Fashion Show Tips for Beginners: Types, Organizing and Importance

What is Fashion Show?
Fashion show is the event that communicates and represents a fashion story. It is an event put on by a fashion designer to show his or her upcoming line of clothing during Fashion Week. The fashion show was come into being with the appearance of retail of costumes in the middle of the 19th century. Up to now, it has become an indispensable media, added with a lot of artistic elements which strengthen its value of appreciation, in the fashion field. Fashion shows launch every season, specifically the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter seasons. This is where the latest fashion trends are made. The two most influential fashion weeks are Paris Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, which are both semiannual events. Also the Milan, London and Berlin Fashion Weeks are of global expectancy. It is one of the tools of fashion promotion.

fashion show
Fig: Fashion show

Fashion shows can be arranged at both consumer and the trade. Designer fashion shows are targeted pre-eminently by trade, fashion journalists and photographers who are invited to preview the latest collections. The major international shows organize in London, Paris, Milan and New York. These shows are the excellent vehicles for gaining designer publicity.

Fashion shows can create a desirable fashion designers name by promoting their collections. By this way retail buyers are associated with designers. Excluding the designer shows, there are charity shows and retail sponsored shows which the public can attend and through which publicity can be attained by the designer, manufacturer and retailer.

During fashion show, garment shows are much more diverse, ranging from the product trade shows through to the high profile Ready-to-Wear Designer shows, like London Fashion Week and then the exclusive Couture shows. The product trade shows are segmented according to broad sector, like men’s or women’s wear, and by specialist product category, like sportswear or lingerie. Over time product trade shows can be replaced by new versions or even change their names to revitalise interest in an ever changing market.

Fashion Week:
Fashion Week is a most common event in the fashion industry. Top designers, brands or fashion houses are presented here with their upcoming collections in a series of runway shows and presentations. Different buyers and the media also present here. Fashion week influence the latest trends for the current and upcoming seasons. The most outstanding fashion weeks are held in the fashion capitals, these are New York, Paris, Milan, and London.

Fashion week happens twice a year and it is lasting approximately one week. In February and March, designers showcased their autumn and winter collections. In September and October, designers showcased their spring and summer collections.

Who Attends Fashion Shows?
Fashion shows are not open to the public and fashion week is not a public event. Designers, via their PR agencies, media members, buyers who work for major boutiques and department stores around the world, and friends of the designer also their closest celebrity friends are invited here.

History of Fashion Show:
The History Center of Olmsted County presents, a Historic Fashion Show featuring women’s fashion from the 1800s. The history of fashion shows remains vague. In the 1800s, ‘fashion parades’ periodically happen in Paris couture salons. American retailers imported the concept of the fashion shows in the early 1900s. The first American fashion show is likely to have taken place in 1903 in the New York City store Ehrlich Brothers. By the 1920s, retailers across the United States held fashion shows. In the 1970s and 1980s, American designers began to hold their own fashion shows in private spaces apart from such retailers. In the early 1990s, however, many in the fashion world began to reconsideration this strategy.

Types of Fashion Show:
Fashion events can range in everything from size to style. What you will need for the event will always depend of what type of an event you are trying to put forward. Being a form of art display and mixing in with all the other art categories (exhibitions, galas etc.) fashion events can also be very easily combined to create a more diverse and complex event overall. There are 6 main types of events in the fashion industry in which most people either be a part of or view.

There are mainly 6 types of fashion show. These are shortly described in below:

  1. A formal runway fashion show
  2. A production fashion show
  3. An informal fashion show
  4. Designer fashion show
  5. Charity fashion show
  6. Sponsored fashion show

1. A formal runway show:
This form of fashion display is one that people will be most familiar with. It is the conventional way for designers to show off their clothing and accessories in a wearable manner (on models). It is similar to a parade in terms of its setup and practice. A runway show will last anywhere between thirty minutes and an hour, where the live models walk or dance along a raised platform in a sequential manner, wearing the apparel of the designer.

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The runway show itself can be done according to any theme and done in any style– some are formal while others are far more informal. But they will always feature these characteristics: a theme (merchandise and scene development), a specified special location, staging and lighting, models, make-up and hair style, production and music.

2. A production show:
This is the most expensive form of fashion shows, as the whole event is almost like a theatrical performance where there is a whole production element behind the show. Fashion and the different fashion trends at the time are displayed and bought to life using special entertainment, backdrops and scenery, lighting effects, live or produced music, and even theatrical performances (acting or dancing). These events can also be done to any specific preferences and can feature 5 models or 50, but once again the clothing is shown on the actual body of a person, as a way to show onlookers how the fashion can work in everyday life.

3. An informal fashion show:
Once again garments are displayed on models but in a very relaxed and informal environment- perhaps in a department store or as they mingle among guests at an event. There are no special lighting or sound requirements and the sell-ability of the clothing is purely up to the model and how he or she looks in the outfit. This form of display requires very little planning (as it is essentially just the model, hair and makeup production and the clothing that needs to be presented) and can be slipped in with almost any other event. Some say that this form of fashion revelation is actually quite subliminal as the spotlight is not being shown on the fashion model or the clothing but it is still being advertised.

4. Designer fashion show:
Designers are choosing from each showing their seasonal collections. Each show will feature just one designer, lasting approximately 30 minutes.

5. Charity fashion show:
Charity fashion show performers that are held for a charitable purpose, often directed at a specific and immediate humanitarian crisis.

6. Sponsored fashion show:
The fashion show is organized by the sponsor of any company or organization is called sponsored fashion show.

Some Important Organizing Issues of Fashion Show:
In the fashion industry, fashion shows are fun and creative way to highlighting some of the ethical issues. The selection and organization of the fashion shows and model booking may be done by the fashion office, whereas invitations and other arrangements may be handled by the special department.

Important organizing tips of fashion shows are:

  1. Date and venue
  2. License
  3. The catwalk
  4. Model
  5. Fashion runway
  6. Themes
  7. Hairdressers and makeup
  8. The clothes
  9. Rehearsal
  10. Advertising
  11. The team (For price and management)
    • Producer
    • Backstage manager
    • Entertainment manager

Fashion Show Organizational Chart:

Fashion show organizational chart
Fig: Fashion show organizational chart

Fashion Runway:
Fashion runway is a narrow space and flat platform between rows of chairs or more elaborate setups with multiple catwalks. That used by models to demonstrate clothing and accessories during a fashion show.

Fashion Runway
Fig: Fashion runway

Types of runway:

  1. Directional
  2. Thematic
  3. Commercial
  4. Derivative
  5. Technical

Importance of Fashion Shows:
Fashion designers are able to predict what is likely to be ‘in fashion’ through a combination of influences, including wide reviewing of important textile and style magazines, the specialist services of forecasting trend agencies and visits to key textile and garment fashion shows. However, what could not be overlooked is that the ultimate goal of the fashion show is still the commercial value in the costume market and still to emphasize the significance and function in the costume marketing.

At the very beginning, the fashion show originates from the promotion of products and its purpose is to strive for more recognition from the customers so as to promote the sales of products or to get more orders from the manufactures and the retailers as well as to raise the designers’ and enterprises’ prestige and fame in order to enlarge their social influence and build the social image of the designers and the enterprises and so forth.

The fashion show of commercial promotion is a performance of promoting the products of certain industries or trademarks and designers to the retailers and the consumers. It is a performance directly serving for exchange of merchandise trade. This is the most important, the most original and the most fundamental method of fashion show.

The fashion show is the performance of showing costumes. It is a way of promoting the costumes to the market and adopts the method of making the models dress clothing samples according to the designers’ creation and intention to show (perform) the costumes to the audience in a certain place.

In the fashion, the costumes and the models are both the main parts of the performance and they all serve to show people the costumes to let them feel the beauty and value of costumes totally and directly. The costumes are the core parts that the fashion shows intent to display. Although the performance level of the performers of costumes, the models has immense influence on the effect of costume showing, the models are not the ultimate purpose of the fashion shows. In term of this, the fashion show is different from other arts of performance, because the final goal and essence of the fashion show is to promote the sales of the products.


  1. Elements of fashion and apparel design By- G. J. Sumathi
  2. Advances in Textile Engineering Edited by Rui Wang and Huawu Liu
  3. Mastering Fashion Buying and Merchandising Management By Tim Jackson and David Shaw

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