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How I Worked with Fort Lauderdale Fashion Week

I got involved in Fort Lauderdale Fashion Week pretty late in the game. We had a little over a month until the shows, and I had yet to learn about all of the moving parts that go into this event. I was a little nervous.

Fort Lauderdale Fashion week Media
On the media risers before the shows on night 2 of FLLFW.

The founder of Fort Lauderdale Fashion Week is Florentina West. She’s a model, designer, entrepreneur - and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting. She’s a perfect fit for the term “multihyphenate.” Before I met her, I was worried she might be a stuffy and serious woman whose only concern was getting shit done. I was wrong. Though she does really know how to get shit done, she’s also the most amiable and upbeat CEOs I’ve ever met. And when she says that giving opportunities to the women around her is important, she means it. After I first met with her, I knew this was going to be great.

I also met Lisa Sussman, the Editor-in-Chief of Fort Lauderdale Fashion Week Magazine and an absolute maven of media production. She knew what she wanted and what questions to ask, and she would tell it to you straight, which I always appreciate in people. I knew she would push me to do my best work for this event and this magazine, and I was so ready.

Now, I have to admit that I hadn’t been to many fashion shows before. Seen some on TV? Sure. Absolutely devoured the gorgeous shots from New York Fashion Week that were in every magazine? You bet. But helped work on a runway production? Nope. However, I’m trying this new thing where I’m actually confident, so I trusted that skills I had learned elsewhere would apply to this, too.

I took that confidence and packed it up with me when I went on my first production journey with Lisa to Vero Beach Fashion Week. It was smaller than FLLFW, but it made me realize I was right about my skills. They worked as well here as they did anywhere else, and I was more excited than ever to write for the magazine and get this show on the road.

Then, something kind of unexpected happened. The freelance graphic designer that had worked with Florentina and Lisa to produce the first few issues of the magazine was missing-in-action, and we had about a week and a half before the magazine needed to be finished. Okay, I said to myself. No biggie. My time to shine.

I dusted off my trusty studio art degree, thanked myself for keeping up with those monthly payments for Adobe Creative Suite, and got to work. In about a week, I designed a 30-page version of FLLFW Magazine that would serve as the program for Fort Lauderdale Fashion Week. And damn, it felt good.

While it wasn’t the most perfect piece of design, and I was kind of exhausted from working a full-time job and then spending hours on InDesign laying out the magazine, I was so proud. I was proud not only because I turned it around so quickly and made it look pretty good, but also because I collaborated with Florentina and Lisa to make it happen as a team.

Before I could take a breath, it was time for the first annual FLLFW Bloggers’ Brunch. I launched the FLLFW Magazine website just the day before and had the honor of announcing to the attendees that we were looking for guest bloggers to write for us. There’s not much I love more than working with other creative people, so I was thrilled to become the Director of Digital Media and open up opportunities for local creative fashion and beauty writers.

A few short days later, the runway shows started. The first two nights, I was switching back and forth between Instagram accounts trying to get the best shots for FLLFW and FLLFW Magazine’s stories. On the third night, I was at the check-in table, so I missed out on most of the action.

Local designers including Luis Aponte, Monokoque, Lis Castella, LePremier Miami, ChiChi Vogue, Eido Swimwear, Moderna Doba, James 113, and Versa-Lux (Florentina West’s own brand) took the stage over the 3 nights of fashion shows.

It was incredible to meet some of these designers and see their work firsthand, and I feel so lucky that I was able to work on FLLFW 2019 and that I will continue to work with this wonderful group of women in the future.

I remembered my good camera on the second night, so here of some of my favorite shots:

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