5 Event-Planning Lessons from Fashion Week Around the World

Take cues from fashion’s most influential runway shows

As a meeting professional, you know how important it is to stay up to date on the latest trends in event planning. You probably also know that the trends with staying power are usually the ones your audience can’t stop raving about.

The same goes for the vast industry—designers, models, planners, bloggers, PR reps and more—behind the international fashion weeks, which just wrapped up in Paris last week. Direct from the runways, parties and social channels of the season, here are the biggest highlights, trends and tactics from the shows, and how to incorporate them into your own events. 

Trend #1: Take social by storm

From Facebook Live to Instagram and Snapchat stories, social media took the most exclusive runways to smartphones across the world and made the showcase a global phenomenon. This season, for example, Alibaba partnered with New York Fashion Week: The Shows to bring the latest trends to the livestreaming platforms of Tmall, offering Chinese netizens a “see now, buy now” way to view and shop the shows at once.

For your own event: Map your social strategy from the start by determining the platforms you will build on, influencers you will engage, hashtags you will use, how often you will post and, most important, how you will tell your event’s unique and captivating story. From geotags to livestreams, the key is to constantly engage your audience. 

Trend #2: Find your meeting’s core message

Bringing the background message to the foreground is key to any trending event. Fashion designer Lela Rose held her spring show during NYFW on Sept. 11. She recognized the anniversary with a collection and show that celebrated the city, from garments manufactured in New York to an only-in-New York scene featuring portrait sketchers, gourmet hot dogs and a cookie cart—all held in Washington Square Park, one of the city’s iconic public spaces.

For your own event: Once you find your meeting’s core message or purpose, build the agenda around it. This will streamline your event and make it easier to plan and execute. Another tip? Weave your theme into the setup, backdrop and hashtags. Just be sure your key message resonates and grabs attention. 

Trend #3: Experience the experiential

Fashion week is all about creating multisensory experiences. Tory Burch showcases are always an Instagram dream, and Rihanna’s breathtaking motorbike entrance left mouths agape. Attention to detail will help make the show an experiential delight. 

For your own event: To create an experience your audience will never forget, find a theme that resonates with your event and let it seamlessly flow from setup to performance to dinner presentation. Bring attendees into a storyline instead of simply explaining the key message.

Trend #4: Bring the audience into the mix

Fashion week is as much about the audience as it is about the parade of top models. From celebrity guests and giveaways to personalized invitations and gifts, the key to giving your audience a great time is actually going all out and making sure they have a great time. 

For your own event: Make your guests feel as important as the keynote speaker. Add personalized touches through a gift bag or F&B to make them feel special. 

Trend #5: Break away for the breakout sessions

With pre-show gatherings, backstage press events and post-show VIP soirees, fashion week is a celebration of events—and your conferences can be, too. 

For your own event: While your keynote might be the highlight of your grand gala, spruce it up with formal dinners, discussion panels and cocktail events to bring your meeting to life. Get your customers to want to be a part of the conference.

Let us know how the latest fashion weeks inspired your event planning using #MeetingsImagined.