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Putting On Your First Fashion Show


fashion week cross channel generalIn fact, smaller brands put on their own shows and presentations all the time, and these smaller-scale events constitute a large part of the marketplace for fashion buyers representing high-street stores. There is some expense involved, but it doesn’t need to be enormous. With the right preparation, any designer, no matter how minor, can make a show successful.

Choosing a theme

When planning your first fashion show, you will need a theme to get people through the door. It could be as simple as the launch of your spring collection, but smaller brands usually need to be a bit more inventive to generate the necessary buzz. Your theme will also help you set a stage that gives your designs more impact. Although you probably can’t afford the flower-covered walls that Christian Dior is famous for or the long wild grasses and mirrored floors that Coach wowed New York Fashion Week with in 2016,  you can achieve a great deal when you get creative with coloured lights, wire, polystyrene and plastic sheeting.

Choosing a style

Although most people think of a catwalk when they hear the term “fashion show,” this is not the only available format. At the budget end of things, there’s the option of simply inviting buyers to your place to see and touch your clothes as you display them on mannequins. Alternatively, you can set up events where you invite buyers and reporters for drinks and have your models walk through the crowd to present the clothes. Presentations have become a widely used alternative and creative designers know how to set the stage almost like an open fashion shoot. This provides a buzz and makes for great photo opportunities – think of all those social media likes and shares.

(Catwalk image right from Fashion Scout by Chris Daw)

peter jensen 1Finding your models

If you’re working on a very tight budget, then you might be tempted to ask friends to model for you. This can work if you choose these friends carefully, make sure that they’re willing to comply with how you want your clothes to be presented and give them some practice so that they can move correctly and feel confident. If you are using professional models, then you will need to book them in plenty of time and ensure that they know what to expect. It’s a good idea to have a couple of extra people on hand in case someone is ill or gets delayed.

(Image left Peter Jensen presentation by JoJo Iles)

Preparing your clothes

When you get your clothes to the venue, you will need to hang them up and give them as long as you can to shake out creases. Unless the fabric absolutely requires it, ironing is risky, as it can make clothes look too stiff. Steaming provides a gentler option. If you are concerned about the humidity levels in the room, hire a dehumidifier to protect the clothes from moisture and ensure they don’t hang too heavily.

Make sure that your clothes are the right sizes for the models who’ll be wearing them. Have a needle and thread, safety pins and fabric tape ready in case clothes get damaged or you need to make quick alterations. Do not hang clothes next to other garments that they’ll pick up lint from – some designers prefer to have sheets of plastic between each garment.

Promoting your show

If you’re inviting a select audience, then you might feel that you don’t need to do much to promote your show, but there are two issues to bear in mind. First, that select audience likely consists of very busy people who have many other places that they could be. Second, you need your audience to have a good impression. A strong theme is a plus when it comes to getting people to turn up. Use your design talents to make your invitations stand out, and always address them to people by name, not just organisation. Have a few friends available who can fill empty seats if necessary. Make up goodie bags for your guests – a good opportunity to distribute your catalogue – and spoil them as much as you can afford to.

If you use your imagination, then you can give your fashion show a “wow” factor that gets people talking and, with a bit of luck, buying your clothes.

Related articles:

LFW: What Really Happens Behind The Scenes?

The Rise of Consumer-Generated Content for Luxury Brands

See Now Buy Now – Set to Change the Business of Fashion

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