The Life Of A London Fashion Week Runner
For those of you whose invitations unfortunately got lost in the post this season, you most likely spent your days watching footage of London Fashion Week online – I know I’ve spent many a fashion week obsessively watching show highlights from my bedroom, wishing I was in the frow with the likes of Anna Wintour. Behind the scenes, a large production team is involved in creating this footage. In the hopes of getting closer to the AW14 action, I applied to be a part of that team – a runner to be exact.
What Does A Fashion Week Runner Do?
In essence, a runner is deployed by the producer and other production staff to assist wherever they are needed on productions. If you don’t like taking orders, being a runner is not for you. My work was extremely varied, but essentially I was there to fetch and carry – a dogsbody if you will. But despite being bottom of the production chain, I quickly came to the conclusion that runners are the indispensable foot soldiers of the team, performing small but vital tasks.
My main duties were arranging and collecting the lunch and dinner orders for twenty or so production staff (whatever you do, do not miss anybody’s order – things can get rather tense after a 12 hour day), and acting as a courier – there was a lot of standing about involved whilst waiting for a show to finish, followed by a lot of somewhat flustered rushing to get the footage back to the production office so the team could begin editing. Highly glamorous, I know.
One thing I will say if you’re thinking of being a Fashion Week runner – do not make the mistake of wearing your new, blog worthy heels on the first day. While they may look great with the ensemble you’ve had picked out for a month, you’ll have sore feet for the rest of your time there. Flats are a runner’s best friend.
Though I may not have sold the job particularly well, being a Fashion Week runner does come with some serious perks. When I had nothing to do between tasks I was able to catch a show in the BFC Courtyard Show Space and assist the team in getting some street style shots around Somerset House, which quickly became my source of inspiration – London really does have the best street style and it was hard not to get swept up in all the excitement directly before a show. I got some amazing outfit shots and saw a fair few recognisable faces – Mary Portas and Hilary Alexander to name a couple.
Attending the Belstaff presentation, admittedly whilst waiting for one of the camera men to help him transport equipment – coincidentally, if you can’t afford a gym membership be a runner for a week; you’ll feel pain in muscles you never knew existed – and watching the Fashion East show from the media pit at the Topshop Show Space. Those photographers sure can shout!
As a runner, your hours will be both long and irregular, and you probably won’t be paid anything more than expenses. Being as fashion obsessed as I am, I accepted the position knowing this. Was it worth it? Yes, most definitely.