Your Ultimate How to Plan a Fashion Show Checklist

how to plan a fashion show checklist

Maybe you’re trying to raise money for a good cause. Or maybe you want to put on a feature event to bring business to your area. The fashion show has evolved over the years to cover a variety of purposes–art, fundraising, trendsetting, and marketing–and it’s a creative way to raise money.

Of course, you still have to figure out how to put on a fashion show.

Here, we’ve compiled your ultimate “how to plan a fashion show checklist”. We’ll walk you through each individual step to make sure your show is the talk of the town.

How to Plan a Fashion Show Checklist

Your job as a fashion show organizer is more than just finding clothes. It’s about putting on an event from start to finish.

Creating a Theme

The first step? Creating a theme.

Every fashion show has a theme that ties the event (and the clothes) together. This will be your reference point when it comes time to find clothes and designers, book a venue, and market your event.

You could, for example, focus on fall fashion if your show will take place in September or October, or costumes if it takes place around Halloween, or animals if you’re raising money for an animal charity. Create an inspiration board to help you collect your ideas.

Whatever you choose, you should choose it at least five months in advance.

Building a Budget

Next, you need to build a budget. This will help you figure out how much money you need and what your spending limits are.

If you’re trying to raise money for charity, you’ll want to keep this cost as low as possible. Donations will help matters significantly.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to book a venue, pay a team to run the event, and pay for entertainment. Some designers and models will work on a volunteer basis for a charity event, but not all.

In general, you should expect to spend between $500 and $5,000. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick guide to building an event budget.

Find a Venue

Next, you need to figure out where your show will take place.

For a local fashion show, common event spaces include schools and event centers which can be reasonably cheap to book. Plus, a school often has a stage where you can build a runway.

When you book, make sure you have a space large enough for your desired crowd and a private area for models to change and get hair and makeup done. You should also make sure to book the space for rehearsal times.

Build a Team

Once you have a venue, it’s time to build your team. This is a multi-faceted affair that will cover every possible job running the show. Keep in mind that any job not delegated to someone else will fall on you, so it helps to have extra hands.

For example, you’ll need a backstage manager to handle all major problems and make sure everyone is doing their assigned tasks. You’ll also need someone to run your lighting and someone to do music during the event.

As part of the backstage crew, you’ll need a hair and makeup team during the event. You can often find beauty school students willing to donate their time in exchange for practice and photos for their portfolios. You’ll also need wardrobe specialists to help models get in and out of clothes quickly.

Then, there’s the essential crew–the people in charge of setup and cleanup tasks who will need to be available for the entire day of the event. Ideally, you should have at least five people on the setup and cleanup crew.

And don’t forget marketing–no one will come to your event if they don’t know it’s happening, so you’ll want someone to manage your marketing (especially if you don’t have time to manage it yourself or don’t know much about marketing).

Find Designers and Local Boutiques

Next comes the fun part: finding the clothes for your event.

If you’re doing a local fashion show, it’s a great idea to source clothes from local designers and boutiques. It’s great exposure for them, and it keeps the show a community-centered event.

Keep in mind that you’ll need every aspect of the outfit, including:

  • Shirts
  • Jackets
  • Pants
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Shoes
  • Jewelry
  • Any additional accessories such as bags, belts, hats, etc.

Ask designers or boutiques to donate or loan these items. You can offer them an ad and credits in your program, and ask the designers or boutique owners to appear onstage at the end of the show.

Some designers will want to be backstage during the event for fitting and any last-minute adjustments. Take them up on it if they want to–this is a great way to make sure the show goes smoothly.

Find Models and Coordinate Outfits

Next, you’ll need models to wear your clothes. These can be professional models or volunteers, depending on the show.

If you want professional models, you can hold a casting call or contact local agencies. If you want volunteers, you can advertise on social media and around town, or ask local students (especially if the show will be in a school).

Either way, try to feature a diverse array of models. Depending on your theme, you should include men and women (unless you’re focusing on a specific subset as part of your theme, like men’s suits or women’s dresses).

You should also choose models with a confident walk–this dynamic attitude will engage your audience during the show.

This is also when designers and the hair and makeup team will work with models to create a cohesive look. Remember, for a fashion show, the outfit isn’t the only thing going on–it works together with hair, makeup, and the person wearing the clothes to give a certain impression on the audience.

Make this an involved, collaborative process, and make sure that the members of various teams are communicating with each other so there’s no confusion later.

Finalize Your Timeline and Rehearse

Once you have all the details, it’s time to finalize your timeline and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

You should have multiple rehearsals in order to establish the order of appearance and iron out the timing. This will help with the coordination of your backstage crew, your technical team, models, stylists, and your backstage manager.

Remember, people make human mistakes. Models might walk in the wrong order accidentally, or the technical team might use the wrong lighting changes. It’s important to practice to work out these details ahead of time.

You should have at least one dress rehearsal with full hair and makeup. This will help you see if any looks you wanted aren’t working time-wise and see all of the looks onstage together to make sure they all work with your original theme.

This will also help you finalize the rest of the venue–decorations, seating setup, etc. If you need to dress up your event, check out a company like Event Display.

Et voila! You’re ready to host a fashion show!

More Tips to Live Beautifully

Hopefully this “how to plan a fashion show checklist” helped you figure out the details of your next major event.

Check out our blog for more tips and tricks to live a more inspired, beautiful life, like this post on how to be a boss in a male-dominated career.