How to Plan a Fashion Show

Fashion shows are exciting, inspiring, and mesmerizing. They can feel like theatre productions, with sets and props, entertainment, music, and even dancing and acting. With so much involved, planning a fashion show takes months of preparation combining the talents of numerous people.

Are you are hoping to plan a fashion show for your school or FIDM Fashion Club? FIDM has been producing its annual DEBUT Runway Show for over three decades and has created a short guide for you to consider when planning a fashion show.

The Purpose

Is the show to raise money for charity or your school, showcase a local designer, or raise awareness on a social issue? This will determine the rest of the planning.


When and where need to be determined along with the budget and assigning managers for essential aspects of the show.

The positions that need to be filled are:

  • Fashion Show Director: In charge of the overall aspect and making sure everything flows properly
  • Styling Manager: Finds the designers and helps style the models
  • Casting Manager: Works with the styling manager to cast the models
  • Budget Coordinator: Oversees all aspects of the budget
  • Marketing Manager: Plans and executes the marketing and promotion of the event
  • Stage/Production Manager: Oversees all aspects of running the show, from the sound and lighting to managing the models on the runway.

Production Calendar

A production calendar, which can be set up as soon as the show’s date is finalized, is essential to ensure each deadline is met. Be sure to include deadlines for venue confirmation, clothing selection, model selection, marketing deadlines, and entertainment and sponsorship confirmations.


The theme creates the atmosphere, makes the show memorable, and drives the entertainment, music, MC style, and any food or gifts. Ideally, the theme compliments the clothing.

Theme Inspiration

Project Runway is an excellent source for theme inspiration. Check out Project Runway Junior, hosted by Tim Gunn, to see the next generation of fashion designers (aged 13-17) compete for the ultimate prize: a full scholarship to FIDM. Season 5 of Project Runway All Stars premieres February 5, 2016, and features two outstanding FIDM Graduates, Daniel Franco and Alexander Pope.

Collaboration and Sponsorships

Clubs and classes at your high school can be great partners for your show. Art and graphic design students can help with marketing materials or stage decoration while music and dance students can provide the entertainment. Film or digital media students can film the show. Community businesses may also volunteer to sponsor the show or donate helpful services for a mention in the program.

Promotion and Marketing

Promotion is essential to a great turn out. You can create individual invitations along with posters and flyers. Your school website is a great place to advertise and social media is a must. 


Once you determine how much money it will cost to produce the show, you can set your ticket prices accordingly.

To ensure success, stick to your deadlines, budget, and include a dress rehearsal for your show. Schedule meetings throughout the process for the managers of each area to ensure everyone is on the same page and shares the same vision. Most importantly, have fun!

Held in Spring each year, in Santa Monica, Calif., the FIDM DEBUT Runway Show attracts nearly 10,000 people over three days and features designs by graduating students in FIDM’s Fashion Design and Theatre Costume Design Advanced Study programs, as well as work from Interior Design, Digital Media, and Textile Design students.

The 2016 FIDM DEBUT Runway Show will take place on March 31, 2016, for current high school students and educators. Student groups with Educators can also attend the FIDM Open House and DEBUT Runway Show on Friday, April 1, 2016.

FIDM is an internationally recognized, private, specialized college with four campuses in California. We offer 26 accredited Bachelor’s and Associate Degree Programs in design and creative business. FIDM is proud to be a national sponsor of DECA.

If you are interested in attending FIDM’s DEBUT Runway Show, visit for more information.

Follow FIDM on Twitter @FIDM.

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