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Everything You Should Put on Your Fashion Show Checklist

All kinds of events are pleasing to the eye in some way, but there’s nothing quite like a fashion show! It’s a different animal than a conference or social event, whether you’re generally interested in fashion or not. A fashion show requires a level of sophistication and elegance (not to mention specialized A/V requirements and a potentially intimidating number of actual costume changes) that may mean that the planner has to switch gears and move out of their comfort zone. When all’s said and done, the main requirement of a fashion show is to present a gorgeous, unrivaled product. How you get there is the true test of your creativity and event planning expertise. Don’t fret as you embark on this journey! Check out our fashion show checklist that can keep even the least fashion-forward planner on track and focused, leading to an enchanting event that will knock the attendees’ socks off!

1. Identify your purpose

Besides the fact that it’s exciting and glamorous (and that you may be itching for a new wardrobe), why are you having a fashion show? Is it to raise money or increase awareness for a cause, launch a product or new business, or simply to show the latest fashions by a particular designer? It’s entirely possible that it’s some combination of any of these. It’s so easy to get distracted by minutiae that could pull you off-track of what inspired you to throw this event in the first place. Decide which component is the overarching goal and which are supplementary; keep them in mind as you move through your fashion show checklist.

2. Select a theme and general aesthetic

Achieving that “sophistication and elegance” we mentioned above requires attention to detail from start to finish. It’s not a child’s birthday party — we’re not suggesting matchy-matchy napkins and invitations. Instead, design a general tone and impression to carry throughout the event. Choose a color, a decade, a breed of animal, a season, or a vacation spot. Keep it broad and mysterious at the start, then find connecting threads that will lead your guests to the actual event: start with enticing invitations and social media blasts; weave the theme into the menu and decor, then use the show itself as the not-to-be-missed grande finale. 

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3. Create a budget

Every event needs a budget! Give yourself a realistic range of costs for every component of your fashion show planning process. This serves multiple purposes: one, so you know where your specific line items can expand and contract as needed. Secondly, it provides a cohesive, clear outline of what you need when you’re looking for sponsors or in-kind donations. People are generally happy to give but will always want to know exactly how and where their money is being spent. Transparency is key in all things, especially if you’re raising funds in a nonprofit scenario!

4. Find the perfect location 

Your venue will help to set the mood and tone of your fashion show. Once you’ve created a strategy for the overall feel of the event, make sure a visit to Peerspace is at the top of your fashion show checklist! There, you can choose a spot that will complement your theme in a way that makes sense, whether it’s a straightforward fit or an eye-pleasing contrast. Want to set your vintage-inspired glam fashions against a backdrop of rugged desert? Dreaming of boho-hippie vibes in an urban, industrial space? Browse Peerspace for venue inspiration and to book either of these moods… and more!

5. Find your fashions

Decide if it’s a trunk show for a specific designer, a launch of the new gowns for prom and bridal season, or an image-building seminar for professionals. Partner with a like-minded pro who specializes in that area to manage not only the actual selections of the model’s attire but also the order in which they will be unveiled. Don’t underestimate the artistry required to coordinate this most crucial piece of your fashion show. You wouldn’t hire a chef to run a soundboard, no matter how much he digs music. 

6. Hire your models 

Who is your target market? Unless you’re planning a show for a big fashion house (that is, with specific standards for their models), get creative with whom you highlight on the catwalk! Feature a diverse, relatable gaggle of models, ideally reflecting either the audience you’re hoping to attract or, in the case of a fundraiser or awareness event, the group you’d like the event to benefit. There’s no better way to sell a product or cause than to humanize it. This will help you to remain focused on your theme, too. 

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7. Assemble a team

Layout, lighting, and music done correctly can tie together your theme; they’ll also make the space inviting and irresistible. Less sexy but equally important are behind-the-scenes positions: those who manage registration of guests and pre-event receiving of product are crucial operational team members. While you’re managing final details, someone needs to make sure the fashions are on site and in good condition before adorning your models! Don’t forget catering — and not just for the actual event. You have to make sure your models are fed and hydrated, or you’ll lose them under the lights!

8. Dress for the part

No matter which gender you identify as, wear either straight, basic black or allow the designer to dress you to complement the event. At no other type of event is it more important for you to blend in, even if that means you’re standing out. Your support staff should be in understated black.

9. Execute an outstanding event

Have a final stand-up meeting the morning of the event, then send your team on their way and empower them to knock it out of the park. You’ll be busy chatting up donors and VIPs, making mental notes for post-event followup, and maintaining relationships to ensure a fantastic reputation and more event planning opportunities for your team in the future.

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