On her first day at her co-op job in Paris, Sarah Ceniceros Gomez was asked to go out and buy 10 kilos of kumquats.
Even though she wasn’t sure what a kumquat was, she persuaded a grocer using her limited French language skills to reopen his store and sell her the equivalent of 22 pounds of the orange fruit.
After reading that, you might be surprised to learn that Gomez works in the fashion industry. She is on co-op at OBO, a production company that is putting together runway shows for Paris Fashion Week, which starts Monday.
Those kumquats, which were used as decoration for a high-end exhibition, taught Gomez a valuable lesson about event planning: it’s all in the details.
Gomez said the traditional fashion shows where models strut down a simple white catwalk are becoming outdated. The companies OBO works with are focused on creating a more memorable experience, she said.
“I didn’t understand the purpose of the kumquats at the time,” said Gomez, who is studying graphic and information design at Northeastern. “But once I saw them in the space, I got it. It’s little touches like that that make these luxury events special.”
With Paris Fashion Week set to start on Monday, Gomez has had her hands full helping OBO plan 11 different fashion shows for the women’s spring and summer collections. Some of OBO’s clients this season include Elie Saab, Armani Privé, and Altuzarra. Earlier in her co-op she worked on Paris Haute Couture Week and Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
“Luxury brands are competing with one another for who can have the most elaborate or spectacular show,” said Gomez. Some of her favorite examples of this trend include the high-tech glowing runways at Ralph and Russo’s fall couture collection and the AMI menswear show where a runway was replaced with fields of wheat meant to be reminiscent of northeastern France.
On a regular work day, Gomez uses her graphic design skills to create branding materials and website designs. But on the day of a fashion show, it’s all hands on deck for the entire OBO team. The AMI show was a perfect example of this. Gomez said close to 200 people were needed to put the show together, many of whom worked overnight. Right before the show was about to start, Gomez was walking up and down the wheat-lined runways trimming the grass to make sure everything was picture perfect. All of this for a 10-minute presentation.
She said the process for planning these event begins when the designers come in for a brainstorming meeting. The designers bring in their inspirations and ideas, and OBO makes it a reality. After months of planning, Gomez is excited to see the 11 shows that OBO produced this season come together.
“I’m obsessed with this job,” said Gomez. “I never thought I would ever even see these dresses in person, never mind help the models put them on. Meeting the designers and seeing it all come together from day one is the most rewarding part.”
Gomez said she has dreamed of working in fashion since she was 6 years old growing up in Mexico. This co-op has only cemented that dream.
“Next, I think I want to try working for a fashion magazine,” said Gomez. “But what’s certain is that I’m going to stick with fashion. There was never a doubt in my mind.”