Despite the current state of the fashion industry from COVID-19 constraints, companies are trying to stay afloat by responding aggressively to new consumer needs. The designers are desperate to adapt to long-term trends that consumers are actually willing to purchase. Regardless of all the changes, companies are innovating and returning to the office, with precaution.
A lot of New Yorkers fled the city, and returning is no cakewalk. A 14-day quarantine is required by the state, which has reduced available employees, especially for shooting the new lines. Also, the pool of models to choose from is not nearly as saturated. Fortunately for model Aga Wojtasik, she remained in the city and is ready to roll as the NYC returns to form Wojtaski explains the survival of a downturn and preparation for the revival.
You work in a competitive industry in the most expensive city in the US. How do you budget, especially during times like this, to maintain a 'model lifestyle and presence?'
I think I have always been reasonable with my expenses, but during this time, I definitely had to prioritize what I'm putting my money towards. I love cooking at home, so it was easy for me to stop eating out for some time. To be honest, I was surprised at how much I can save on drinking coffee at home instead of grabbing it every day on my way to work or castings. For some time now, I have also been visiting vintage stores and thrift stores rather than shopping at popular clothing stores. It is an awesome feeling knowing that I saved money on a piece that's more unique and far better quality.
How have you handled the switch from a fast-paced workflow to a significantly reduced work schedule?
At the beginning of quarantine, it was indeed nerve-wracking. Soon after that, I realized that being stressed about something I have no control over is going to do more damage than good, so I switched to positive thinking and took this time to focus on myself. Luckily, work has been picking up in the last few weeks, and it's a great feeling to be back on set. I also appreciate working so much more right now.
A lot of people fled Manhattan when COVID-19 struck. Now that the fashion industry is starting up again, do you feel remaining in the city has benefitted your opportunity to land more jobs?
Yes, I think so. I decided to stay in NYC through the entire lockdown when things were uncertain. I can see how it could have been a good idea to be in Europe right now and work in different countries as travel is not as limited as here, but on the other hand, I see a lot of models trying to come back to the States, and it is definitely harder than before. On top of that, clients prefer to book girls who remained in one state, rather than girls who traveled in recent weeks.
How were you able to keep model-fit and ready during COVID-19, especially not knowing when you would be back in the studio?
I quickly realized that if I really stay on top of my routine with nutrition and fitness, it will benefit me later on, and I will be able to come back to work faster. Staying in shape is part of my job, so I think during the time when there was absolutely no work, it gave me something to feel good about and have control over.
I also definitely had a lot of fun cooking and baking; I didn't resist any of my favorite foods, so I put a little more work into my workouts... It's all about the balance! I'm incredibly thankful for fitness influencers who have been creating a lot of content and live videos during this time. I have been working out with a polish trainer Ewa Chodakowska. She's been uploading live workout videos almost every single day on her Instagram, and it was a great way to maintain my routine.
Some of your clients are back in the studio, can you explain the new on-set experience? How are you protecting your health?
It is different being on set right now, especially with the first few seconds in the studio, not being able to shake anyone's hand or hug your friends. Everyone on set is wearing masks the whole time. The makeup artists are usually double protected with plastic covers on top of their masks. There are a bunch of hand sanitizers all over the studio for everyone to use. Clients try to limit the amount of people on set as much as they can, so usually, there is one person doing hair and makeup instead of a separate hairstylist and makeup artist. I feel safe on set, and it's great to know that other people care about your safety.
Do you plan to venture into an alternative line of work, knowing that unprecedented times could postpone your cashflow?
I haven't tried to find any other jobs, but I started to invest my savings a little. I think it's a great way to secure your finances. Soon I'm starting a year-long course to become a nutritional practitioner. I'm doing it mostly for my knowledge and helping others, but who knows… maybe it will become my additional job!