Organizing a fashion show can be stressful for anyone, but most of all for those who lack experience. “Go big or go home” is always a good motto when you have an established fashion brand, but when you are still beginning your fashion career, you should consider a couple different things before shooting for the stars.
Although dreaming about showcasing your collection at New York Fashion Week is a great end-goal, your first few runways might not look exactly like that. This step by step review of the seven things that influence your first fashion show will help you organize your first successful show event while still keeping the costs low.
Planning Your First Fashion Show
Before overthinking your fashion show play-by-play logistics, you’ll need to strategize other factors that go into the show. Thinking about factors like how much you are willing to spend and what kind of experience you want your guests to have while watching your show will influence a lot of the decisions that you will have to make later.
1. Fashion Show Event Budget
It might begin to sound repetitive by now, but the fashion industry can be extremely expensive if you're not sure of what to do. The first question you should ask yourself before creating your dream fashion show is how much you want to spend to do it.
Unless you have immediate access to a reasonable show budget or you encounter a generous investor, you’ll have to plan alternative strategies to finance your event.
You can hire an event planner to help you create the perfect show. This will probably cost 15 to 25% of the total cost of the event. Another option is bringing on a fashion show agency like CM to handle every detail. However, if you’re trying to spend as little as possible, you’ll have to handle most of those event details yourself. In the end, the cost of a fashion show can vary from $60,000 to almost nothing aside from the cost of your products – as long as you’re willing to run around and take care of the main tasks yourself.
2. Runway Theme
Think of a fashion show as going to the theater to watch a play. This is where a director’s idea is born and presented to the public, brought to life by actors, cinematography, and soundtrack. Without a solid theme to work with, the models won’t know how to act and your staff won’t be able to put together an amazing background to enhance the display of your collection.
You can decide if you want to be extravagant like Thierry Mugler or give a sensorial experience like Chanel. There is no limit to what you can imagine for your show!
3. Runway Venue
The venue goes hand in hand with the theme: not every location will perfectly adapt to every theme, so you might want to consider finding a place to showcase while you’re still deciding the theme of your event.
What you need is a place with enough space to fit the runway itself, seating spots for your guests, and a backstage for your models to get ready. Also, do not underestimate lights and speakers: you will need enough power to sustain good lighting and a good set of speakers to play your selected soundtrack.
Three great, low cost places where you can organize a decently sized runway are:
- Public schools, and
- Parks if the weather allows.
If you’re willing to spend more, the rental costs of a fashion studio can go from $150 to $600 per hour, depending on the city that you’ll be showcasing in and the closeness of your venue to the city center.
Assemble Your Fashion Team
Although the day of the show would likely flow easier if you hired a show producer to take care of every detail for you, you can take it upon yourself to run the whole show and make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. If you are determined to keep your costs low, you will have to sacrifice something, be that a hair and make-up team or a backstage manager. However, the following are a list of show functions for which you’ll need to hire staff, or create a plan to adequately self manage.
4. Event Marketing and Promotion
In this case, the internet is key. If you don’t have a website yet, create one and start creating as much content as you can. Share your ideas on every social network and let people know that they will soon be able to see (and buy) your creations in real life.
Contact bloggers and influencers who live in your area and invite them to your show, as well as local boutique owners. If they are interested, you can send them some of your creations to sell or wear on the day of the event or even ask them to walk the runway for you.
An event ticketing platform would be a great added feature not only to give a more professional and well-organized look to your fashion show, but also to track how many people will take part in the event. Here, you can give more information about the show’s venue and program, as well as redirect potential buyers to your website or online store.
5. Show Models
The hourly rate for a professional agency model ranges from $50 to $250 per hour. Depending on how many looks you want to showcase, multiply that cost for 15 to 30 models.
A much more time consuming but cheaper alternative is to do the casting yourself. Advertise your opportunity online and keep your call requests diversified. Don’t just settle for one or two different sizes or shapes of body, and make sure to be as inclusive as possible when it comes to ethnicity.
If you want to keep the costs contained but still make sure to have professionals walking down your runway, you can also create a hybrid by hiring some models from an agency and casting the rest yourself.
Don’t forget that it would be better for both experienced and first-time models to do a practice run before the event. This will not only give them a chance to get more comfortable and know what you expect them to do, but also for you to see the order in which the looks will emerge and edit it as needed.
6. Hair and Make-up
Although you can probably take care of the hair and make-up yourself, you might want to consider hiring a professional make-up artist or even a whole team that will help you get your models ready on time. Having a make-up artist working for you can cost you between $90 and $600, depending on how many models you have and the complexity of the looks that you want to create (remember that full face make-up will cost you much more than having your models going out with a more natural, easy look).
7. The Final Step – Running the Fashion Show
After all this work, you are almost there! On the fashion show day, you will only have a few things left to do. Check the venue to make sure that everything looks the way you want it to; have at least a couple of cameras ready to videotape your show; check in with your models to see if they are comfortable and ready to walk down the runway before sending them out; and then let everybody enjoy your creations.