5 Ways to Create a Perfect Fashion Show

1. Fashion Show Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a fashion show to get right but is often overlooked especially for fashion shows where the budget is tight.

In terms of the physical design aspects of the fashion show, our experience is that it is the lighting and not the colour of the catwalk or sign of the backdrop that makes or breaks that show. That’s why we always encourage our fashion show production clients to allocate a good chunk of their budget to the lighting.

When lighting a catwalk, it’s important to light it from all sides. This is something that is often overlooked by less experienced fashion show production andcatwalk hire companies who opt to light the catwalk only from the front. By lighting the models from the front only, the audience members sat to the sides (often VIPs) only see the unlit sides of the models that are effectively in shadow.

Equally, it’s important to ensure that the models are lit from behind. As they proceed down the catwalk, some audience members will be looking at the back of the model. Then, as the model returns back down the catwalk, those audience members will be looking at the model’s front.

That’s why, regardless of the size and budget of the fashion show, we always light the catwalk from front, back and sides. This can be achieved either by suspending lighting from the ceiling above the audience, from a “truss” structure build from the ground up around the catwalk or from lighting stands positioned behind the audience.

Some fashion show lighting hire companies don’t put the lighting overhead but instead choose to light the catwalk only from the floor by placing lights along the edge of the catwalk. Whilst this keeps costs low, all it does is create shadows without evenly lighting the models and the fashion that is being showcased.

Finally, VIP audience members are often seated on the front rows along the length of the catwalk to ensure that they are included in any press photos. Most fashion show organisers, therefore, like the catwalk lighting to spill and subtly light the front row of the audience as this greatly assists the photographers. It’s important to use a “frost” in the lights that are spilling onto these front rows to ensure that the VIP guests are not dazzled.

2. Catwalk Backdrop

The catwalk backdrop usually serves a number of purposes including: 

Creating one or two entrances onto the catwalk depending on the design.
Forming the front “wall” of the backstage / quick change area.
Providing a position to display printed sponsor or event branding.
Providing a position to incorporate projection screens or digital signage if required for the event.
Providing a backdrop for photographs.

The catwalk backdrop can be constructed from drape or stage flats and can be supplied in almost any colour you can imagine. For smaller shows, the preference is often to work with drape backdrops as they are more cost effective. Many fashion show organisers of smaller shows choose a “starcloth” backdrop.

For larger shows, hard stage flats give a cleaner finish and can be easily combined with printed branding to promote the event or sponsors. Most often, the catwalk backdrop is finished in matt white and sometimes lit in a glow of colour.

3. The Catwalk Itself

There is a trend in recent years towards having no height for the catwalk – effectively the floor of the venue becomes the runway. However it is still usual to provide a carpet or gloss “runner” at floor level. Most often, this is white, but can be almost any colour. Using the venue’s floor as the runway reduces the costs (allowing more to be spent on the backdrop and lighting) but it is not a cost-saving measure alone. Many major shows, even as part of London Fashion Week, use the venues floor as the catwalk.

Other fashion show organisers prefer to have some height to their catwalk and some catwalks are even constructed on multiple “stepped” levels. These catwalks can be finished in a variety of colours and finishes including carpet and matt and gloss vinyl. The sides of the catwalk can also be finished in any colour.

[Sagetex provided Fahsion Show Produciton including Catwalk Hire and Catwalk Backdrop Hire with lighting, sound and AV for this fashion show event in Coventry near Birmingham.]

4. Music

The music choices made for the fashion show both whilst guests are arriving and during the catwalk show itself has a huge impact on the feel of the event.

Many fashion show organisers provide their production company with a pre-defined playlist or work with their production or AV hire company to create this together.

Other fashion show organisers hire a DJ for the event which brings an additional element of entertainment and flexibility. The benefit her is that the DJ will often make announcements or provide a “Voice of God” service.

5. Sponsor Branding

If you are looking to raise sponsorship to cover the costs of your fashion show, there are a number of different ways in which you can maximise the revenue opportunities. Some examples include:

  • Providing a red carpet entrance with branded “step & repeat” photo wall incorporating the sponsors logos.
  • Projecting the sponsors’ logos onto the catwalk itself.
  • Providing moving “gobo” projections of the sponsors logos in the pre-show area or in the show itself.
  • Including the sponsors’ logos on any AV screens.
  • Including the sponsors’ logos as part of the catwalk backdrop design.

Can We Help?

Stagetex is a specialist fashion show production and catwalk hire company. We work on fashion shows all over the country including Liverpool, Manchester, London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Sheffield and Edinburgh. Our clients range from major retailers where we produce in-store events to local charity events and some of the country’s most high-profile fashion shows.