Having a fashion show is a great way to garner press and buyer interest for a brand, but a poorly produced show can lead to disaster and turn off industry insiders faster than you can say “Werk It!” Having the right team of seasoned professionals who know how to orchestrate all of the moving parts that will culminate into a 15-minute runway show or 45 minute presentation is key to driving success.
Fresh off the heels of MBFW, here are 7 fashion show mistakes that are guaranteed to spell disaster:
Bad model casting
As an agency with years of fashion show production experience, we can spot a rookie casting from a mile away. Never book models from a comp card! You need to see their runway walk, or mannequin pose, and how heights line up with the other models. Models are notorious for using creative math when listing their height, and photos often contain heavy editing, so a live casting is necessary.
Not scheduling a proper fitting
A model fitting is critical to the success of a fashion show whether runway or presentation style. The fitting allows you to determine which pieces in the collection will work with which model, handle last minute alterations, and make line-up changes. Pay close attention to hemlines of long gowns. You don’t want your models tripping on the runway. This is also a good time to communicate to models the mood of the runway walk, reiterate the call time, and clarify what should be in their model bag for the show (color and style of under garments, etc.).
Not having enough dressers back of house
Have you ever seen a fashion show where the queuing of the show seems off or there are long pauses between looks? That is a telltale sign that they had wardrobe issues back of house, and it typically means there were not enough dressers helping the models. It is also important to give dressers a tutorial on any articles of clothing or jewelry that have complicated straps or entry.
Not having a front of house plan for last minute arrivals and key media
High profile editors and celebs are notorious for arriving at the last minute for shows and it is important to ensure that your front of house staff is trained properly on how to handle the unexpected. The timing of filling in rows is truly an art. Too soon and you are left with VIPs without a seat. Too late and you are left with empty seats and photographs that make your show look like it was not well attended.
A bad invite
Your invitation sets the tone for your show, and a poorly designed invite can discourage buyers and media from attending. If you are on a budget consider a digital invite and keep things simple. Be sure to avoid using any pixelated images. Make it a requirement for show sponsors to provide a 300 DPI or vector logo to guarantee inclusion on the invite.
Failing to do a run-through of the show
Doing a run-through gives you one last opportunity to give models direction on their walk and mood, check music/lighting queues, and handle any issues with the look of pieces in your collection as they come down the runway. Our team once caught a see-through pair of men’s shorts in a run-through for a Mercedes Benz Fashion Week show that we were able to fix easily with a quick purchase of nude men’s briefs at a local drugstore (the model only brought underwear with an anchor print). It doesn’t have to be a full run-through if time is tight, but a quick run-through with sound and lighting checks is critical.
Shoes that don’t fit the models
Often designers try to save money by using brand partners to supply footwear or purchase limited sizes. If you want the show to run smoothly you need to provide models with shoes that fit. Shoes that are too big result in a wobbly walk, shoes that are too small often result in unattractive runway photos, and audience members paying attention to the wrong thing. Avoid wedges and other shoes that give models a “clompy” walk.
Avoid these 7 mishaps and you will be well on your way to a show where the clothes and the brand shine bright.
Photo Credit: Terence l.s.m