A Casting Director’s London Fashion Week Diary
From 7 A.M. call times to scouting off the street, Troy Fearn shares his experience.
For London-based casting director Troy Fearn, fashion week—or 'fashion month' as he calls it—is both exciting and chaotic. When you see a fashion show, the designers' new collections are only part of the equation; it's also his job to find the models on whom to actually show the clothes—and that requires more than simply selecting a pretty face. Not only do you have to match the models to the energy the designer wants, but you have to work within the constraints of the fashion week schedule—a similarly-timed show may have first dibs on the person you want. A hands-on scout, Fearn will quite literally pluck someone off the street for a show if he thinks they are the right fit. Below, the seasoned casting director takes us through his experience this September at London Fashion Week.
What does your job entail?
"As a casting director, it's my job to book the best possible models for a show, shoot, or presentation. My clients have a clear idea on what their brand is saying, who their core audience is, and what look best embodies this. I come in season to season and elaborate on this, giving direction and guiding the casting into its most elevated form."
How do you approach fashion week? What role does it play in your career?
"Casting is quite the process. Outside of fashion week, I'm viewing packages, selecting models, and following up on availability from the comfort of my studio. When fashion week comes around though, that all changes. We're at physical castings, meeting all the new faces and catching up with our seasoned favorites. The music's on ten, people are giving us their best walks, and there's an excitement and a buzz in the air that lasts all of fashion week."
When do you start to prepare?
"In the weeks running up to the shows, my team and I are meeting with designers, discussing points of reference, and deciding on the direction of that season's model casting. Again, it can be quite a process so when you read 'fashion week,' just know for us it actually means fashion month!"
Walk us through your process for a show or lookbook. What is going through your head?
"I'm thinking one of two things: does this person work for our show? and what options do we have on them? For people who don't know, you're either holding the first option, which means you can confirm if you think the model is right, or you're holding the second option, which means another brand has the first ahead of you. So it might be the case that you have 10 models who you love but only two are on a first option. If this happens you might need to recast everyone—stress! Thankfully I have a great relationship with all the agencies so we never really run into these issues."
Is there anything like a typical day for you during fashion week? If so, what's it like?
"No two days are the same and that's the fun of fashion week. Pre-COVID, we were doing four London shows which means 7 A.M. call times, multiple castings in one day—sometimes at the same time other shows are happening whilst somehow trying to squeeze in non fashion week-related work—and a healthy lunch. It can get quite hectic but I have a great team and we always turn it out."
What are your essentials to get you through the chaotic period?
"Rihanna's Anti album, hand sanitizer, and my amazing assistants."
Photos: Courtesy of Troy Fearn
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