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7 steps to planning a successful fashion show.

This is the 2nd part in a 2 part series on how to plan a fashion show as a high school senior marketing tool. To read part 1, visit THIS LINK.

image of 3 girls Fashion Show from Jen BasfordAbout 5 or 6 years ago I saw my first lights. camera. fashion! show at spa. I knew immediately this was something to set my studio apart from my competition. A fashion show has the key elements I am looking for:

  • It is different.
  • It gets your attention.
  • It makes your seniors feel special.
  • Seniors will have the time of their lives modeling on the runway.

After completing my 5th annual fashion show, I created these 7 steps for you to host a successful fashion show.


Image of 3 girls 2011 models

Each August we select the date of our show for the following spring. Then we search for the best venue to hold our show. This is critical, as you need an easy place for your audience to get to. It also needs to be a place that the audience will identify with the community. We’ve held our fashion show at 3 different locations, and have had success at each. I’ve found it is better to have too few seats than too many, so don’t start renting the largest place you can find if this is your first year.

As you pick a place keep track what items come with the venue, and what you will need to rent for the show. Here are a few to think about:

  • Chairs
  • Lighting
  • Sound
  • Staging
  • Runway

All of these items are important because they will factor into your estimated costs. If the venue does not have something you need, then begin looking for companies to rent those items from. The sooner you set up these relationships, the smoother your show will run.


We want to convey with our fashion show the upcoming trends for high schoolers, and what to wear for senior portraits. We have found it is critical to layout the upcoming trends with themes, and then show the clothes that center around those themes (as opposed to simply going to your nearby clothing store and just taking clothes randomly to display).

This gives us credibility as fashion experts and a reason to choose our studio for senior portraits. Most of our information comes from spa connects. We also rent the majority of our clothes from the spa traveling fashion show trunk. The rest of our items come from local boutiques we partner with to fill in the gaps.


image of information at 3 girls fashion show by Jen BasfordWe have a great model program to find our fashion show models. Our models come from the current year’s junior class. These kids will be both our senior models and our target market. The fashion show has helped make our model program be highly successful (and vice versa).

Finding models is an area to put a lot of effort in because your models will be the ones generating buzz for your studio. Don’t be afraid to get models from all 4 grades (in high school) if this is your first show.


Most of the marketing for our show is done by our models. We require our models to sell a set number of tickets to be in the show. We also use online marketing and other community partnerships to promote the event as well.

Note: ALL ticket money goes to a charity that we partner with for the event.


The day before the show we hold fittings for the models and go through a dress rehearsal. We organize things backstage, teach the models how to walk, and talk to them about having fun on the runway. This is essential to show itself being a success.


We spend the entire day of the event getting the venue ready. From equipment setup (staging, runway, seating, staging, sound, etc.) to decor (displays, marketing pieces, decorations, etc.) it’s all hands on deck for the entire day. We use several volunteers the day of the show to help with every aspect. This day is a lot of fun for everyone involved!

Here is what your show could look like:


Important! After the show YOUR WORK IS NOT DONE!

You need to continue creating and keeping buzz going for as long as possible. No matter the turnout at your event (and your first event will not be as large as your 2nd, or your 3rd, etc) you need to make sure that your target market feels it was the event of the year – including those that missed it! This generates excitement for future events and for your studio in general.

If you’re serious about setting your studio apart from your competition and making yourself a leader in the senior portrait market, a high-end fashion show can do that for you. It is an investment we have reaped rewards from over and over again, and that continues to drive and grow our senior business.

Now is the time to begin planning for your show. Get to it…

peace and popsicles! :)

Fashion Show kit from Jen BasfordAvailable in The Collective Shop – 3 girls photography Fashion Show Planning Guide

Now is the time to begin planning for the coming spring! To help you, 3 girls photography created a fashion show planning guide to walk you through every detail involved in planning and putting on an event.

Nothing is left out of this guide, including:

  • what has and hasn’t worked for them
  • why they do things the way they do
  • tips on marketing your event
  • details not to miss during planning
  • information about your models that you’ll want to know ahead of time.

Before you spend thousands on your fashion show, invest in this planning guide to get your show off on the right foot. Read more about what all this program offers by visiting THIS PAGE.


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