By Mary Zakharova
With the commencement of the 2021 New York Fashion Week last Wednesday, Sept. 8, four Brooklyn College students got the chance to take part in the first of three shows curated by BC Marketing Professor Ngoc Cindy Pham.
Professor Pham first participated in NYFW in 2018, and every year, she invites her students to take part in the show alongside her.
This fall, Brooklyn College students Jamie Jones, Adrianna Gallina, Johnny Desius, and Kalliniki Lambrinoudis were all chosen to participate in the show. Each played a significant role in making the runway happen. Jones was the show’s producer assistant, Gallina was floor manager assistant, Desius led with his modeling, and Lambrinoudis worked as the event’s head makeup artist.
According to Pham, newcomers Desius and Gallina are now thinking about working for New York Fashion Week professionally. Like her students, Pham was always interested in fashion. “My whole family liked dressing up. My family is Vietnamese refugees, and we combined our traditional style with the Western one,” Pham said.
When she began teaching marketing, Pham decided to combine two of her passions: fashion and international business. This combination ultimately led to her involvement in NYFW.
Each show Pham has joined was different and unique in its own way. The most memorable shows for Pham were NYFW 2020, and the spring-summer 2022 collection showcased this September. “The last time we had to do it online. It was horrible… it’s not the same,” Pham added, referring to the 2020 show that COVID-19 forced to carry on remotely.
This year, however, the collections reflect the optimism and energy of a post-COVID world. Designers were inspired by bright colors and the city finally opening up. “People can’t wait to get back to normal life. New York is famous for black colors, but right now, you see color everywhere,” said Pham.
She realized that the pandemic taught designers and fashion consumers like herself to get out of their comfort zones. This year was the first time she took part in the show as a model. “It’s my ninth season, but it’s the first time I walk because life is very short,” she emphasized.
Pham loved the experience, even though the backstage side of NYFW was incredibly stressful. Models were lining up for hair and makeup, shuffling through outfits to find the one that best suits them. When it was time to walk the runway, they were all waiting their turn and making sure they didn’t miss their group.
“Sometimes they [the organizers of the event] don’t remember how many models there are in a team,” Pham said.
NYFW is one of the biggest shows in the world. Even people who are not typically interested in fashion visit the shows, online streams, and collection presentations to see what the city’s creatives have to offer.
“In NYC, nobody judges your personality or uniqueness. Actually, we embrace it,” said Pham. “That’s why we understand ourselves better. We don’t have to be someone else. I like it.”