Advice for putting on a vintage fashion show

Discussion in 'The Powder Room' started by Joie DeVive, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Hi ladies!
    I haven't been around a whole lot for a while, more lurking, but I have a potential new project which is a bit out of my wheelhouse, and wondered if anyone had experience with something like this. I searched but didn't see anything relevant, so I'll just put it out here.

    My church is looking for something new and interesting in the way of a fundraiser, and I thought of putting on a vintage fashion show and tea. I'd like to borrow clothing from our older members (we have a lot of seniors), and put on a fashion show using younger members, and the friends and family of the church as models. If we use our own space, our own clothes, and our own people to model, it would keep expenses to a minimum, and maximize fundraising. I've done little research on online ticketing, but I'm really new to all this. I was also noodling the idea of adding on a silent auction for donated items.

    Does anyone here happen to have any experience with fashion shows, especially as fundraisers?
    I could use any thoughts or advice you have!
     
  2. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Even thoughts if you've attended a fashion show (vintage especially) would be helpful.
     
  3. Miss Sis

    Miss Sis One Too Many

    I have been part of and written a number of vintage fashion shows and the most successful have always been the ones with a theme or a story, rather than just a collection of outfits.

    Ideas have been a family playing charades where the 'answer' leads into the scene of the outfit to be shown - we started with me as a Suffragette, so the clue was Emeline Pankhurst and this led onto others in time from then until the end of WW2 (it was a WW2 event and was subsequently copied by many other groups!). Others have been Movies from the Golden Era, 'The Radio Is the Heart of the Home' (British Fashion from mid 1930s to end of WW2, featuring, yes, a radio through time) and 'What Our American Cousins are Wearing' - WW2 themed like a Pathe news reel made by Brits in America as well more specific 1930s shows for particular events.

    All were very successful with lots of positive comments from audience members.

    I would suggest that you get outfits together and see if you can draw together a theme. Perhaps 'Our Town' or similar might work for a church, as it could include ties to historic events from both the town, state and Nationally. This might also appeal to a wider audience than just the congregation to say, historical and dramatic societies, and maximise the fundraising potential. The afternoon tea also sounds like a really nice idea, especially if you could borrow old china to serve it on.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
     
  4. babygirl...

    babygirl... One of the Regulars

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    maybe if you only modeled the items you wanted to sell that have been donated...that way the buyers would have a visual of the clothes they want to purchase and the monies could be not only for the church but a local charity,,...Good luck!!!! having a theme is a great ideal !!! like ..."back to the past" or"blast from the past",,,:)
     
  5. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Thanks so much ladies! I was thinking "A Walk Through Time", hopefully starting with the 1920s or 1930s depending on what people have to loan, and then doing the decades moving forward up to either the 1960s or 1970s depending again upon what can be borrowed. I was thinking that it could be an educational event as well as entertainment, including some commentary on common themes of the time period. (Like the higher hems, bobs and cloches of the 1920s, the lack of items from the 1930s due to the Depression, wartime styles, etc.) And I'm hoping that I can borrow a broad enough variety to give a glimpse of different types of clothes from the each decade (like casual, formal, suits, etc.) I love the idea of some acting in it though, Miss Sis, and I will see if we can work something like that into it.

    I was definitely aiming at bringing in the outside community as well as our congregation. I was posting here in part to see if this kind of event would be something that would draw members of the retro/vintage community? Here in the west, there aren't a huge number of vintage themed events, and I was hoping I could bring in some enthusiasts from the outside. I thought of contacting the group that runs the local vintage dances (3 a year) and asking if they would advertise us (on Facebook) if we would mention them in the show, the program and put their info out or in swag bags. I was also thinking of seeing if the local vintage clothing stores, antique stores, and museums would consider posting a flyer for similar consideration. So what do you think, ladies, is a vintage fashion show and tea the sort of thing that would bring you out? Would you be more or less inclined if it were near Mother's Day? And does anyone have any thoughts on price point? I've seen churches in the area host teas alone for the $20 mark, so I was thinking that might be a good place to start.

    I like the idea of modeling items to sell, babygirl, but I doubt too many members are going to be willing to part with their prom or wedding dresses. I think we may be able to silent auction a few items members may be willing to donate, but I can't imagine having enough donated (as opposed to borrowed) items to put on a full show. I was thinking, however, that if I didn't get enough borrowed items, seeing if I could work with an antique dealer to do just as you say, and modeling some of their clothes which would then be for sale by silent auction, but in that case, I would only be able to ask the dealer to donate a portion of their price for the loan of the clothing. I love the idea of a silent auction during the tea though, and even have a couple vintage things (mostly patterns) I could donate to the cause.
     
  6. CaramelSmoothie

    CaramelSmoothie Practically Family

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    I have attended just such a fashion show that was advertised by the FL poster Emily99Q, in Fredericksburg,VA for the Historic Route 1 festival. Here is the link to the thread from the last festival:

    http://www.thefedoralounge.com/show...intage-Route-1-Event&highlight=fredericksburg


    Here is the link to the event:

    http://www.vintageroute1.com/

    Her name is Emily. She is a member of the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation and you can email her at route1@hffi.org . They did the EXACT type of fashion show that you are describing here. It was like Fashion from the 20s to the 70s with an MC announcing the fashion and giving a short history about each era.
     
  7. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Wow CaramelSmoothie! Thanks so much! I really appreciate the information and contact. I will be getting in touch with her asap!
    I truly admire all the expertise of the ladies of the lounge, and especially their willingness to share. I think that's what makes the FL so special.
     
  8. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Well, I haven't been able to get a hold of Emily99Q, but it turns out, to my surprise, I have a friend who has experience in this area. I also have approval of church council, so I'm on my way. I sent my article in to the church newsletter last night.
    I thought I would put some of the advice I've gotten here in case anyone else will be able to use it.
    I've been told you need at least 6 weeks to put on a fashion show. I'm at about 8, so I'm good.
    Recommended length is about a half hour. I've been told that requires about 8-10 models.
    So, that's where I'm at. I'll keep adding info and updates as we go along. I'll also post it in events as we get closer in case any CO residents would like to come.
     
  9. LolitaHaze

    LolitaHaze Call Me a Cab

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    I have modeled in three fashions shows. Non of which were a fundraiser so I can't help you there. These were easier because they were run through the vintage store I worked at and organized by another of the workers. The first one was done on First Friday just out side of the doors so it was more advertisement for people to come in and shop. The second two were held during a swing dance and was once again used as advertisement for the store. The first show, if I remember correctly was done by style/era. For example first outerwear (30s-70s), then menswear(30s-70s), then dresses(30s-70s), the kidswear(30s-70s), and then it ended with me in a babydoll nightie. This one had emceeing with what the wearer might be doing when wearing such an outfit, but no real storyline. The second one was a era/style. First 30s, then 40's, ect through the 80s. Same as the first one with emceeing talking about the outfit and giving examples of what the wearer might be doing with a small possible storyline for the models. The last one was a very specific MadMen themed storyline show. I believe we did this in the first couple of seasons of MadMen, so all the fashion was very specific 58-62. It used both the characters from the show, like Don and Betty Draper as well as people of the time, a crowd waiting for the bus or Hugh Hefner and a Playboy Bunny (played by me - how I always end up in my underwear in public I will never know!) This was done with narration with one scene transitioning into another. It was not a play, but more like 30 sec mimic skits while the emcee talked about our outfits and related them back to the characters or people.

    So you have a couple of options on whether you want it to run more like a traditional cat walk show (shows 1 and 2) or a narrated storyline (show 3). It depends on how much time you have for your show. The catwalk works better for shorter limits and the narration works better if you have more time. The thing about the narration one is that transitioning into the next outfit has to run just as smoothly as a catwalk. No dead air and no time to "set up" between models. *In the second show we did, I had an outfit change and I was running late and had to play up to the crowd vaudevillian style with my running in all silly and then suddenly take poise like I was ready all along! The crowd got a good laugh, but if you have models that aren't born performers, a hesitation between models will weaken the audiences attention.

    The suggestions above about theme is very important. If all you can get is dresses from the 40s and 50s, stick to that and flow nicely from first to last (40 to 50) and smallest to biggest. The theme you choose will be based on what you can get to model. It may be a style like beachwear, or an era or timeline. Whatever it is, have fun with it. Make sure your models have fun too! Don;t take too long in describing each outfit. No one needs to know the full history of how the poodle skirt was invented while a model gets uncomfortable on stage not knowing what to do waiting for the reader to finish. :)

    Good luck with your show! Let us know how it goes. I am curious to hear what you ended up doing as far as fundraising goes.
     
  10. CaramelSmoothie

    CaramelSmoothie Practically Family

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    Hmmm....I'm surprised that you weren't able to get in touch with her. Did you send an email through the Historic Fredericksburg site? It wouldn't be a good idea to send her an email through the Lounge because I don't think she is on here that much, only when it's time to promote the Route 1 celebration once a year.
     
  11. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Sorry I've been gone so long ladies! There's been a lot going on. Things are going well if a bit slowly for my taste for the fashion show. I'm doing clothes collection the next couple of weekends, and will start model interest meetings in early April. The date got moved to the weekend after Mother's Day to accommodate the group of workers who wanted to help, but had other engagements the weekend before. The arrangement of the site is pretty well set. The Fellowship Committee of the church is handling the tea portion, and I'm at the point now of trying to get ticket sales off the ground. I'm hitting a bit of a wall when it comes to price (this is a fundraiser after all), so I thought I would come to the experts. What would you expect to pay for a vintage clothing fashion show followed by a sit down tea with a silent auction? Your thoughts would be extremely helpful! Thanks so very much ladies. I expect I'll be posting photos of some of the clothes soon!
     
  12. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Yes, I did use the Historic Frederiksburg address, and I did finally get a hold of her, but then we've fallen out of touch again. I'm sure she'll pop back up though. Busy, busy! :)
     
  13. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Things are moving along nicely. Our first clothes collection day was really exciting! We now have a beaded flapper dress, silk shawl and campfire girls outfit from the 1920s, an evening gown with beaded jacket from the 1930s, a velvet evening coat from the late 30s/early 40s, a few wedding dresses from the 40s and 50s, a campfire girl uniform from the 50s, and the wildest collection of goodies from the 1960s and 70s I could have imagined.
    The model search is coming along, and we're getting close to the 8-10 we need. I set up an Eventbrite account, and will be publishing our details in the event section soon. This is very exciting, and I hope if we have some Denver girls on here that I will get a chance to meet you there!
     
  14. imoldfashioned

    imoldfashioned Call Me a Cab

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    It's all coming together, and it sounds wonderful! I guess music and props will play a part. Might you have a narrator too? Good Luck! :)
     
  15. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I wish I lived in Colorado so I could go out and see this! :)
     
  16. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Yes, imoldfashioned, I was lucky enough to be able to convince my husband, who once upon a time was a drama major, to be our announcer. I will be helping him with the script, so it should be fun and informative. I'm also lucky enough to have a gifted "computer and theater person" to help me with all the tech portions!
    And thank you so much sheeplady! I'm very flattered! I wish you could make it too. I am going to post it in the Events today, so I do hope I will be able to see some of our Colorado contingent there!!
     
  17. Stormy

    Stormy A-List Customer

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    I have always wanted to organize a non-profit event such as this in Houston. How would I get started? I'd just like to raise funds to be donated to a charity, scholarships, or historic preservation. Should I go to the City with a plan? Or should I start somewhere in the private sector? I already have a theme in mind.
     
  18. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    I'm doing this to raise funds for my specific church. This has a number of benefits, not the least of which is use of the facilities.
    I would think it would be easiest to work with a specific organization which would benefit from your event. I would expect if you were going out on your own, you might face extra obstacles such as permits, liability, tax issues, paperwork and such. If you want to do it for historical preservation, perhaps there is a museum or preservation group in your area who would like your idea. Or if you want to do it for a scholarship, maybe there is a local school you could approach. You could try an Eastern Star organization, and they might be open to working with you for a cut of the proceeds. A potential pitfall I see, however, is that if you are not already affiliated with that group, you would be an outsider coming in, and you might have more unwelcome input, or less freedom than if you were already a member.
    I'm a member in good standing of my church, and this is "my baby", and I still have plenty of people who want to butt-in and tell me how to do it. Thankfully, since it is my project, I can ignore advice I don't care for. You might have more to contend with in that area if you are more like a consultant, and less like a member of whatever group we're talking about.
    I don't know enough about city government, particularly city government where you are, to be able to guess if going to the city would be useful, or if it would end up in a hopeless mass of red tape. Maybe if you know a councilperson, or local politician, or know someone who knows one, you could float it by them, but overall, my guess is that you'd have fewer headaches working with a specific 501c3, preferably one that has it's own facilities you could use (as those usually already carry their own liability insurance.)
     
  19. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

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    Oh, and advice for anyone else taking this on, don't forget that a certain percentage of people you will deal with are, to put it bluntly, flakes. People will tell you they will do things, and not follow through. People will say they want to participate (and likely genuinely do), but then you will have to arm wrestle them for measurements, or schedules or whatever. I'd say you can look at it two ways. Either be prepared to be persistent, or be willing to dump the flakes.
     
  20. Stormy

    Stormy A-List Customer

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    Great advice :eek: I know of a few venues that would welcome such an event. I just need to plan everything else.
     

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