How to Organize a Charity Fashion Show

by Mimi Abney, studioD

If you are looking for a festive fundraiser that combines entertainment and glamour, consider organizing a charity fashion show. From finding the perfect venue and theme of the event to selecting a team of models to strut down the catwalk, a charity fashion show requires months of planning, hard work and a passion for fashion. Follow these steps to create a memorable fashion show that features cutting-edge designs and raises cash for your favorite charity.

Create a theme. If your charity creates programs to save the environment, a show featuring the latest eco-fashion is desirable and appropriate. Consider a theme for the show that clothing sponsors are willing to support and that represents the mission of the organization effectively.

Build a knowledgeable team. A successful fashion show requires the help of six key personnel: a backstage manager, show producer, publicist, model coordinator, sponsor and clothing liaison, and sales manager. The show producer is responsible for executing the theme of the show, creating a budget for the event and hiring all personnel. The backstage manager oversees the production of the fashion show. The publicist generates publicity for the event. The model coordinator hires the models and coordinates the clothing fittings. The sponsor and clothing liaison solicits vendors and clothing designers to donate products and services for the charity event. The fashion show sales manager is responsible for ticket sales, generating in-kind donations and managing corporate sponsorships.

Select the venue. The venue determines the time of the show and the crowd capacity. When selecting the perfect fashion show venue, closely examine the venue's lighting and sound potential, backstage area, parking facilities, handicap access, insurance requirements and any hidden costs. If you are representing a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, ask for an additional discount on the venue rental fee.

Solicit clothing and event sponsors. Create a sponsor package that features the theme of your event, the mission of the organization and the goals of the fashion show. Submit letters to local fashion designers and corporations a minimum of six months before the start of the fashion show for clothing, donations and discounted services.

Find models, volunteers and backstage personnel. One to two months before the fashion show, hire models, hairstylists, dressers and makeup artists. Contact local fashion design schools for student models, fashion designers and aspiring fashion editors to volunteer their time and skills to defray the costs of hiring talent.

Sell tickets, invite VIPs and create buzz. Invite journalists, fashion arbiters, editors and important charity donors to your fashion show. Send invitations a minimum of six weeks before the show. Submit press releases to media announcing the charity fashion show.

Items you will need

  • Venue or fashion show facility
  • Fashion and accessories from clothing designers and manufacturers
  • Models and entertainers
  • Hairstylists, makeup artists and backstage personnel
  • Tables and chairs for backstage area
  • Music, D.J, lighting and sound system
  • Food and refreshments for staff and VIP's
  • Catwalk or runway
  • Admission tickets for sale and special prizes for guests
  • Decorations
  • Media kit and sponsor letters
  • Fashion show commentator
  • Fashion team to produce the show
  • Volunteers
  • Press releases and programs for the show
  • Sponsors
  • Liability insurance
  • Event signs and banners for event

About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.

Photo Credits

  • istockphoto