Fashion. What is fashion to me? Since I was a young girl, fashion has always been a huge part of my life. It has always interested me. I love anything and everything about it, from the dresses and shoes that I wear to the accessories that I add on to complete my look. This passion for fashion started because of my mom; my mom who believed in not being extravagant with how she looked but had a knack for putting things together in the most elegant way. She has immersed me into fashion my entire life, dressing me up until I had my own sense of style and grace.
What then is fashion to me today? I’d like to think that fashion is based on the concept of being comfortable in my own skin. It is an art of putting together different pieces of clothing, designs, colors and ideas to create a beautiful piece. Fashion is art.
I decided to work on something that I absolutely love but haven’t done in my life. Despite my love for fashion, I have never worked behind the scenes of a fashion show. I have done and attended a couple of fashion related things or events but I was never part of any fashion committee. I wanted to experience something new and exciting. Luckily for me, a friend, who was the head of the entire event, approached and asked me to be a part of the fashion committee of Empire, the first Ateneo Business Cluster Party. He asserted me that it will be a fashion show like no other, something different yet fancy. Huge cages, dim lights, and smoke machines: you name it. Yes, they set the bar really high and that for me was exhilarating. He also mentioned that I would be working with the best of the best; people, who like me, love and breathe fashion. I didn’t think twice, I had to and just said yes.
The Empire fashion show was a momentous portion of the whole event because it was the transition to the party proper. The people expected a lot from it; so many preparations were done beforehand and during the day itself. I arrived at the venue, which was at Richmonde Hotel, right after my NSTP class. I met with the other core members and a bunch of the models. During that time, we had to sort the clothes out and start with the model fittings. This took quite some time because we wanted the clothes to perfectly fit the models, making sure that the right person wore the right piece. There even came a point when I had memorized all of the clothes.
A couple of rehearsals at Eden Night Club, where the fashion show and party happened, took place on top of that. The entrance and exit of the models had to be in sync with the music. Everything had to go smoothly. House music blasted loudly and exuberantly from the speakers. I personally had to remember the cues for the entrance and exit of the models because I was assigned at model management for the event.
The core members and models went back to the hotel for the finishing hair, make – up and clothes preparations, after the final run – through of all the models. Clothes and accessories flew from one place to another. A lot of blacks, golds, diamonds, or anything shiny and metallic were in sight. The core members, including I, ran room to room. I couldn’t help but notice people starting to talk in the fashion language, gushing about trends, the clothes borrowed for the event, the make – up and what they adored the most. Everyone was very occupied and involved. I myself was a busy bee, handling anything related to the models.
Going back, I without doubt enjoyed every moment of it. It was definitely something that I love and wanted to do for so long. Despite the chaos and hullabaloo, I was in a happy and comfortable place. I belonged. Every instant was exciting for me. I also loved the fact that the people trusted me, that even if I were the newbie among all of the core members, they would still ask for my opinion and help. They counted on my capacity and skill. They never doubted me. And because of this, I went all out and did all that I can. I did not shy away from this vigor and energy. I took the opportunity to voice out and share my love and knowledge for fashion. Moreover the collaboration between the fashion committee members is something that I admire. Each and every person contributed to the success of this show. Despite having different fashions and styles, all of our ideas matched up to perfection.
After all of the preparations were completed, the time we have anticipated for several weeks has arrived. All the ideas and plans have been materialized. The Empire fashion show took place and it was indeed a success. Everyone was positively taken by surprise. The people completely loved and enjoyed the whole fashion show. Both the core members and models were walking on air after. It could not have been better. And I am so proud and thrilled to say that I was actually a part of the whole process.
It was definitely a ravishing and delightful experience that I will never forget. Most importantly it made me realize that this [fashion] is something that I truly love and adore and that I should and would embark on it in my future endeavors. Fashion is art and it is my life.
SA 21 – Section P
February 28, 2013
1. What insights were gained from participation compared to just observing?
By participating in the fashion show, you get first hand experience of what it really is like behind the scenes. It is certainly not just glitz and glamour. It is full of tenacity and willpower and you will not experience this by just observing. You also get to contribute to the group and share your own ideas rather than just watch the people work. It gives you a sense of accomplishment after because you know that you really did something that had a direct effect to the event. Not only that it gives you a clearer and deeper understanding of the scope of such event. What’s more in my case by participating in the fashion show, I realized that it is something that I really love to do, something that I am passionate about.
2. What did having a key informant add to your understanding?
The key informant was an important factor in my understanding of this event. I haven’t done anything like this so to have someone guide me through the whole process made it easier for me to adapt to the new surroundings. The key informant was able to inform me of what they planned, what was happening and what they plan to do. By doing this, I became aware of the circumstances, allowing me to grasp and understand every part of this event. Because of all of these, I took part and participated in the fashion show smoothly and without difficulty.
3. What was learned from participant observation at this event that a questionnaire or interview about it might miss?
For an event like this, such as a fashion show, I think that participant observation is most likely more appropriate than a questionnaire or an interview because it is very hands – on. A lot of movement takes place. In fact it is very chaotic. People run from one place to another carrying loads of clothes, accessories and the like. There is never a dull moment in a fashion show. It is also fast – paced. People definitely have no time to answer a questionnaire or even have a sit down interview. It is possible to have an interview after the event however I think that it won’t be as accurate as compared to participant observation where you really get to observe and involve yourself with the whole process. In addition, observing in the sideline is not enough to have that full experience, you have to be able to talk, interact and work with the people in the said event.
4. For what purposes might a questionnaire or interview be better than participant observation?
A questionnaire or an interview may be better than participant observation if you need a more detailed response. Also if you need faster and quicker responses, this is a better choice because it is straight to the point. All the questions in a questionnaire or interview will lead to a definite answer. You need not to go through the whole process of observing and participating in such an event. Besides that, questionnaires and interviews may be seen as better methods because you get ask about things that you could have missed out during participant observation or things that you clearly did not know of. For this particular example [a fashion show], a questionnaire or interview may be best used to get reactions, reviews or comments regarding it.
I do believe that participant observations, questionnaires and interviews are significant in getting information in their own ways. It really depends on the kind of data that you will need. All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages, you just need to know what kind of information you will need so that you can choose the right method that will produce efficient and effective results.