The high life: the cost of putting on a catwalk show

Thursday, 04 September 2014
On the eve of New York Fashion Week, where the new women's Spring/Summer 2015 collections will be revealed, we take a look behind the scenes at what it takes to be featured on the official fashion week schedule and the budget required to stage a catwalk show.

Which young designer doesn't dream of showing their creations on the catwalk platform? But sadly this platform is highly unattainable for even established brands, unless they have considerable investment to cover the costs.

A catwalk show costs a minimum of 100,000 dollars

A catwalk show in New York costs a minimum of 100,000 dollars, and that is already on a budget. To break this down, the average venue costs are 10,000 dollars, lighting anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 dollars. Then there are invitations, the models, the hair and makeup team, the stylist, the accessories (many designers have to buy shoes for their models), the production costs and of course the filming and photography.

Bob Bland, the CEO of fashion incubator Manufacture NY, staged a series of shows for the initiative's emerging designers in January. According to Bland, it's nigh on impossible to stage a runway show in New York unless you're wealthy or have serious investors.

According to Fashionista, 200,000 dollars is a "reasonable" expense for an entry-level fashion show. Even something as basic as invitations can cost upwards of 5,000 dollars. Marc Jacob's 2011 sci-fi runway spectacle cost something like 1 million dollars, reported Dazed Digital.

With searing costs and the huge amounts of investment needed every season, there are as many brands that disappear as those that are new. Alternative ways to showing collections to press are becoming increasingly important, especially as digital media allows the world to see the collections online the moment images are uploaded.

SoCal designer Band of Outsiders' Scott Sternberg cancelled his SS15 show to focus on the opening of his first New York flagship store, while Rag & Bone opted for a photography presentation for their menswear collection.

Image: Runway LFW