so they could go back and make any necessary changes later.

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Most of the designers had at least one assistant.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

I saw a few designers sitting on the floor making alterations after fitting their models.

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This designer was making changes to a top.
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Celia Fernandez/Insider

Naima Mora, the winner of cycle 4 of “America’s Next Top Model” was there for her second Flying Solo show and said she was feeling “relaxed” despite how stressed and frantic everyone looked around her.

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Naima Mora has been modeling for 14 years.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

After the models were fitted, they had their picture taken in their designated outfits while holding up a piece of paper with their name and the designer they were wearing.

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Every model will wear four different looks for the fashion show.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

At the back of the SoHo store, there was a table with deli meats, cheese, ciabatta bread, mini cinnamon rolls, croissants, coffee, and water for everyone to nibble on.

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The food table was restocked at least twice while I was there.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Near the food table, there was a wall of headshots to show the 80 models who would be walking in the show.

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Eighty models are walking in the show, according to a Flying Solo stylist.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

I thought the fitting day would just be about clothes, but I was pleasantly surprised to see there was a wall of accessories like handbags, jewelry, hats, and even sunglasses for designers to pair with their runway looks.

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A lot of the accessories on display were one-of-a-kind pieces.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Stasi Berezovskaya was one of the Flying Solo stylists walking around making sure that everything was running smoothly. She also checked that designers were keeping track of the models they had already fitted.

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Stasi Berezovskaya has been a stylist for almost three years.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Jewelry designer Silvia d’Avila was showcasing her simple yet statement making pieces for her seventh New York Fashion Week season. Her designs have been worn by Janelle Monáe, Cardi B, and Alicia Keys.

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Silvia d’Avila holds a pair of her earrings.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Designer Alexandra Popescu-York is clearly embracing the dramatic sleeve trend that’s set to be big in 2020. I was surprised to find that the inside of this frilled sleeve is actually lined with a sparkly gold fabric, so you can make a statement whether you wear it up or down.

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Animal print is another trend that is slated to be huge in 2020.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Designer Claire Elisabeth was showing her collection for the first time at New York Fashion Week. She told me that her goal with making clothes is for the wearer to like what they see when they look in the mirror.

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Claire Elisabeth told Insider she makes all of her clothes by hand in her Brooklyn apartment.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

As I was walking out at 1:30 p.m., I saw one of the few male models there. Joseph Jones told me that he had a busy day because he had another fitting, as well as a casting, and was walking in a show later that night.

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Most models I spoke with said that NYFW is all about the connections you make.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Going to this fitting day proved that although fashion shows look alluring when they are happening, what goes into making them happen is what I would describe as organized chaos. But despite how hectic it feels, in the end, it all comes together.

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As a big “America’s Next Top Model” fan, meeting Naima Mora was the highlight of my day.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider