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Lighting Fashion Week!

Being an Electrician for New York City’s Fashion Week.


New York City Fashion Week runs for two straight weeks with non-stop fashion shows. Each show requires a mass amount of equipment, which tends to deplete the local lighting rental shops of their inventory. With fashion shows going on all through Manhattan it is sometimes difficult to get basic equipment. As a crew head it is essential rent for the worst situations, because more often than not they happen. However some of things can not be planned. Such as, visual elements that are sometimes asked for at the last minute. Ex.- finding over hundred florescence lamps in a twenty four hour period. Tasks similar to this happen far to often, but with a great team and some creative ideas it always works out.

A day can start as early as 5am to 8am. One of the first tasks is getting the gear off the truck and finding a location to store This tends to be a challenge at most off site locations (Lincoln Center). Many of the off site shows are i warehouses, art galleries, mansion, or other larger open spaces. These spaces were not intended for shows. The walls are either in a very fragile state or they have been installed for the particular event. In any case when an electrician is carrying around lighting fixture and a bundle of cable, he needs to be particularly careful especially when there are other people trying to pass by and do other tasks. This would include a scenic crew building a set and sound folks placing their gear.

Nothing is ever permanent. As unfortunate as it may be, the design team is constantly evolving the layout of the show. As an electrician it is imperative to be able to adjust to the constant changes in the plan. Though he/she may have put all that labor into making a cable look absolutely amazing, the most important aspect is to fulfill the vision of the client. Making this happen requires at lot of  time, that is never there. Far to often the ten hour call turns into an twenty hour day, filled with many tasks, from building structures to hanging hundreds of units. Depending on how the day unfolds there can be shorten meal breaks, or non at all.

As 1am rolls around and the crew has pushed through the day to get the rig up and working, it is finally time to focus! At this point all the electricians have been going since early morning and they are on their last leg of energy. The end of the day finally comes and the crew gathers their belongs and heads out. However, it is a very short night and the crew has to be back by 7am to do last minute change and show calls.

It is 7am and the venue is full if catering, hair/makeup, and production. As we start to run out of time, each electrician in their show blacks race around the space finishing the last few notes from the night before. With just a few minutes before show time all of the gear is finally where it needs to be.

A room filled with hundreds of people wait around in anticipation. Without warning the house lights and music fades, this is clearly a sign that the show is  about to begin.   Moments later a bank of bright lights illuminates a long runway and a new age electronic sound track is played so loud you can feel the vibrations in your bones. As this happens a fleet of models strut down the very bright runway in designer clothing with hundreds of flashes all around them. The seven minute show flies by and not even fifteen minutes later the set and lights are being struck and packed away.

Throughout Fashion Week an electrician will experience this at least five to six different times. By the end of this very intensive week, people usually take off a fews days to recover. But this experience is not for nothing, each person is well compensated for all the time and energy.

 

Michael L. Cecchini

VP of National Sales

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