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On Tour Events Explains to How to Design a Catwalk Stage & What Audio Visual Equipment Is Needed


Audio Visual Awards For London

The catwalk is the centrepiece of any fashion event. From new products launches to the London Fashion Week, it's on the catwalk stage that models transform mere pieces of fabric into fashion icons or timeless classics. How new clothing ranges are presented can be the difference-maker when it comes to retailers placing orders or magazines gushing over a unique style.


With hundreds of fashion events taking place across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world every year, your catwalk stage has to wow clientele and provide a memorable experience for your attendees. Bearing that in mind, let's take a look at what you'll need to consider for your catwalk stage. From design to lighting, there's undoubtedly plenty to consider before landing on your preferred option.


Catwalk Stage Design


In the early stages, a great deal of your focus is going to be exerted of the catwalk stage design. Not only will the design affect the visibility of the models and fashion exhibit, but it will also set the tone for your whole event. 


Of course, the most iconic design is the "T-shaped" catwalk, which allows the model to strut their stuff down the long section of the runway, before pausing at each tip of the horizontal end to show off the front and back of the individual designs. 


Other designers opt to do away with the "T" shape, instead preferring to go for a simple long runway, with a constant cycle of models walking up and down. If you've got plenty of models and clothing items to get through, then this may suit you better. It's also viewer-friendly, particularly when paired with tiered seating.


But it doesn't have to be this way. Increasingly, we are finding that those in the fashion industry are looking to create unique catwalk stages to add a touch of individuality to their runway procession. Some are looking for tiered stages, whereas others are looking for unusually-shaped runways to add a certain je ne sais quoi to the event.

Whatever you decide, it's vital to keep the audience in mind. While our catwalk stage design team are great at converting your vision into reality, it's crucial to remember that outlandish designs could create obstructed views for some of your most significant guests. When that happens, your eccentricity could end up dampening audience engagement and precious sales.

Catwalk Stage Lighting


Of course, there's much more to the catwalk than the stage itself. Your event lighting can literally make or break your production. Choose the wrong colour for your mood lighting, and the clothes won't look at the designers intended, but choose neutral shades and they won't "pop". 


For a successful fashion event, you're going to require the use of multiple types of lights to set your fashion show up for success. LED uplighting can help reflect the tones and the mood of both the garments and the accompanying music. By contrast, overhead rigged spotlights can really illuminate the clothing and leave attendees in no doubt of the calibre of the designers on display.


Of course, elaborate lighting displays will require the expert operation of highly-skilled technicians well-versed in tracking moving targets (in this instance the catwalk models). Our team can also help to choreograph lighting changes to match switches in clothing genres, seasons, music, and so on to keep your show entertaining for your guests.


Catwalk Stage Backdrops and Screens


Stage and lighting aside, a great deal of your design will be focused on what's going on in the background. Today, most fashion events make use of oversized LED screens to broadcast video of either the live-action unfolding in front of them or pre-recorded shots of the garments in alternative surroundings.  


Large screens can be particularly useful at the head of your runway in the build-up to the models making their way down. Once again, they can be synchronised and linked up to lighting and sound protocols for an enhanced effect. If you wish you can even make them part of the live-action show by being smart with your on-stage choreography.


There are plenty of options when it comes to screens. You could opt for video wall systems, or choose standalone monitors instead. Either way, you'll have to consider the size, pixel pitch and pixel density to ensure what you hire is fit for your desired purposes.    


Catwalk Music

Much like lighting, your music is going to hold significant influence over whether or not your fashion show feels like the real deal. A tinny sound system could ruin the overall ambience. You need to hire a PA system with the capacity of delivering the immersive sound your fashion event demands. 


Remember, your music sets the tempo and mood for the whole event. Models walk in time to the beat while the genre of the music helps to convey the conceptual nature of your fashion show. Get your choice of music wrong, and it could send the wrong signals. Thus, it's worth taking extra care over.  


When it comes to sound equipment hire for your event, once again, you're going to be faced with several different options. Some smaller audio setups may be perfect if you're hosting a more intimate affair. However, if you're looking to put on a more extravagant show, you're going to need high-performance distributed speakers with state-of-the-art mixing decks and highly-skilled technicians on hand.


How Much Does Catwalk Stage Hire Cost?


Always the most important question! But unfortunately, the answer is a little tricky as no two fashion shows are the same. Stage hire for fashion events starts with the design. If you want to build out a custom concept, then that's obviously going to cost more than hiring standard lengths of staging. As mentioned, a "T-shaped" design will cost a little extra than a traditional straight runway.

Thus your first decision has to be on the catwalk stage design. If you're desperate for a rough cost, let's give you an example. 


Let's say your venue caters for an eleven-metre-long, three-metre-wide main catwalk runway strip, with an additional nine-metre-wide, two-metre-long catwalk "T-section." Our catwalk stages are usually set at the height of one metre, and the cost includes two sets of steps at the rear of the stage with the required handrail for regulatory signoff. For this particular catwalk stage set up, we would suggest a budget of £2,000 to £2,500, depending on location and access in and out of the venue.


If you want to build in tiers to your stage or opt for a bespoke design, then those costs would increase. Our team can design and build catwalk stages at any height and any length, with the option to incorporate additional stage platforms for fashion models if required. When it comes to catwalk hire for fashion events, we can create almost anything that you've envisioned for your show. 


What About Your Catwalk Lighting Hire Services?


Whether you're directly responsible for the fashion show or you're in charge of organising the lighting, we have a range of "off the shelf" packages that you can choose for your fashion event. We've been in the industry for over 40 years, so we already know what you're likely to want in terms of lighting for your fashion show. 


The best part is we can provide pretty much everything, including the ever-popular LED uplighters that have become so synonymous to the industry. We've also invested heavily in wireless lighting, and moving fixtures that allow us to create brilliant lighting shows to accompany your catwalk display. The best part? No ugly or unsightly cables are needed, not to mention the potential trip hazard they present for your on-stage performers.  

Lighting rigs, trusses and lighting shows are complicated feats, which is why we provide technicians as part of the costs to make sure that everything is constructed correctly and functions as planned. You rightly want to focus on the fashion element of your show. By hiring our team, you can ensure you have one less thing to worry about. Best of all, we'll stick around to dismantle everything after the show.

Are LED Screens a Popular Choice for Fashion Events? 


In a word, yes. Not only are they a great visual aid to your lighting set up, but they can provide excellent detailed live footage of your event for those who might not necessarily have the best seats in the house. 


On that latter point, we can integrate camera feeds into our LED screens. But we will need to ascertain how many camera feeds you have as well as gathering some precise details about the cameras being used. We can always liaise with your media company if necessary. Either way, you're looking to show live camera footage of your catwalk runway, this is undoubtedly achievable.

We offer a range of styles and designs, from wall video screens to bespoke LED screens. We will also happily talk you through your options when it comes to resolution, pixel pitch, and pixel density, to make sure your specific screen needs are met.  

What Are the Options Concerning Fashion Show Sound Equipment?


As mentioned earlier, the choice of your sound equipment could have a significant impact on the success of your fashion event. But what you require and therefore spend on your sound equipment hire will be dependent on the size and scale of your event. Even smaller PA systems can pack a serious punch these days, often providing ample capacity for your fashion show. 


You need to factor in aspects such as whether or not you need microphones for hosts and interviewers, or if you're going to let the music do most of the heavy lifting for you instead. If you want to get some idea of costs, an event with a distributed PA system, five radio mics (we have handheld, lapel or headset mics available), and a mixing console complete with a sound technician will set you back between £500-£700 depending on the specific location.

We only stock premium audio brands such as d&b audiotechnik and L'Acoustics, which offers us versatility while ensuring you have first-class sound quality you can rely on for your fashion event. 


Do You Offer an All-In-One Fashion Event Package?


Yes, we do. Every venue is different, with some offering in-house sound and lighting teams, whereas others offer event organisers with a blank canvas with which to work. Whether you only require catwalk stage hire with design input from our team, or you need the complete package comprising of lighting (including lighting infrastructure such as trusses) sound systems, LED screens, and catwalk backdrops, we can provide anything you desire when it comes to your audio visual requirements.


If you would like to enquire about using any or all of our services for your UK (or European) fashion event, simply use the contact information below to start the process. You can also view our fashion event work across our social media channels, should you wish to take a look at some of our previous projects. 

We look forward to hearing about the vision for your event!  


On Tour Events: Technical Audio Visual Event Services London
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