Preparing Models for the Fashion Week Gauntlet

BY tamison o’connor for Business of fashion


From nutritional education to getting a better night’s sleep, Sarah Ann Macklin’s not-for-profit aims to equip the industry with a practical toolkit for dealing with the day-to-day pressures of the fashion sector.

Fashion insiders approach the coming month of shows and presentations as if they were training to run a marathon. Designers rush to finish the final looks of their new collections and public relations firms spend hours agonising over seating charts.

Monday’s session attracted 130 attendees, double the size of last season’s inaugural event. The vast majority were models, with model agents from all the major London agencies and journalists peppered among them.

“This is all about knowledge. If you have that knowledge you can implement it.”

Sarah Ann Macklin, Founder

It was important to ensure the knowledge and tools speakers provided were both practical and easy to implement, said Macklin.

“The whole point of the Be Well Collective is you’re meant to take something from it,” she said. “This is all about knowledge. If you have that knowledge you can implement it … It’s great to listen to somebody talk, but if you can’t take that advice and implement it yourself you’re not going to change.”

Macklin tapped expert speakers who understood the workings of the fashion industry, including sleep therapist Nerina Ramlakhan, Nike and Third Space trainer Luke Worthing, stress expert and former model Howard Napper and the Telegraph’s head of fashion Lisa Armstrong, to offer advice and insights into a range of wellness topics, from getting a good night’s sleep to coping with stress and living with purpose to tailoring your workout to complement your mental state. Jillian Lavender, founder of the London Meditation Centre, ended the session with a relaxation exercise.

For next season, Macklin is looking to host the event in a bigger venue to accommodate more guests from across the industry. She also hopes to establish BWC as a charity — a process already underway — that will provide those working within fashion with year-round support, connecting them with a relevant expert that also understands the specific workings fashion industry and subsidising treatment costs.

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Claire Thorburn