Fashion Designers: 5 Affordable and Alternative Ideas for Showcasing Your Fashion Collections!

The runways of NY Fashion Week are the pinnacle of all things glamorous and can turn fashion designers into industry darlings. However, it is also a very costly production and may not be the best place for a new designer to launch their line. As much as I love, love, love seeing shows during Fashion Week, I don’t recommend that new designers spend that kind of money to get their designs seen so early in their careers. This post will give you ideas for alternative ways to showcase your fashion line during Fashion Week (or any time of year!).

Putting together a Fashion Week runway show can be very expensive. It costs at least $30k to show at NY Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. You need to have proper funding to pay for the: space, models, hair, makeup, set design, lighting, photographers, videographers, plus the cost of your actual designs, among other things. In my opinion, new designers shouldn’t be doing runways shows until they are making enough money to sustain normal business activities plus the cost of putting together a Fashion Week Runway Shows.

Fashion Week Runway Shows are the best platform for established leaders in fashion innovation. There are over 100 shows in NY during Fashion Week and it’s hard for Fashion Editors and Buyers to make it to all of the well-known designer runway shows. If you are able to hold your fashion event close to where the actual runway shows are taking place, it makes it easier for editors and buyers to stop in and attend.

Wherever you decide to have your fashion show, be sure to have someone videotape it so you can post it on your website and blog (and so the fashion bloggers can do the same thing for you!). Live video-streaming is also an excellent option for your fans and clients who live out of town but still want to support you and “be a part” of your fashion show!

Here are a few ideas that can be used for a more cost-effective fashion presentation:

1. Do a fashion installation in a hotel suite. You can have models standing in the room that’s put together like a chic fashion shoot set wearing your most exciting and show-stopping designs for editors and buyers to walk around and see.

2. Throw a cocktail party at a popular local lounge that features a few models in your designs to launch your line. You can invite lots of friends, family, buyers, bloggers, local boutique owners and press to attend and you will also have some of the location’s regular foot traffic to rely on.

3. Are you an early-bird? Consider hosting a small invite-only breakfast buffet at a cute local restaurant where you can do a fashion show. Both women and men love free food and the fact that it comes with entertainment (your fashion show) is an added bonus for them!

4. Is there a great neighborhood garden, park or local museum that you could negotiate using as a space to showcase your designs?

5. Many colleges have fashion shows, especially around homecoming time. Could this be another way for you to get your designs seen?

Anna Wintour – Influential Magazine Editor

Through her 30+career in magazine publishing, Wintour has developed a reputation for being distant and cold. It has been said that she a demanding boss and is difficult to work for, an opinion Wintour doesn’t exactly deny. In 2003, Lauren Weisberger, one of Anna Wintour’s former assistants published the book The Devil Wears Prada, based on her experience working at Vogue magazine. The book was made into a movie in 2006 and Anna Wintour made celebrity magazine and fashion magazine headlines when she showed up to the premiere wearing Prada.

In August 2009, Anna Wintour along with the creation of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine were the subjects of the documentary, “The September Issue.” The documentary shows, for the first time, the demanding work required to produce an issue of Vogue magazine.

Forbes magazine recently reported that though the documentary is touted as “the real Devil Wears Prada,” that “Wintour mostly is portrayed as a professional and a perfectionist with a well-defined vision and an inferiority complex that becomes apparent when she admiringly talks about her three siblings who consider her profession “amusing”; Wintour’s sister, for example, lobbies for farmers’ rights in Latin America.”

Anna Wintour was born in 1949, in London, England, to newspaper editor Charles Wintour and his wife, philanthropist Elinor Wintour. As a teenager, Wintour dropped out of school and instead pursued a life that revolved around the chic London life of the 1960s, frequenting the same London clubs of pop culture’s biggest celebrities and musicians like The Beatles and Rolling Stones.

Before Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour started out in the fashion department of Harper’s & Queen in London. Over the years, she climbed the editorial ladder and bounced from magazine to magazine between New York and London. In 1976, she moved to New York and took over as fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar magazine. With a stop at Viva magazine after Harper’s Bazaar in between, Anna Wintour took a job with New York magazine in 1981. From the start, Wintour was driven and had her own sense of style and direction. In 1986, she returned to London as top editor of publisher Condé Nast’s British Vogue magazine.

It’s at British Vogue that Wintour’s cold demeanor earned her a few memorable nicknames: “Nuclear Wintour” and “Wintour of Our Discontent.” In 1987 she went onto another Condé Nast magazine, Home and Garden, where she abruptly changed the magazine’s title to HG.

Though subordinates grumbled about Wintour’s management style, Condé Nast’s top executives clearly supported her decisions; she earned a reported salary of more than $200,000 plus a $25,000 annual allowance for clothes and other perks.

In 1988 Anna Wintour left HG magazine and became editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine with one goal: reinstate Vogue magazine as the fashion authority. At the time of her arrival, Vogue magazine was losing ground to a three-year-old upstart, Elle magazine, which had already reached a paid circulation of 850,000. Vogue’s subscriber base meanwhile, was a motionless 1.2 million.

In her more than two decades at Vogue magazine, Wintour has more than accomplished her goal. She successfully restored Vogue’s supremacy and today the magazine enjoys the nickname of the “fashion bible.”

For all her critics, Anna Wintour has made many influential decisions that affect the magazine industry at large. She popularized putting celebrities instead of supermodels on magazine covers; she mixed low-end fashion pieces with expensive pieces in her photo shoots; she championed unknown fashion designers, making the careers of Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.

While Anna Wintour has garnered much attention for her distant demeanor and contributions to the fashion world, many are unaware of her commitment to philanthropy. Some of her generosity includes raising money for the Twin Towers fund after the September 11th terror attacks and with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, she helped create a new fund to encourage and support up-and-coming designers. Each year, she also organizes a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s costume department, which over the years has brought in some $50 million. This event attracts many celebrities and is covered relentlessly in fashion, society and celebrity magazines.

As for her personal life, she and husband David Shaffer divorced in 1999. The couple has two children together, Charles and Katherine. Currently, Anna Wintour maintains a relationship with investor Shelby Bryan.

How to Become a Successful Fashion Model

Becoming a fashion model can be extremely exciting and rewarding. Some of the perks of fashion modeling are traveling to exotic locales, making a lot of money and meeting some of the most beautiful, interesting and creative people in the world.

Here are 10 tips to becoming a successful fashion model.

1. Get some snapshots taken and approach a local fashion modeling agency. Agencies love to see snapshots. Use natural light. Have a friend shoot a roll of film and pic out the best ones. Call up the modeling agencies in your area and ask when their open call times are. Open calls are times that agencies set aside to see new models. Dress simple and nicely and be prepared to ask any questions they have of you.

2. Move to a major market. New York is “king” when it comes to fashion modeling. Try and get signed by a major agency there like Ford, Elite or IMG. Most of the major cosmetic and advertising contracts come out of New York. If you are living in the United States Los Angeles, Miami are also great alternatives. If you are living in Europe consider Paris, London or Milan.

3. Be thin. Hire the services of a professional trainer and nutritionist if you have problems keeping the weight off. Agents routinely measure and weigh fashion models. Many models are dropped from their agencies for not having the correct measurements.

4. Network. It is important to work with the best photographers you can. Hire them. Get amazing pictures. It is your job and although agencies may assist you with this ultimately it is your responsibility. The images photographers give you will make or break you. Be nice to them and test as frequently as you can. Unless you are Heidi Klum of have books loaded with amazing tearsheets, keep testing.

5. Show up. It is very important to be on time. If you have a fashion shoot the next day do not go out and party. Look your best. Photographers are in constant contact with the agencies and will let them and future clients know if you have a bad reputation. When you are on set be courteous and stay off your cellphone. It is important to focus on the task at hand.

6. Become friends with powerful people. Editors like Anna Wintour of Vogue can make you famous. Superstar photographer Steven Meisel can launch your career instantly. Be nice to them and other industry professionals. You never know which assistant will be the next fashion editor or star photographer.

7. Date celebrities. Gisele Bundchen dated Leonardo DiCaprio before moving on to quarterback Tom Brady. Kate Moss was romantically linked for years to Johnny Depp and then became involved with British rocker Pete Doherty.

8. Brand yourself. Heidi Klum has a jewelry line. Gisele Bundchen is in talks with H&M about representing her lingerie line. You can buy Kate Moss’s clothes at Top Shop.

9. Have the right measurements. Although they fluctuate between markets the ideal measurement is to stand at least 5’9″ barefoot and weigh between 110 and 120 pounds. If you are a lot smaller consider commercial modeling and approach acting agencies. They need all types and sizes.

10. Be photogenic. The industry is fickle and what is hot one year isn’t necessarily hot the next. If you are photogenic and have that certain “je ne sais quois” (something special) you will attract modeling business.