Armed with a video camera and a pair of Louboutins, Two Girls in Fashion take fashionistas – and those in desperate need of training – behind the scenes of the world of Canadian fashion.
From creative shoots to a peek behind runway curtains, the web series is designed to follow model Renee Thompson – aka Runway Renee – and jack-of-all fashion trades Alexxuss Knight, alter ego of Nicole Robinson. The girls document their lives on www.twogirlsinfashion.com.
Knight, a longtime blogger of www.thebackstagelife.com recognized early on that fashion admirers rarely see the chaos and spontaneity of photo shoots and runway shows, only seeing the world through smoke and mirrors media and editorial. Add Renee’s out-of-this-world personality and industry experience, and iCarly for the fashion set is born.
- Alexxuss Knight
Though in its infant stages, the site is multidimensional with blogs, images and video. One of the most anticipated sections is TGIF TV. The first installment invites viewers on set of a magazine photo shoot featuring candid interviews with Canadian musicians; a place where fashion meets music. With one successful webisode already banked, the girls are embarking on their next project: documenting their journey inside Toronto Fashion Week.
We caught up with the dynamic duo at the beginning of Toronto’s most stylized event to talk designers, music and inspiration.
Q & A WITH TWO GIRLS IN FASHION
Filler Magazine (FM): As two girls who are in fashion, what does your experience offer people who are looking from the outside in?
Runway Renee (RR): I think because we do creative direction, I model, Nicole blogs, networks professionally and has TV production and project management experience.
Alexxuss Knight (AK): We just know what it takes to make all of the beautiful images come to life and what it takes to make a runway show come together. We feel like people also want to know what it takes. There is a genuine interest in the process and that is primarily what drives us. There is also a very fun not too serious element to the show and I think that is what people really enjoy about the show as well.
FM: How did you two meet originally?
RR: We met at Fashion Week in Toronto last season and Nicole found me backstage to interview me just before the Rachel Mara show. I was getting my hair done, so my head was down and I see these amazing thigh high boots strut through the curtain and then I say “who’s boots are those? She says: “Hey you are just who I was looking for!”
FM: When following TGIF cameras backstage, what do you think would surprise viewers most about the fashion industry?
RR: I think TGIF will give viewers an accurate uncensored idea of how the creative process works on the projects we direct, and how we interact so comfortably with the people we interview and work with. We show the personal side of ourselves as well as those we feature: their style, their favourite fashion moments and their love for fashion.
AK: How random things happen to us all the time. A lot of it doesn’t even get caught on film and we are always complaining about that! Some of the best stuff our audience doesn’t even get to see.
FM: Any plans for TGIF to highlight photographers, makeup artists and stylists at work?
RR: We have lots of Canadian talent that we are excited to bring to TGIF TV in future webisodes.
AK: That’s also the primary focus of [my blog] “The Backstage Life.” It focuses on those soldiers behind the scenes. We work with really talented make up artists and wardrobe stylists. We want everyone to know how hard of a job they really have and what they go through and how they got to where they are now.
FM: Is the audience going to get a chance to see you girls as models, showing us how it’s done?
RR: I am still modeling now with Elite in both New York and Toronto, and we are bringing TGIF TV backstage as I model for Attitude by Jay Manuel and BASCH by Brandon Dwyer. Any chance I get I want our viewers to be involved in what I do and see where I have been.
AK: It seems that this is the million-dollar question (for me anyway). Right now I’ve agreed to do a presentation in June but that is really as a personal favour to the designer. I have such an enourmous respect for what my partner does that I could never even begin to call myself a model. I simply pose for pictures. [laughs, and I do too.]
FM: Speaking of, who are your favourite models, both international and local?
RR: My all time favourite model is Italian International model Mariacarla Boscono. Her walk on the runway is potent, fierce and always unmistakable.
AK: My favourite American girl right now is Lindsey Wixson she is so adorable! I love her dimpled chin and gapped toothed smile.
FM: What do you think, if anything, is missing from Canadian fashion?
RR: We’re missing exposure. We need more external interest. I think we have amazing talent here: Andy The-Ahn, Denis Gagnon, Greta Constantine, Joeffer Caoc and the list goes on. We just need more international recognition.
FM: What designers were you looking forward to seeing this year?
RR: I personally am looking forward to Attitude by Jay Manuel. Not just because I’m in it, but because it’s a real refined, feminine collection that’s also affordable.
AK: Pink Tartan, Attitude by Jay Manuel.
FM: Is being around fashion-types and going to parties and all that jazz really as fun as it looks?
RR: I’ve been in the biz for over 10 years and frequenting the industry parties, and taking the pictures and all the people you meet is very exciting. We love being a part of the scene and it’s a great way to stay connected to all the people who watched me grow up in this business. That’s what makes it worth it for me.
AK: It is as long as you’re well rested and haven’t already been going all day long! It can be tiring, but the best part is the awesome people you get to meet! Such unique personalities!
FM: What do you hate most about the industry?
RR: To be honest, I hate to see that a lot of really talented, disciplined and determined models get overlooked in this business. I hate to see girls on the runway who can’t walk or walk like they are bored and that is still acceptable. I miss the model that can turn and strut and put on a SHOW!
AK: I hate the dishonesty, not every single collection that comes down the runway is brilliant! Not every single girl is beautiful. I feel like at times it can be extremely fake. If you don’t like something just say it’s not your cup of tea. Sometimes I feel that fashion types lack integrity.
- Runway Renee
FM: Renee, you were behind a documentary about women of colour in modeling (The Colour of Beauty). Is that a big part of what drives this project? Have you noticed anything different in your career since the film became viral?
RR: I saw The Colour of Beauty as a way to really express my challenges and the common every day challenges of all models of color in this business. But I also saw it as an opportunity to again, bring some depth and reality to an industry that thrives on the illusion of perfection in beauty. Two Girls In Fashion gives me the same podium: you see me, the real Renee, you see where I started and where I am. It’s a way to follow my progress, my antics and the world through my eyes.
FM: What separates you from other webshows? Is this the next frontier?
AK: Nobody else is really doing it. We cover our own projects as well, that has a lot to do with our mission, we are able to gain access to people and events that your average person wouldn’t be able to. With the increase in regular people creating videos and becoming the next big thing, I think you’ll see a lot more of this reporting.
FM: The site is young with some sections still under construction, what can we look forward to seeing in the future?
AK: Our portfolio section will be coming up soon where you will be able to see the photos and videos of the projects that we work on. Also I’m sure that the site will evolve as we do.
Jennifer Romano is the Editorial Intern at FILLER. She appears as a special to our fashion week coverage.