Runway Show Bad? How To Prepare For A Runway Show…

The Runway Show Guide

Why did we create this anti-runway show guide in 2015?

A few years ago, we created a trade show guide for fashion designers.

At the same time, we were seeing a lot of designers spending way too much money on runway shows when we knew that they were no longer effective for brands that aren’t already in a lot of stores.

So, the “guide” image you find below was created as an informative joke.

“The juice is not worth the squeeze.”
– Mickey Boardman

This basic premise may have changed in the last few years, thanks to the growth of e-commerce, but it’s really unclear at this point. There really seem to be better ways to spend $60,000+ out of your marketing budget as a non-conglomerate brand, like targeted social media advertising or more creative guerilla marketing approaches.

You generally produce a runway show for two reasons.

  1. To capture images for use in marketing materials.
  2. To generate press that drives sales.

The first makes sense, except its’ pretty easy to Photoshop a model onto a plain runway these days, and that image has moved from iconic to trope, so if you want it to catch anyone’s attention with a bunch of runway images you’re going to need some sort of differentiating factor.

The second reason, driving free media coverage, only works if the consumer can find your brand.

Often we see a brand holding their first runway show without a single item available on their website for sale. This is a colossal mistake.

A runway show can work for a national brand because the images can go everywhere, and their products are everywhere. It may not drive immediate purchasing power, but it builds brand awareness. A startup company can’t live on brand awareness, the growth curve is too long. You won’t survive to reap the benefits of what you’re sowing.

E-commerce changes the equation ab it. If you’ve got a runway show that gets national or even international press attention, and you have products in an online store, it’s entirely possible to capture the momentum… except the consumers aren’t looking for last season, they want what they just saw, so you need to either be doing presales, production on demand, or have purchased a lot of stock (don’t do that).

Here is the original “How To Prepare For A Runway Show” image:

prepare for runway show

click here for the Instagram version

see also our Trade Show Survival Guide