Behind the Door: Roy Howarth
- BY: TEREZA BERKEMEIER
- Jun. 5, 2017
Behind the Door is a series that goes behind the scenes with Miro Door volunteers, exploring the many ways in which we help connect people with opportunities within the fashion and creative industries. Today we hear from Roy who is from Miranda in Sydney, a Fashion Illustrator with a background in Finance and Customer Service. Roy has been one of our longest serving Miro Door volunteers; in fact this year was Roy’s sixth year as a volunteer for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. We were lucky enough to have him share his journey which lead to his role as a Senior Front of House Assistant Floor Manager for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2017.
Image: Tereza Berkemeier
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to volunteer for Miro Door?
In 2012 I was in my second year of my Certificate IV Fashion Design & Industry Practice at Sydney Institute’s Fashion Design Studio (FDS), where I had also previously studied Fashion Illustration part-time. I had learnt that one of my classmates had volunteered at fashion week as a Front of House Usher and this was something I was keen to be involved in. He gave me the details for Miro Door and I applied to be a volunteer for MBFWA. I was pleased to learn my application was accepted and I took part in my first Fashion Week, and since then I haven’t looked back!
What was your first event for Miro Door and how has it been different to most recent years?
My first year as a volunteer for Miro Door was 2012. As it turned out this was in fact the last Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to be held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. Understandably the OPT had a different atmosphere to CarriageWorks, especially with the spectacular harbour views and its proximity to the CBD. In 2012, it was the only year I recall we had an after-party once the week was over. In my first year I wanted to get straight into it, and offered to do the heavy lifting that was required. Over the course of the week it was fascinating to see the amount of preparation that went into every show, and still to this day I enjoy seeing how hectic each individual show can be. From the beginning, everyone I have met over the 6 years has always been friendly and great to work with, and I have made some great friends.
What have been some of the tasks you have done as a Miro Door volunteer and what have you learnt?
I feel like I have done the heavy lifting (literally!) in just about every aspect. With Front of House roles, my tasks have varied from helping other volunteers with setting up benches for audiences to moving other furniture for whatever is required for a show. I prepared and placed gift bags, ushered and cleaned up after shows. From 2014 I decided to get more involved in Back of House duties, which I had prior experience with during my time FDS. This involved preparing garments and dressing. After a couple of years, I was able to provide some mentoring and guidance to other volunteers, especially those who were new to Fashion Week. This led me to becoming a Senior FOH Assistant Floor Manager for the first time this year. This role and the overall experience has been a steep learning curve, but you learn all aspects on the job very quickly.
What tips would you give to Miro Door volunteers?
Do not expect volunteer work to always be glamorous; there is a lot of hard work involved, which can very rewarding. We all play a part in ensuring the whole week is run seamlessly and professionally. It’s important for volunteers, at all levels, to have a professional outlook at all times, approach each day with a ‘be prepared to roll-up-the sleeves’ attitude and take on whatever tasks are needed. Even as a Senior FOH Manager I was doing my share of what may seem like menial tasks. Showing initiative, helping with any tasks possible before and after the shows without having to be asked will help make you a star volunteer!
What is your current passion for design/fashion and how has your volunteer experience helped you with this?
Being an artist, my forte has become fashion illustration enhanced with my studies at FDS. I recently created my own entity called OneLine Illustrations, with the aim of gaining commissions that will one day enable me to do this for a living. While fashion design itself isn’t my thing, Fashion Illustration, and helping with events like Fashion Week & Fashion Festival, enables me to make a contribution to the fashion industry where I can. The side benefits are meeting others with the common interest in fashion, and gaining that valuable insider’s view, which can be very inspirational.
Are there any interesting people that you have come across in your journey that have made an impression on you and why?
I won’t mention names, but it’s always nice to see designers, bloggers and other notable industry personalities, whom I’ve read about or seen online. Even better to be involved behind the scenes in their shows! Over the past few years, I’ve always made a point of being there for The Innovators, the showcase for the graduating students from the FDS, some of who were past classmates. It’s a real buzz to see them come such a long way from when we were studying Illustration part-time all those years ago!
Keep up with Roy’s work by following him on Instagram @onelineillustrations.