Behind the Curtains: Nashville Fashion Week 2011 Volunteers Speak

Written by: Imani Ellis
College student and lover of vintage fashion Imani is a great on-air personality and President of the Vanderbilt Public Relations Society

As New York, London, and Paris Fashion Weeks come to an end, the preparations for Nashville’s 2nd Nashville Fashion Week are in full swing.

Nashville Fashion Week is organized by Creative Co-op Nashville, a volunteer collaboration of fashion, retail, and media professionals who have partnered to combine their resources and passion to create this amazing event. As with any complex-volunteer run event, the success of Nashville Fashion Week relies heavily on the dedication and efforts of the numerous volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to producing a fabulous week of fashion.    

(l to r: Mike Smith, Connie Richardson, Robert Campbell, & Marcia Masulla)

A few weeks ago, requests for 2012 Nashville Fashion Week volunteers were sent to those who participated in helping last year. Cynthia Warner, who serves as the volunteer coordinator for Nashville Fashion Week, is responsible for coordinating and organizing all the tasks for the many volunteers who participate in Nashville Fashion Week. Although at first glance, choosing to volunteer to help with a fashion show may appear to be extremely glamorous-Warner explains that it is anything but. “It's important to note that Nashville Fashion Week is work. Volunteers start early and stay late (and we're all volunteers, by the way). You may have an assigned role, but you'll be expected to pitch in wherever needed if asked. Of course, if you want to come to Nashville Fashion Week to see fantastic runway shows and fully experience five nights of fashion-focused events, you may not want to volunteer.” Warner continues by explaining that volunteers are given a different perspective of the fashion world than those who are attending the show. “A volunteer role will give you a very different perspective. You'll see firsthand how much hard work, focus, skill, and dedication it takes to produce Nashville Fashion Week. You'll understand and experience the very 'unglamorous' efforts required to provide extraordinarily beautiful and creative venues that showcase beautiful and creative designs. You'll practice all your best endurance, problem-solving, and quick thinking skills—you'll be worn out everyday.”  

Despite the promise of hard work and long, strenuous hours, a large majority of volunteers who participated in Nashville Fashion Week 2011 are more excited than ever to help create the fashion filled week again. Louisa Wells, a sophomore at Vanderbilt University who also has her own lifestyle and fashion blog, volunteered as a photographer with Nashville Fashion Events for Nashville Fashion Week 2011. Louisa captured images at numerous trunk shows, and attended Christian Siriano’s Fashion Show, a fashion show in Green Hill’s Mall, and Kelly Cutrone's reception after her speaking engagement. When asked what the best part of volunteering was she replied, “that all the experience she gained was something she was the most grateful for.” She continued to discuss her excitement to participate in Nashville Fashion Week 2012 and how impressed she was by the success of Nashville’s first Fashion Week. “It was such a success!! To see Nashville come together in the name of fashion was an incredible experience.”    

Photos taken by Louisa Wells at NFW 2011:

Louisa is not alone in her positive sentiments for volunteering with Nashville Fashion Week. Julia Ukwu, an intern for Macs/Amax, served as a stylist for Nashville Fashion Week 2011 and loved every minute of it.

(Julia Ukwu & myself at last year's Kelly Cutrone reception)

“I loved that I gained so much experience, got to work with designers, and experience something different everyday”, she gushed in an interview. “To see so much support in Nashville was a great thing”. When asked what she’s looking forward to for Nashville Fashion Week 2012, Ukwu replied,  “I can’t wait to work with more great Nashville designers and guest designers. I’m also looking forward to working with new people to create some fantastic shows.”

The 2012 Nashville Fashion Week is expected to generate more amazing fashion shows and even more support than last year. With the enthusiasm and hard work of many volunteers and the collective collaboration of creativity and dedication, Nashville Fashion Week 2012 is sure to be the highlight of Nashville fashion this spring. “All of us who work on Nashville Fashion Week are volunteers”, explained Cynthia Warner. “We expect a lot from each other. And we abide by the ‘whatever it takes’ motto.”

Click here for more info or to purchase tickets to Nashville Fashion Week 2012