Why This Designer's Team Was Chasing FedEx Trucks Right Before Her NYFW Show

Photo: Courtesy of Marissa Webb.
When said out loud, "Fashion Week" is a double entendre — and for anyone who's ever been a part of all the action, feeling weak is not only par for the course, it's often the reason we love fashion to begin with. So, in honor of the moments of chaos, beauty, and excitement that made us feel weak, we present My Fashion Week-ness: a compilation of accounts from some of the industry's biggest players. They're spilling their most memorable stories from Fashion Weeks gone by, and the ones that keep them coming back for more.

First up: Marissa Webb. The former J.Crew designer launched her eponymous line just a few short years ago, and this Fashion Week will show Marissa Webb as well as the recently named creative director for Banana Republic's second collection for the mall brand. But first, she relived last year's pre-FW footwear fiasco, and the reason why her team was chasing FedEx trucks just hours before her runway show.  

“This is a crazy ass business in general. I would say some of the most dramatic moments are leading up to the actual show. Like, last season, our shoes literally canceled days before they were due here. 

"We were waiting for our factory in Brazil to turn around the shoes. They were promised to be delivered on time, but about four days [before the show], they said, ‘Okay, we can’t ship it today. We will ship them tomorrow.’ I was doing the fittings with the models the next day, so I said, ‘I can’t do the fittings without the shoes, and you promised me these shoes for weeks now.' Finally, it came out that the lasts [the bottom of the shoe] weren't here. I said, ‘What do you mean the lasts aren’t here? How can they be on time if the shoe’s not even put together yet?’ So, I said, 'Let’s cancel it, I’m going to have to figure out something else.’ 

"I spent that night after I got home around 11 o’clock texting everyone I knew that owned their own small shoe company. It was very interesting, actually: I met a girl, Ivy Kirzhner, a long time ago, right when I first started on Instagram. We had started talking for the last two years but we never met in person. I really liked her shoes and I liked her energy. When I called her, she said, ‘I would be happy to help you.'

"We started texting back and forth that night, and she was like, ‘Send me what you’re looking for.’ I [sent her] screenshots of a lot of different shoes that she had posted...and she said, ‘I will check in the morning, first thing, and get back to you on how many units we have.’ The next day, which was then three days away from going live, they had to check their inventory in California. They had to go to the warehouse to get all the sizes, all the colors, figure out how many per style, and rush to deliver on time. And, they arrived…but we needed more. We were still down about 12 pairs of shoes leading right into the fashion show. 

"The day of, everything was loaded, all the clothes were already at the tents, and the team was waiting here, and everyone was running around because the shoes had not been bagged yet with each [model's look]. We didn’t know what sizes we were going to get, and we had no idea which colors they were able to find. [By this point], I was trying to figure out, If all the girls don’t have shoes, how are we going to switch them out? How are we going to change the order of the girls, so we can make sure they have something to walk in?

Those are the moments where you just want to flip out, but you can’t, and you have to stay very calm. My team was actually running around on the street looking at every FedEx truck and banging on their windows, asking them to stop: ‘Do you have boxes of shoes in your truck?’ And, one girl was like hanging out of the window of the building looking for FedEx trucks going by. It was crazy. But, they arrived — 45 minutes before the show.

“I think it’s always important to have a back-up plan, because every single season there’s a list of 10 things that don’t happen exactly the way you want it to or planned it to, and so you have to set your mind up for it and understand it’s not always going to get checked off exactly in the order you intend. For me, I start thinking, Okay, maybe we can go run over to any of the shoe stores on Fifth Avenue and it can just be generic black shoes. Or, let’s start pulling shoes from past runway shows and try to put those in. That started being my third back-up, because Ivy was my second, but actually, in the end, I loved how the shoes complemented the looks. And so, it was one of those happy accidents, or happy fuck ups, and it ended up on a really positive ending.”   
For all things Fashion Week around the world — including street style snaps, designer news, and the trends you'd actually wear — head over to Refinery29's Fashion Month hub.

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