Started more than a century ago as a way to introduce people—back then, mostly women—to the latest in high fashion, Fashion Week has grown into a multi-city affair costing millions of dollars and grabbing headlines around the world.
With all the media attention, high number of celebrity attendees, and chance to connect with audiences hungry for the latest developments in fashion, Fashion Week is an excellent place for advertisers. Brands of all kinds can connect to a more sophisticated group with deep interest in things like sustainability and evolving beauty standards.
Fashion Week occurs twice a year, and you need to reserve advertising space well in advance because it’s become one of the most popular worldwide events for advertisers to be seen. Here’s everything you need to know about Fashion Week and how to advertise during it.
The History of Fashion Week
Fashion Week traces its origins to the late 1890s, when fashion houses in Paris would pay women to walk the streets at certain times of year wearing their most fashionable clothing. Referred to as parades, these events would spread the word about new styles and fads.
Leave it to NYC to one-up the French. In 1903, Ehrich Brothers, a Manhattan dry goods store that would close up shop just 10 years later, staged what’s credited as the first fashion show in the world. Over the next five years, other stores in the city adopted the idea, and by the 1920s, the concept had spread worldwide.
The original New York City Fashion Week came about in 1943, as retailers and fashion houses, facing an almost impossible retail environment amidst World War II, wanted to do something to galvanize American women to visit stores. Their real aim, less talked about, was to pull American women away from the French fashion lines at a time when German occupation and bombings made travel to France almost impossible for those in the fashion industry looking to discover new wares.
The idea caught fire. By 1958 and 1973, respectively, Milan and Paris had started their own Fashion Weeks, blatantly ripping off the NYC concept but adding Italian and French flair. London Fashion Week popped up in 1984.
Up till 1994, NYC Fashion Week took place in locations around Manhattan (like hotels or lofts), but in the ‘90s, it migrated to Bryant Park, where a special tent was erected. This allowed more people to attend multiple events and centralized it for the press, though some people still fondly remember the spread-out event. Since 2010, Fashion Week in NYC has shifted to Lincoln Center and, more recently, Clarkson Square in Soho.
Modern Fashion Week
Even with all the changes in venue and addition of new places, the concept of Fashion Week worldwide remains the same as it ever was: To showcase the latest and greatest in fashion. These are looks that regular people can’t afford, but the ideas and inspiration behind them will influence the fashion seen from high-end magazines to low-end discount stores (and even in architecture).
Social media has made Fashion Week more accessible than ever to people around the world, who can watch minute-by-minute coverage of what people are wearing, which celebrities sat where at what show, and which looks are getting the most buzz.
Where Is Fashion Week This Year?
The Big Four Fashion Week cities are:
- New York City
Smaller events are held elsewhere, such as Rio and Miami. Some have specialized focus — Indonesia Islamic Fashion Week, for instance, showcases Muslim fashion while Berlin has an event for “everyday fashion” (great for those who can’t afford the six-digit price tag on some Fashion Week finery).
Top Advertising Options for Fashion Week
Fashion Week provides advertisers with a fantastic opportunity to hawk their wares and build brand awareness with a sophisticated, influential audience. New York City Fashion Week alone attracts 250,000 to some 300 events. The large number of events and fact that all those visitors will be staying in varying hotels around the cities means you have lots of opportunities to reach people where they are.
We have worked on campaigns for many brands during Fashion Weeks worldwide, and we recommend these three out of home advertising tactics to connect with your desired audience:
- Wild Posting at Dedicated Locations: One of our favorite types of advertising for any occasion, but especially Fashion Week, is wild posting. It means putting up a bunch of the same (or very similar) posters in one concentrated spot, usually construction barriers or building walls. It works great for Fashion Week because people are milling the streets as they go to events. The general two-week campaign window also fits perfectly with Fashion Week’s limited length.
- Murals: Murals (like this attention-grabbing one we did for Klarna) elevate a message in a unique way. The exceptional artwork complements the creative natures of those who attend Fashion Week. They’re in the fashion industry, and they appreciate artistry and interpretation. Plus, social media has given new life to such creative pursuits. People can share a pic of a cool mural in the morning and spark Fashion Week attendees to seek it out during the afternoon sessions.
- Billboards: Billboards located near Fashion Week venues will naturally see a huge uptick in eyeballs. The average price of a Fashion Week billboard is quite reasonable, especially when you consider the narrow demographic target, and it reaches people well beyond that audience. The possibilities depend on what city you choose, but all the venues have billboards nearby and around the cities where attendees will stay, too.
Get Started on Your Fashion Week Advertising Campaign
Inventory for Fashion Week is limited. The closer you are to the action, the higher the price you will pay. To get optimal deals and lock in prime locations, you need to get started as soon as possible. Reach out to us today to discuss your options and take advantage of our expertise to get the best pricing and locations.