The costs of hosting a runway show

12 Oct 2018

Models, venues, lighting, sound… there's a lot to input into the spreadsheet when it comes to staging a fashion show. Two burgeoning designers reveal what they spend.

What does it take to organise a runway show? Christian Siriano, the Project Runway alum celebrated for his diverse and inclusive approach to dressing women, and Di$count Univer$e, the bold streetwear-meets-the-stage brand championed by Rihanna and Katy Perry, break down the costs. — Fawnia Soo Hoo 

Christian Siriano

To put on a runway show, Siriano typically spends:

$40,000-$60,000 for models. For a model with a big name and following, add $20,000.
$20,000-$50,000 to rent a venue.
$10,000-$40,000 on lighting. The price varies depending on what the venue has set up — and sometimes that’s not even a lightbulb.
$5,000-$10,000 for sound.
$20,000-$30,000 for production, typically a single fee to a production company that coordinates the entire show.
$5,000-$10,000 for seating. Chairs and benches are the least expensive option; risers cost at least double.
$20,000-$100,000 on set design.
$2,000-$5,000 for catering, including backstage and team dinners the week prior to the show (often sponsored).
$5,000-$7,000 for car services, including last-minute team
errands and VIP arrivals.
$0 for hair, make-up and nails, which are always sponsored.
TOTAL: $127,000-$312,000, plus the cost of producing the runway collection itself.

“When our investors go through the numbers, it’s really hard for them to see actual return,” Siriano admits.

Di$count Univer$e

Melbourne-based Di$count Univer$e was founded by Cami James and Nadia Napreychikov in 2010. After joining the VFILES showcase for emerging designers in 2015, the brand hosted its first solo New York Fashion Week show at Spring Studios on 7 September.

Their spending forecast:
$10,000 for a front of house/PR agency.
$25,000 to hire a production team.
$30,000 to rent a venue.
$10,000-$15,000 for lighting.
$5,000 for sound.
$2,000 for music production, which was done by a friend.
$17,500 for the models.
$3,000 to hire a casting director.
$3,000 for a stylist.
$0: for hair, make-up, nails, which was all sponsored.
TOTAL: $105,500-$110,500, plus $150,000 to produce the collection itself.

Although the label now sells exclusively online — i.e. direct to consumer — James says a show is essential to “show the more potent vision and the intention behind the brand, in the same way that a musician has a show or an artist shows work in a gallery”.


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