The Real Cost of Fashion Weeks
In case you didn’t know, we’re currently in the throes of fashion weeks, having just bid adieu to New York and a big hello to London. Not only are the Fashion Weeks an opportunity for designers to unveil new collections but they also form a mighty powerhouse with a huge economic impact. No doubt about it, any fashion brand worth their clout wants to be part of a Fashion Week – but how much would it really cost you to put on a show?
Fashion Weeks in Milan, London, Paris, and New York are open to all. This means that any designer that wants to put on a show can do so. However, the challenge is to gain official recognition on the organiser’s calendar and brands need to apply two months in advance to secure a calendar listing.
While acceptance into the inner sanctum is straight-forward, the main obstacle is cost. According to a report by Fashionista, a brand can organise a fashion show for around $200,000. This includes the production, models, PR, stylists, and venue. The fact is, putting on a successful show is costly and can be significant for those who are working on a small budget. The most basic show costs £ 100,000 but the budget increases the bigger the brand often approaching the £1 million mark. Of course, the budget is determined by your venue and the models booked – both of which are considered an important sales and marketing tool.
The determining factor of venue is always cost. In London, small venues can be rented for £10,000 while larger venues can be rented for upwards of £50,000. The budget will determine where your show is set, bearing in mind that some venues are listed and protected buildings which means they are extremely expensive. On top of this, some buildings don’t allow any modifications in the interior so your theme has to be in tune with the building (and not the other way around). It’s also worth noting that the venue can determine the number of guests you can invite, so ensure you can fill a big venue before booking it.
A model can be booked for up to 20 shows in any given Fashion Week. While it might seem like they are only on the catwalk for a few minutes, you have to remember that additional hours are clocked up in fitting, hair, makeup and other relevant appointments. Generally, castings for Fashion Weeks are only done a couple of weeks before the shoot – with everyone from stylists to makeup artists joining in and having a deciding vote.
The bigger fashion houses employ an agency to take care of their guest list. The ideal guest list includes famous buyers, potential customers, brand ambassadors, celebrities, and the media. All of these guests will be seated in the first rows (FROWS). It’s worth noting that the reported RSVP return rate is only 50%, so out of 100 invited guests – only 50 turn up. The savvy fashion brand counters this by planning, over inviting to avoid any empty seats.
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