Showroom teams up with industry leaders to provide you with professional advice on how to take the first steps in the fashion business.
By Anastasia Miari
On how to organise a professional, memorable fashion event.
Develop the concept
Developing a concept or a theme for an event is all completely reliant on the brief that a client or a brand has in mind. Starting from the brand values, their key messaging and what they want to achieve with their event or show is usually a good place to begin at brainstorming part of the process. Visually laying out the brand, who they are, and everything that makes them up – from their products (i.e. their clothes) to the all-encompassing feeling around them is also a great way to begin to get a feel for what the event might look like.
A moodboard – sometimes physical or other times laid out in inDesign or Keynote or even Pinterest can help with the visualisation stages. It all depends on if the brand want to maintain their image, create a new feel according to a new collection or initiative. Then look elsewhere – what has worked? What looks great? Who worked on it? Find the creatives that have worked on similar shows or events and begin to draw from their work too. It’s usually a bricolage of what has gone before, mixed with your own unique view and feel for the event. Will it be immersive? Will it be a standard, straightforward format? Will it be led by visuals or by music or by the format itself? What will make your event different? Start large scale and think of the feel of the event, then begin to think about all the smaller elements that go into this event, like music, tokens to take away, small notes and touches that people remember and more importantly, photograph and share with their networks.
The best way to do the budget is to break it down into sections on an Excel document. Make a list of all the things your event will require – be it set design, performers, catering – then think about all the sub-sections that will need to be considered under those over arching headings. For example, set design might require a designer, an architect, costings for materials, costings for the day of the build – the man power you’ll need to build the set. Break every overarching cost right down and never be overwhelmed by the total number.
Remember that all the elements are really important. Consider them carefully and decide what reflects your brand best. The smallest details are now very – these are the ones that are Instagrammable.
Looking for sponsors
Make a list of all the sponsors that might be relevant to your event. This could be by looking at similar events and checking who sponsored them. Then it’s a case of pulling together a really nice looking, succinct document that outlines your event, your client or brand, what you need and what you might be able to offer in return. This might that you feature their logo across event materials. Always be quantitative when pulling together a pitch to sponsors. Tell them how many followers you have if you offer them a slot on your social media stream. Or tell them exactly how many guests you’re expecting – if you can offer them live exposure at the event.
Choosing the venue
Venue hunting can sometimes be one of the hardest things to do when you’re planning an event, especially if you’re on a budget in a city like London. Be sure of the atmosphere and feel you want, plus be aware of all the technical requirements you’ll need such as guest capacity, power and distro, catering area, space for a cloak room, the right permissions. As soon as you know what you need, start searching. Sites like Appear Here can be great for pop-up shops and dinners. You may need to look at bigger venue rental companies or approaching someone privately if you need a show-stopping venue for a huge, theatrical fashion show.
Advertising needs to sorted well in advance and you need to approach people relevant to your brand. Send them something different – a personal invite says so much more than a generic email blast. If you want specific people to attend your event, make a list of the top 100 press and influencers you would most like to visit your event and give them an invite to remember. A personal video message, a letter. A polaroid delivered to their office. Anything that makes you stand out.
Look up to the masters
I studied drama so I personally love immersive shows with plenty of spectacle and theatre. Stella McCartney‘s shows have been great and I would have loved to have been at any of Lee McQueen’s shows in the early noughties. Anything with an incredible set draws me in – like Fendi‘s ethereal Trevi Fountain show in Rome a couple of years ago. I love the idea of being resourceful with a venue that exists – without the need to build crazy sets. That said though, I love the work of Es Devlin and think she’s a phenomenal set designer.
Just aways keep going. Knock on every door until someone answers. Something ALWAYS goes wrong at an event or in the lead up to it. The best way to deal with it is to stay calm, be nice to those around you and know that it’s JUST an event. It’s not the end of the world if a curtain isn’t delivered on time or a model doesn’t show up.
Anastsia Miari – a London-based writer and creative producer with an experience working for Selfridges, Pigeons & Peacocks, The Independent, Not Just a Label and London College of Fashion. You can explore her full portfolio here.
Follow Anastsia @anastasia_miari