Each year, fashionistas around the world look forward to seeing the newest creations of top designers as featured on the runways of Fashion Week. While there are technically several different Fashion Weeks in major cities such as New York, London, Milan, and Paris, the events have collectively become the world’s go-to place to check out each year’s latest trends. Designers lucky enough to snag a coveted spot at Fashion Week have their work cut out for them, as the cost of putting on the average show is anything but cheap. While some designers can get away with keeping costs in the 6 figure range, other’s surpass the million dollar mark. Marc Jacobs reportedly once spent $1,750 per second at a New York FW show that lasted under ten minutes. Here you’ll get a look at exactly what goes into the production of a Fashion Week runway show and why they’re so expensive.


First and foremost, a designer has to find the perfect venue to host their show. Some get lucky and snag a sponsored or Avante Garde venue for free. Most, however, end up paying (at the lowest) around $15,000 for a small space in a city like New York. Larger spaces can easily run anywhere from $50,000-$100,000. While you might get lucky enough to have lighting included in the price of a larger venue, the average cost of arranging it yourself starts and $10,000 and only goes up from there. The setup and use of sound equipment can easily tack on an additional $5,000-$10,000.

Set design

There’s no point in having a great venue if it doesn’t look awesome, right? Considering everything that goes into creating the perfect atmosphere for a show, some designers end up spending more on set design than the venue itself. Depending on the look you’re trying to create, you can expect to spend anywhere from $20,000-$100,000.


Someone’s gotta strut those clothes down the runway. Models can run anywhere from $40,000- $200,000, depending on how many you need and how big a following they have. Ultra-popular models can earn up to $20,000 a piece for a single show. If you’re not into big names, however, it’s sometimes possible to cut corners here. Beginning models are often willing to work either cheap or free, in exchange for the exposure and maybe a few clothes.

Hair and make-up

Though making your models look amazing can cost up to $100,000, this is one area where it’s also possible to get lucky. Bigger name designers often enjoy a variety of willing sponsors who will cover these aspects of a show, making it possible to get them done for free.


While sometimes stylists are also covered by a sponsor, they can be pretty pricey in their own right if not. Some designers spend up to $5,000-$20,000 extra on them.

Public relations

What’s the point of putting on a great show if there’s no one there to see it? Public relations is an important part of any designer’s budget and can cost you as much as $10,000-$25,000 for a monthly retainer. Then there’s the $5,000+ cost of sending out snazzy invitations to make sure your rows are lined with plenty of eyes to take in your designs. Some designers even spring for car services for VIP guests, which can cost an extra $7,000.


With all the people running around backstage, many designers find themselves with a lot of mouths to feed. While it’s possible to go all “everyone for themselves” on the food end of things, a hungry crew does not tend to make for a happy one. You can expect to spend an extra $2,000-$5,000 on catering in order to keep things running smoothly.

As you can see, setting up the average Fashion week show is no joke. Not only does a huge amount of money and planning go into the above categories, but you’re also still faced with the costs of producing the collection itself!