What Happens at a Fashion Show?

Alex Tree

A fashion show is an event where designer clothing is showcased on multiple models who walk down a catwalk. These models are typically chosen based on their appearance, body type, and how well they fit into the pre-selected clothing. The audience is normally seated; required to dress according to a dress code; and may even be offered transportation to the show, alcoholic beverages, and dinner. A fashion show’s clothing is generally the best the designer has to offer, kept in pristine condition throughout the show, and then sold or stored. These events have been taking place since the early 1900s, but the clothing, models, and the type of places the events are held has changed.

Models show off clothes on a catwalk at fashion shows.
Models show off clothes on a catwalk at fashion shows.

In general, fashion show clothing is not tailored to fit the model; rather, the model is selected to fit the clothing. Therefore, a model’s chance of being selected to model depends on his or her body and how the designer believes the fashion piece should fit. Backstage, models are dressed, and sometimes heavy makeup is applied for a dramatic appearance. Once they model an outfit, they return backstage to have it removed and, when modeling more than one outfit, are prepped to walk the catwalk again. The removal and application of makeup and complex outfits can take a while, so it is common for fashion shows to start late or run longer than expected.

Fashion designers' work is showcased on the runway at fashion shows.
Fashion designers' work is showcased on the runway at fashion shows.

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Depending on the popularity of a fashion show, the audience might have paid a significant amount of money to be there. Front-row tickets are often very expensive and sometimes come with dinner afterward, transportation in luxury vehicles, and beverages during the show. Fashion editors tend to frequent popular shows and may carry a notebook to jot down notes about new trends. Likewise, photographers from fashion magazines might also be in the audience to capture photos for an upcoming edition.

Fashion magazines may send photographers and journalists to report on major fashion shows.
Fashion magazines may send photographers and journalists to report on major fashion shows.

The clothing at a fashion show is carefully put on and removed to keep it in perfect condition. High-profile pieces occasionally find their way into museums or are sold to benefit a charity. More often than not, the pieces are sold to the general public or simply given to a model. In some cases, the fashion pieces go into storage for later display during a minor event like a store opening. For example, they might be placed in a store window along with the year they wre showcased and the name of the model who wore them.

Fashion show clothing is not tailored to fit a model.
Fashion show clothing is not tailored to fit a model.

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Discussion Comments

Sara007

@popcorn - My daughter's school put on some great fashion shows in 2010 as they have a pretty healthy home economics program and sewing club which lets the kids experiment with making clothes. What I suggest is offering your help with set design for the catwalk or maybe helping with things like food and beverages if they have a snack area set up. When I was helping with my daughter's fashion show I made all sorts of finger foods for the event as they had a bit of a party afterwards. It was quite easy and a lot of fun.

popcorn

Our workplace has this idea of getting the staff to help out with a kid's fashion show at the local recreation center and is asking all of us to chip in our skills. I am not sure what I can do to help as I know absolutely nothing about upcoming fashion shows or what is required. I have some basic carpentry skills and am not to bad with public speaking but other than that I am coming up blank.

What are somethings a guy could do to help out at a kid's fashion show?

I am hoping I won't get stuck having to work as a valet or something silly. Who knows how big of a production this whole thing is going to end up. Our boss is always out in left field.

animegal

Our school put on the fashion show of the year in my opinion. We have a pretty active sewing club at our school and it was amazing the clothing we managed to make over the year. Everything was worn by students and the whole production was a real hit.

What really amazed me about the fashion show was how much work went into making everything happen. Not only do you need to have the perfect seating arrangements and stage for a decent catwalk but backstage is pure chaos. You need people to do makeup and hair. Plus, you need all sorts of technical know-how. We had to get the audio and film club to do all the lighting and sound. It was a really huge project.

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