Benefits of being a Fashion Week Usher

With butterflies in my stomach, I trudged my suitcase and bags from Marist College to the Poughkeepsie Train Station. I got onto the train in my heels with my special occasion designer bag strapped to my side. I was headed to Manhattan for what is arguably the biggest event of the year; New York Fashion Week.

 Two hours later the tracks came to a stop at Grand Central Station and the doors to the stuffy train opened. The smells of the city surrounded me as I made my way to the streets. Though I have been in the city numerous times in my life, (probably too many to count), I had never been completely alone, so I quickly hopped in a cab and gave the cab driver the address of where I was going. My friend lives in Manhattan and for the next 24 hours her home would be my own specialty bed-and-breakfast.


Being in Manhattan on any given day gives me a rush I cannot explain. The hustle and bustle, the chaos and craziness of the city that never sleeps boosts my energy and makes me feel like I can do anything. But this particular week gave me the rush of a lifetime, as I was now a part of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

For the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week semi annual event, Designers from all over showcase their collections for the upcoming year.  I was lucky enough to not only have been given the opportunity from Marist College to be a greeter/usher for three shows during fashion week but also to be a guest to one of the shows. These events give buyers for major companies such as Saks 5th Ave and Neiman Marcus, the opportunity purchase the hottest looks, for fashion magazine such as Instyle Magazine and Vogue the chance to report on the runway and for fashion fiends to get their fix of the newest up and coming trends. I couldn’t believe I was going to be a part of this, as a guest.

The day of Carolina Herrera’s Fall 2012 Collection finally came. The collection was being showcased at the Theater at Lincoln Center. Exhilaration and anticipation flooded me as I entered Lincoln Center. I was surrounded by buyers for large companies, celebrities, fashion forecasters; editors of fashion magazines, and of course the designers themselves. I truly felt like a kid in a candy shop.

I stood in line to be told where to go before the show, trying to stay out of everyone’s way while still soaking in the experience. Originally my ticket was for standing only, I thought it was a bummer and thought to myself “Oh well, at least I am here,” not even a minute later an usher for the show came up to me explaining that there was one seat open. I did not hesitate and took my seat next to the buyer for Instyle Magazine; my jaw dropped. The lights dimmed and the loud music rang through the walls as the models strutted down the runway. Paparazzi cameras flashed wildly at the end of the catwalk and heads turned to capture each detail of the garments.


The show was over in moments, it seemed shocking to me that all of this hard work, energy, and money was spent on only ten minutes of a show, but it was worth it. I was melancholy walking out of the venue knowing the experience was over, but am lucky to say those 10 minutes will stay with me forever. As I went to catch a cab back to the train station, I found paparazzi outside of Lincoln Center taking photos… of me. I giggled under my sunglasses and big winter jacket, I was no one special to them but gladly stopped and posed for a quick snap shot. As if my adrenaline rush couldn’t get any higher I realized famous fashion photographer for The New York Times, Bill Cunningham was coming at me on bicycle, with a huge smile I said “Bill Cunningham, how are ya?” He said hello and smiled and continued on his merry way. At that moment I felt like I had done it all. I had finally been a part of one of the biggest events in Manhattan, along with some of the top-notch celebrities including, Vogue Editor, Anna Wintour, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Stefano Tonchi and Renee Zellweger. This opportunity and experience only made me realize once again what I love so much about the fashion industry.

Leslie Sullivan

Class of 2015

3 thoughts on “Benefits of being a Fashion Week Usher

  1. Enjoyed your piece, Leslie. From one fashionista to another: Yeah, I get it! One of my biggest fashion moments was when Anna Wintour came up to me while I was having lunch at the Royalton to tell me she loved my haircut.

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