Organizer Danilee Trott dishes out directions ahead of the annual City Fashion Festival taking place from July 7 around the city of Hamilton. *Photo by Anthony Wade
Organizer Danilee Trott dishes out directions ahead of the annual City Fashion Festival taking place from July 7 around the city of Hamilton. *Photo by Anthony Wade

Danilee Trott has been the powerhouse behind the City Fashion Festival since its inception. Asked to list the main things she has to do in the run-up to the festival, she said it was simply too overwhelming a task.

The event project manager gives us an insight into what goes into planning a show of this magnitude. Interview by
Sarah Lagan.

What is the first thing you have to organize when planning the City Fashion Festival? 

Confirm the budget and sponsors. Then create the format for the week i.e. what shows/events we want to do and scheduling dates.

What are the most crucial elements of organizing a multi-event fashion festival? 

Ensuring that each event gets adequate energy, time, marketing and creativity put into it so they are all an individual success, not just the ‘finalé show’. 

In addition, having a professional and experienced team that can work together as well as make progress on their own initiative is imperative.

Do you allow other fashion festivals to influence yours in any way? If so, elaborate. 

We often research other fashion events around the world as well as successes and efforts locally. You can always learn from another event as well as our own history. 

The goal each year is to improve and grow, so whatever that involves, we are willing to make the effort.

How do you go about making the international contacts you have made in the past and getting them on board? 

We have an international liaison, Shiona Turini (Bermudian) that uses her experience working in the professional fashion world in NYC to source and encourage our international mentors and designers to participate in our event.  

We also contact agencies directly and other fashion event organizers to see how we can partner with them to mutually benefit all involved.

Describe the model/designer selection process. 

We put an open call in the newspaper for persons to audition at any one of the four Model Call events. Models are asked to arrive in a ‘uniform’, have measurements taken, are photographed and must do two runway walks in front of the panel. This is recorded live for playback during the review process. There is a panel of five persons that review all applicants and make decisions on who is selected and for what category. Criteria include confidence, walking ability, basic body shape/type, height/age ratio and facial features. Personality and attitude also play a huge role.

How long does it take to put together an event of this magnitude? 

We plan for approximately six months, but when major changes are planned it can be up to a year in advance that early decision making commences.

How many people are involved in putting it together?

We have a core team of eight people that includes creative, administrative, technical and marketing. 

However, as we get closer to the date, we increase that to about 12. The week of the show there are about 50 staff involved one way or the other.

What is the most challenging part of organizing the festival?

For me it is always trying to get everything that I want to fit in a budget that is never enough. I love to push the limits and do things that haven’t been done before to bring something unique to the event. That usually comes at a cost! I would say that managing the models and scheduling is a daunting task as well, which I am happy to have my lead fashion coordinator Tamara Bradshaw who deals with most of that. 

What is the most rewarding part of the job? 

Seeing the final product come together that pleases the crowd, watching the young people transform into models and creating a successful event for the City that caters to the locals and visitors, helping to put Bermuda on the map.