• Advocacy

A freelance hair artist shares her Fashion Week journey

Working at NYC Fashion Week is like beauty bootcamp – it’s intense and it can be stressful and taxing, but it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences in a stylist’s career.

Hair and makeup people come from all over the world to spend 2 weeks in New York City creating runway ready looks. There are infinite personality types, culture and language differences, and work styles; but we’re all at work on the same project and share similar goals so that creates a real sense of community.

From the outside, it’s easy to forget that Fashion Week is an event largely put on by thousands of freelance workers. Virtually everyone at Fashion Week is a freelancer – from the hair and makeup artists to the models, wardrobe stylists, photographers, and public relations professionals. When you think about it, Fashion Week is one of the only events that showcases 360 degrees of beautiful freelance work.

Unfortunately, it does have a dark side. As an independent worker, it’s easy to get taken advantage of at such a large event. As a new hairstylist on the scene, I discovered that there’s no set payment standards or schedules for this kind of work. Some of my early clients barely paid and others paid me months after Fashion Week ended! I learned quickly that in order to stay afloat, I needed to negotiate ALL details prior to accepting any job.

Now, I only accept jobs with teams and clients doing interesting work and paying fair rates. This year, I did a Vogue fundraiser for Hillary Clinton as well as shows for Marissa Webb and The Row.

I’m lucky to have found my way, but that doesn’t make poor business practices acceptable. That’s why I support the #FreelanceIsntFree Act. The legislation would make contracts and 30-day payment terms mandatory in the City of New York. It also offers more resources for freelancers who do get stiffed.

The fashion world is a great place to work and we should make it easier for people to be compensated for their talents and labor. Please join me in supporting the #FreelanceIsntFree Act by signing this petition to push the bill to a vote:


Andrita Renee Andrita Renee is a NYC based freelance hair artist and writer working primarily in the fashion industry.

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