Producing a fashion show is actually a pretty big complex. There’s ALWAYS something coming up you hadn’t prepared to, but if you follow our guidelines – you’ll do just fine! Trust us, and the catastrophe is avoided.
We’re both from big families and the oldest siblings – Emmi is the big sister for five brothers and Sarianne is the oldest of four sisters. We both have grown in entrepreneur families and have learned some serious management skills. Fashion show is actually always build with the same basic structure:
1. send invitations (and save the dates)
2. book the venue
3. something to eat and drink?
4. program and host(s)
5. goodie bags
6. marketing before/during/after the show
1. SEND INVITATIONS (AND SAVE THE DATES) People are busy and travel a lot, that’s the reason for save the dates about 1-1,5 months before the event. Invitation then about two week before. Invitation should include the basic information: who, what, where, when and something to make people interested – about the program or if there’s a chance to win something? Also if you wish people to dress in a certain way, mention the dress code. Add an RSVP (= Répondez s’il vous plaît) to have a number of guests so you know how much food, drinks, goodie bags and chairs you have to reserve for the event.
2. BOOK THE VENUE Here we want you to use a lot of imagination and creative thinking! We have been arranging fashion shows on a boat, in a gallery, a hotel room, old market places.. Don’t use the most obvious choice. You can have the show for free in so many places outside or ask for collaborations in places like galleries, factories, libraries etc. You can use decorations like lights, flowers, balloons or just put on dramatic music and make a really simple but attracting show. Follow your brand guidelines, but make an impact with surprising themes that audience didn’t wait.
3. SOMETHING TO EAT AND DRINK? If the invitation says the event starts at 6pm, people will be there around 6:30. So prepare to have especially something to drink, but if your budget allows, also some classy snacks. Sparkling wine is always a good idea when talking about pre-drinks, but you can also make a bubbly, more affordable drink to save some money with mixing soda, juice and alcohol (also have non-alcoholic drinks available). Pinterest is full of great recipes, I personally like fresh choices – not too sweet but sour. Also think about what goes for both men and women!
4. PROGRAM AND HOST(S) This part is actually not that important. People are interested in the designs (or at least they should be), not the artist performing or beverages. Of course there are always some people who come because of the free drinks, food and goodie bags, but mainly the persons invited are your potential buyers, customers, generally known fashionistas and press. If you want to give people a bigger picture of your brand, it’s a great option to have a host rather than the designer presenting everything by herself. We’ve acted as hosts a couple of times in Finland but also in New York. If you want more interaction and casuality, two hosts chatting is better than one. The host plays a big a part of having a great or a dull show.
5. GOODIE BAGS People love free stuff and nowadays they’re also expecting to have it. If the goodie bag includes only brochures or discount codes, people won’t appreciate it. You should always add some extra – candies, samples, gift cards… Be creative and try to make the goodie bags as cheap but as fancy as possible – hard, right?
6. MARKETING BEFORE/DURING/AFTER THE SHOW Marketing is sometimes even more important than the product or service itself. It’s a horrible fact but true. If you have a fashion show but no ones attending, what’s the point then? We’ve been in a fashion show where the producer called to all of his friends 30 mins before the show started because there wasn’t any audience. So the marketing BEFORE is the key to have a great audience, possible buyers and your everyday customers to attend. Marketing DURING the show means social media mainly: material at the backstage, interviews of the interesting guests (Facebook Live is great for this!) and photos and videos on the runway are important to share on all of your accounts, also during the show to arouse interest of those who couldn’t make it or weren’t invited. AFTER the show marketing means posting those high quality photos and videos to your feed. And you can use those when marketing the next show as well.
BUT. You won’t get away this easily. The whole thing includes so much more…
2. STAFF (MUAH, PHOTOGRAPHER, EXTRA HANDS)
5. LAST MINUTE PANIC
1. BUDGET When we get the job, we first ask our customers about the budget. And you must always keep that in mind and do the calculations. If you spend over the budget, you pay it (never happened TG). And that is the reason Excel is your bf. If you’re creative you can make a lot of things cheaper by yourself. But don’t be like a horrible bridezilla by being too stressed about it – eventually the overall atmosphere is more important than the details, you’re the one in charge and will have a burnout or run out of time if you’re trying to do everything without help.
2. STAFF We never like to book the most obvious choices according to hair- and makeup artists, venues, performances, food etc. MUAH There are so many talented young girls and boys who are doing amazing makeups and hairstylings! You’ll find them on Instagram or via recommendations. Ask if makeup schools want to take part of the show and provide students to do the makeups and hairdos. Have one professional there to keep things on track but you’ll save a lot of money and time with this kind of arrangements. PHOTOGRAPHER A great photographer is something we like to invest in. It’s the same with wedding photos, it’s happening in an eyeblink and you can’t redo them. It also gives more of a high class profile of your brand, and explains the higher price range. EXTRA HANDS We’re lucky to have skills in muah and photography but extra hands are something really worthy to us. Models need someone to help them to take clothes off and on. There should also be someone to be in charge of the guest list and welcome people and also people helping with the drinks and food. Extra hands are usually the ones who are really excited to help and see the behind the scenes action of a fashion show. Clever, happy and efficient young ones are our favourite kind of assistants and we’re happy to give them a goodie bag and a letter of recommendation. Some of them may end up working for us one day, if they show a good spirit in the first place!
3. MODELS Like our staff, we like our models to have a great attitude and to co-operate as easily as possible. There are so many girls who are really willing to walk on a show, so why wouldn’t we use the ones that are really grateful for the opportunity. As a model you shouldn’t wear any lash extensions or fake nails because every designer has a different style and some of them might like it as natural as possible. You should be able to transform to their style as fast and easy as possible. Also, we prefer the more natural look, so silicons and botox is a huge no for us.
4. CLOTHES The show is all about clothes and they should look good. Have a steamer or an iron at the backstage so you’ll be sure there are no wrinkles on the precious clothes. There should always be fittings – weeks before the show, but in the worst case scenario there are last minute changes and the clothes won’t fit. That’s why you should always have scissors, safety-pins, skin tape, stain remover, bandage for the shoes with you – just everything you might need. The designer is at the backstage with the models through the whole show to ensure that the models and clothes look good. As producers we are usually the ones who send the models and make sure the walking order is right.
5. LAST MINUTE PANIC It happens every time… Something is missing or someone gets sick etc. When producing a fashion show, the right attitude is important. The designer has chosen you to help and they trust on you – so earn it! Be prepared for everything. It’s your job to make sure everything goes well and smoothly. We always do a walk through with the models and the DJ so everyone knows where to go, where to pose and what is the walking speed with the music. And attitude is also what is in a big role here: if you’re calm and know what your doing, also under the pressure, everything must go well.
One of our recent fashion shows was held in New York. We were asked to run the Fashion Wednesday of Finland 100 NYC events at 287 Gallery on Manhattan. The day included Reima and Visit Finland Media Breakfast, pop-up shops at the gallery space and the big spectacle that took place in the evening. We had 12 brands attending to the show: Marimekko, Chaine and brands from the Finnish sustainable market place called WEECOS (Uhana Design, Mori Collective, Shy Vibes Club, Jatuli, MEM, Mukava, Papu, Mine Güngör & Nouki). The best known Finnish make up brand LUMENE was in charge of the beautiful and fresh make up looks on our models.
We had also talented Finnish performances, a singer Laura Avonius / GEA and artist SUSANNA SIVONEN who made live painting at the event.
LalliS Design on MS Maria with Guide London & Walter Optiikka, makeup Hannele Herttua, hair Iitu Kettunen
We also did a smaller fashion show last week with LalliS Design. Sometimes the size of the audience doesn’t matter, but the people in the audience. It’s important to remember that the designers don’t do fashion shows just for fun. It’s hard work and they want to gain results. The people involved matter – Buyers, bloggers, celebrities, press… You know the thing. We’ve been also asked to do s more exclusive fashion shows where the audience is really carefully selected. There the host plays a big part when chatting with the people. If you do your job well, it’s guaranteed you’ll have work to do in the future as well!