Illustration: Samantha Hahn
For this particular Style Week version of “How I Get It Completed,” we’re asking profitable ladies about managing their careers and lives throughout this hectic time of yr.
Christina Fragkou has been documenting vogue week for over eight years. As a contract street-style and vogue photographer, it’s simply her busiest season as she travels from metropolis to metropolis to seize content material for the largest vogue manufacturers and magazines around the globe (together with the Lower!).
A seasoned photographer, she has labored for manufacturers like Dior, Rick Owens, JW Anderson, Balenciaga, Pimples Studios, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Loewe, Gabriela Hearst, and Prada. When she’s not working exhibits, she’s capturing road type for publications together with The Lower, Vogue, DAZED, Hypebeast, and extra. She has captured iconic moments like Karl Lagerfeld’s ultimate present for Chanel, the late Queen of England arriving for London Style Week in February 2018, and Virgil Abloh, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Bieber backstage at Off-White in 2017.
Born in Greece and raised in South Africa, Fragkou (who makes use of she/they pronouns) graduated from school in 2012. Whereas she wasn’t initially positive what kind of pictures she needed to deal with, she determined to use to the Condé Nast School of Style & Design in London. It wasn’t till working an internship at TANK Journal, the place she shot a combination of documentary and vogue collectively, that it clicked: That was what she cherished to shoot. She shot her first vogue week in London in 2015, and this season marked her first New York Style Week again for the reason that pandemic. That is how she will get it completed.
On a median day throughout vogue week:
I am going to mattress round 2:30 a.m. and get up round 7:30. As I get extra drained, I discover that I’ve to make myself get up slightly bit earlier, as a result of it simply takes me that for much longer within the morning. I can’t simply rise up and get out. I’m a morning shower-er and all the time have a decaf espresso on the way in which: oat-milk flat white, even when I’m late. In the course of the day, I’m carrying a shitload on me. I’ve acquired my digicam, my cellphone, and my laptop computer. I’ve acquired two lenses as a result of I’m capturing backstage and road type. I’ll be on the road till sundown capturing road type. On common, I’ll shoot in all probability two or three exhibits a day backstage after which I’ll additionally shoot road type between 4 and 5 completely different exhibits. I attempt to say no to any late-night exhibits except it’s for a shopper that I’ve labored with for a long run and it’s a present that I’m going to take pleasure in, or if it’s for giant bucks. Whereas I sometimes stroll from present to point out or take public transportation, when it’s late at night time, I take an Uber dwelling. I’m not getting on a tube or the metro it doesn’t matter what, not due to security, simply because I’m drained. After which I need to sit on my cellphone for 20 minutes and really feel like a human earlier than I’m enhancing for the night time.
On how she finds work:
After I first began, I despatched out so many emails. I nonetheless ship out fairly just a few emails, nevertheless it’s the basic story that you just hear of a snowball impact. I acquired one small job from a lady that noticed me posting that I went to uni with, that was working at a small journal. I attempted to get into Refinery29, however they didn’t write again after which the subsequent season they reached out to me. A variety of it has to do with photograph editors too. It’s their job to supply photographers and I’m fortunate sufficient to have been doing this for lengthy sufficient now and labored with such a wide range of publications, that when persons are searching for photographers, particularly round Style Week, I’m on their radar.
On what retains her going:
I dance my coronary heart out. If my headphones should not in and the music is just not pumping, I’m asleep, I’m crying, or I’m shouting at folks. I all the time begin with slightly little bit of Florence + the Machine. There’s all the time “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. Then, there’s quite a lot of ’90s R&B and quite a lot of ’70s dad gems and ’80s pop. Oh, and slightly little bit of Justin Bieber. I must preserve the vibe up and it actually does carry me by way of as a result of my physique’s transferring. I discover that if I keep transferring, I can keep up.
On the group of photographers that she works with:
We’ve slightly household that travels collectively. It’s a wild factor to see your good friend on the road and be like, “Hey, see you tomorrow” and you realize it’s gonna be in a special nation. I’ve calculated this: I spend extra days with them a yr than I do with my household. We all know one another’s personalities. You may see when somebody’s having an off day. We’ve completely different locations the place we stand and shoot and there’s a bond there, which is sweet. We simply transfer round altogether. We frequently share residences, or at the least keep in the identical areas.
On how a lot she spends:
My bills shoot the fuck off throughout Style Week, however I do that on goal. I navigate this area in a approach that I do know is most helpful to me. Throughout Style Week, I give myself a good sum of money in order that I do know that I could be grabbing what I need after I need it and I’m not pressured about spending. In recent times, it’s change into extra of a precedence to ensure that I’m sleeping someplace that’s snug for me. That comes as you’re employed longer and also you begin to get extra constant work and also you get higher at what you do and also you get higher at understanding charges. I can handle it, nevertheless it’s costly as hell. I used to be shocked taking a look at costs in New York this time. I usually preserve a price range of my bills per vogue week and I simply refer again to calculate how a lot I ought to be spending, and it was double the cash this yr. I virtually needed to ship an e mail and be like, “I don’t suppose I could make it” after which I discovered a good friend from South Africa who’s going there, and I’m renting a second room from him.
On consuming out:
On the primary day in a brand new place, I am going to the store and get chocolate and many chips. I idiot myself into shopping for some wholesome snacks that I may even in all probability snack on however gained’t end. However I’m principally consuming out. I typically take my laptop computer out to dinner with me, which I fairly take pleasure in. We additionally go for group dinners most nights, and we now have constant locations the place we eat out.
I’m principally selecting outfits out of a suitcase, so I pack for just a few months and I am going round with those self same two luggage. It’s not minimal in any respect, however there’s a guidelines. I would like a pair of fancy pants, very loose-fitting athletic pants, a pair of white pants as a result of I like to put on white, and a pair of cargo pants. I all the time pack shorts. For sneakers, it’s one pair of sandals, boots, trainers, and strolling sneakers. There are quite a lot of little tops and vests. I religiously put on the L.A.-based model On-line Ceramics, and so they do a ton of printed tops. On the day, it’s based mostly on how snug I could be to work in these garments. I type of alternate between, Do I need to look good and type of glossy in the present day? Do I need to look edgy and funky in the present day? Or do I need to appear to be a boy in the present day?
On seeing the much less glamorous aspect of issues:
It’s so simple to see the expertise a method. Whereas it’s so thrilling once you get entry to a model like YSL, it can be like, “the present was meant to start out at 9 and it’s solely beginning now at ten and I’ve been sitting on this podium for 2 hours and it’s zero levels and I can’t breathe. I don’t know that I’m that excited anymore.” Nevertheless it’s a stability and all the things’s a paradox. And it’s finest once you’re leaning into that yin and yang and with the ability to maintain the joy and understanding that pleasure doesn’t take away from the frustration that may include work. You’ve acquired to do not forget that the joy doesn’t compensate for the exhaustion.