It’s pretty much every young designer’s dream: the catwalk show. No matter how small your label, with a show you seem to be swimming with the big fish.
However, having your frocks strutted down the runway by professional models costs a Euro or two. Is a show the right way to go for newcomers or are there alternatives?
Florian Müller is a guest management consultant and a PR agent in his own right. As the latter, he represents some of the best design talent Berlin has to offer and manages their presentations and shows during fashion week. As the former, he consults the PR agents of other designers and labels on what to pay attention to when presenting their collections.
In the first of three parts of our series “The Fashion Show” Florian Müller advised us on what it takes to put on a good fashion show. In the second part we want to know whether or not he recommends a catwalk show for emerging talent.
How important is it for emerging talent to put on a show ?
The first question is, do you have a statement to make? Does it make sense to start out this loudly? And, do you have the financial resources?
Do you have enough looks to show? Should it be a show or maybe a presentation? In the beginning, I recommend a presentation as it allows you to slowly get a sense for the whole thing. I can get a feeling on who responds to my invitations: Can I fill the room? Will it only be friends? Are there any editors at all that show interest?
Of course, there is a different mood at a show, front row and all. But with a presentation you can create a different kind of atmosphere. Maybe it’s an occasion where people like to hang out. Bless is a very good example. Their presentations in Paris were always some kind of happening and people loved to be there. With their collections, the locations they chose, the way the presented and their openness they always managed to create a pleasant atmosphere.
Presentations are not necessarily cheaper than shows but they are easier to organise for the guest management. And it is easier to cheat a little. A space can feel great event though only 20 people showed up (a least to a certain degree). If at a show only two rows out of eight are filled … it doesn’t matter how good the collection was, this is what people will most likely be talking about.
If you are not established yet and are not an advertiser with the relevant publications, it is more difficult to fill a space. By looking at the front row I can tell you whether a show was good or not. That is more difficult to do with a presentation. The atmosphere might have been great, even if none of the relevant editors showed up.
How do you get the editors to show up, even if you are not an advertiser?
By being good in what you do. By being honest. That is why I only work together with people that I like myself. That doesn’t mean they all have to be emerging talent. It can be commercial, but then it needs to be right. No mucking about. It needs to suit me – it needs to suit the person that gets behind it.
Once you have established your relations with the press and they know what standards you represent, you don’t have to convince them with every of your new products. They know what comes from you and that it’s probably good. Obviously, you mustn’t abuse this trust by pretending something is good which it actually isn’t.
There are also editors who will only show up once you have created a certain image for yourself as a designer. For matters of reputation or simply because they are too busy. You cannot go to every show only because you’re friends with the designer or PR agent.
There is also the reverse principle, though. If you’re an editor and not seen at a show that is all the rage at the moment – that’s not good either.
Part 3 “On the necessity of the physical presentation in the digital age” will be online from Thursday 30th