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  • Writer's picturePeter Swank

Fashion Show: An Unexpected Life Story

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

It was early Autumn, 2006. I had recently relocated to Atlanta to start a new life. As a pilot, I went flying with a friend, M. Bermudez, who invited me to her roommate's fashion show that weekend. Thinking it was like in the movies, I donned my suit and tie and showed up early- almost two hours early, as the start time I was told wasn’t for the public.

I found my way to the dressing rooms, where my friend introduced me to her roommate. It was interesting being back stage with a handful of local fashion designers getting ready for a runway show / competition. After a bit, the designers started to exclaim their anxiety. The models hadn’t shown up yet. I was asked to call every woman I know to see if they’d be interested in modeling at last-minute. Of course being new to Atlanta, I didn’t know many people, and the ones I did weren’t available or were too modest.

Eventually, the group got their models. As the start time approached, my friend’s roommate was selected to be first in the runway competition. He frantically selected an outfit for one model and asked my opinion. I told him I didn’t like it and pointed out a different combination. He said that was a great idea and appointed me Fashion Coordinator for the competition. Wishing me well, he suddenly left and went on stage to introduce himself to the public. Shocked, I turned to face the models, who were in a half-moon shape around me. They dropped their gowns, and were naked. For a split second, I had the boyish excitement of a dream-come-true. Then I kicked into gear.

It was exhilarating to select outfits and work with the models! My creativity ignited, and I dressed each of them by matching colors, fabrics, and cuts in a whirlwind of intensity then showing them to the stage door. I didn’t have time to think- just feel. Which skirt’s fabric matched what shirt? What color either blended or completely offset another color in some artistic way? Belt or no? Sleeve or no? Too skinny? Too tall? And all in just a few seconds. What a rush!

And we won!

After watching the movie “Pret-a-Porter” in high school, I considered being an attorney for the fashion industry. The traveling, the shows, the people, the excitement… Well this opportunity in Atlanta helped me realize that in ways I never even considered. Thank you to my friend and her roommate for giving me a wonderful life experience I never actually expected to have!

Photo from (not from actual event in above story)

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