Q&A With An Events Assistant
Think you want to work in events?
FashionCapital's marketing assistant Rebekah Louise Litherland talks about her experience working as an event assistant.
How did you start out working in events?
Having previously attended a different university before attending Manchester Metropolitan University (where I currently study) I realised the course wasn’t for me and left after a year. Taking a gap year, I decided that I didn’t want to let it go to waste and starting volunteering for a number of events in the North West. Working at a few charity fashion and beauty pageant events, I became an event assistant for a company and regularly helped with the organisation of events. Upon returning to university I continued to work in events.
What does a typical day look like when working as an event assistant?
Early starts and late finishes to be 100% truthful – but they are most definitely worth it. An early start normally sees the set up of the front of house, followed by rehearsals, briefings and a few backstage meetings. Occasionally you will find that there are a few models unhappy, or that a last minute casting needs to take place, or a designer that doesn’t have something they need, and so you have to resolve this quickly and efficiently. Three or four hours before the show is due to start another rehearsal will be carried out, ensuring models, designers, sound and lighting know the running order of the show from start to finish without any problems. Once everyone is confident the models go to make-up and hair, where as an event assistant it is your duty to ensure everyone has everything they need. Prior to the show starting, you then need to get everyone in order, lined up and ready to walk.
What is the best thing about working as an event assistant? What do you enjoy the most?
The whole experience is enjoyable but for me the best thing about working as an event assistant is knowing the event has gone as anticipated and hearing the reviews afterwards. When working behind the scenes you cannot physically see what is happening on stage, all you can do is listen. Once the shows are over hearing reviews and seeing the event in print and online publications, even videos, is extremely rewarding because you know you did all you could and put it all your effort to ensure the event went well and everyone was happy.
What has been the most noteworthy moment of your career so far?
Apart from being offered the placement I am currently completing with FashionCapital, it has to be being offered the opportunity to work at Los Angeles Fashion Week! Working in a fast paced, hot condition was unlike the events I had worked at before. Although my main role was that of a backstage assistant I worked closely with brands and designers, press and the different crews including sound and lighting to ensure all departments were happy and knew what was happening and when. As all of the other assistants had not previously worked at an event before, I also acted as a mentor, helping the others and guiding them when they were unsure of what to do or how to do it. Working in Los Angeles for 2 weeks was incredible, I had the ability to see a new city, meet new people and I believe all of these different learning curves contributed to the confidence I now have.
What is the best piece of advice you have been offered? What advice would you give to a student or someone wanting to work in the industry?
The best piece I’ve been offered would have to be: “Always give yourself options.”
To students and those wanting to work in events, or any job role within the fashion industry, I would advise them to take any opportunity they can and complete it to the best of their ability. The fashion industry looks for experience over education at times and the only way to gain hands on experience is to volunteer and offer time for free. Whilst some are unhappy to do this, it definitely pays off and your work will be recognised leading to recommendations from one business to another.