How to Choose Between a Runway Show or Presentation at Fashion Week

The time is upon us yet again when the entire fashion industry is running on zero sleep, coffee and energy bars. Despite the frigid temperatures and the piles of slushy snow the fashion elite need hiking equipment to navigate through, we remain committed to showcasing our best work through the runway shows, presentations and parties that make up New York Fashion Week.

Of course, before the check-ins, seating, dimmed lights, thumping music and photographer flashes, months of planning between designers, hair, makeup & nail artists, publicists, production groups, venue coordination and guest list planning takes place. In the past several years, many designers have chosen to forgo the classic runway show and opted to do a presentation instead. Why? Here are the pros and cons that go into the decision.

The Benefits (and Downsides) of a New York Fashion Week Runway Show


  • A runway show begets a captive audience.
  • Attendees can experience the movement of the garments and view pieces from various angles.
  • Models are not distracted. They have their eye on the prize (read: the photographer pit).
  • Makeup and hair remains fresh, because the models are only seen for 30 seconds each.
  • Any blemishes are hidden behind the runway wall.
  • Tradition and an element of standardization can help streamline decision-making
  • You know you’ve made it when you have a runway show with Anna Wintour front row!


  • Looks are seen for a very brief amount of time, so it’s harder for guests to examine each look.
  • In today’s social media age, smartphone photos often show up as a blur which can impede quality content-share.
  • Runway shows rarely ever start on time. It’s like an unwritten rule.
  • The monstrous seating chart. Need I say more?
  • If there are several anticipated runway shows happening at the same time, editors, celebes and bloggers have to choose which show to attend.
  • Smaller brands showing during a larger show may have trouble pulling in top publications due to competing attendance and lack of innovation.
  • Beauty looks, especially nails, don’t get much glory on the runway as they are very hard to see from certain seats.
  • Runway show accommodate fewer guests because everyone is watching the show at the same time and there is finite space.

NYFW Presentations

The Pro’s and Con’s of Designer Presentations at New York Fashion Week


  • It’s easier for guests and fashion photographers to snap (and share) detailed photos of different looks.
  • Guests have the opportunity to focus on each garment at length, as well the nail art, hair and makeup.
  • A presentation has a time frame, rather than a hard start/stop, which increases chances of editors, and influencers being able to attend.
  • A lack of a runway opens up creative possibilities to tell a story or set the scene.
  • Guests can mingle with one another, which makes presentations great places to connect and network during a harried time.
  • It’s easier for editors to interview the designer and beauty leads throughout a presentation.
  • Sponsors can be highlighted in unique ways through custom experiences and brand expression throughout the presentation.
  • Designers can accommodate more guests because people are in and out throughout the presentation time frame.


  • A presentation may require more models, which increases costs. In a runway show, models can do a quick change and walk the catwalk in a completely new look.
  • Hair and makeup can lose their freshness throughout the time frame of the presentation, and more touchups may be needed.
  • Models get tired of standing for two hours, and sometimes start feeling sick. Remember they have been running from show to casting to show all day, and probably didn’t have time to eat in between jobs!
  • Sometimes guests treat presentations as a party, especially if there is alcohol available. You will have guests who linger throughout the entire event, and are still there with a glass of wine while your team is breaking down the set.
  • A runway requires the designer and her team to be “on” for a longer period of time.

Do you prefer runway or presentation for brands you work with? Let us know which one and why in the comments below!

Featured Photo Credit:  BCBG Max Azria, SS14 by Neon Blush
Additional Photo Credit: Photo Credit: FashionMingle

Danika Daly

Danika Daly

Danika Daly is the founder of Danika Daly PR, a boutique PR firm in New York City specializing in contemporary fashion and beauty brands. Danika does everything in a bright, bold fashion, with creative flair and no trace of the ordinary. Danika coaches many brands and aspiring publicists, and has a love for sharing knowledge. She has done so as a writer for various sites such as PR Couture, Fashion Indie, and The Fabulous Report.