For most students, the biggest vent of their senior year (and some junior years, too) is the prom. Second only in importance to graduation day, the prom is the paramount social event of most students' high school career. Associated with the importance of prom is, of course, what to wear that night. For the boys, it's relatively easy...rent a tuxedo package. For the girls however, life can get stressful around prom time.
Let's take a look at what a female has to look for to get ready for prom: the all-important dress, shoes, handbag, makeup, hair style, accessories, and more. The dress is the hub of all this, as all other items are related to it. Although it is not uncommon to see girls waiting until a month before to make these important purchases, the majority of girls start dress shopping a good 3-4 months before prom to allow a sufficient amount of time to match all the other items needed to the dress itself.
With so many choices of where to buy the needed products (stores, catalogs, online), a prom fashion show can be a valuable addition to a school's roster of student activity events and provide a much-needed service to both students and community businesses.
A show such as this requires a large commitment from both students and a faculty member. Teacher oversight should be done by someone who does not already have a large cocurricular workload, as the time demands placed on this teacher as the show approaches will increase exponentially. Students also need to be fully committed, from being punctual for everything from rehearsals to dress fittings to hair style appointments, to working diligently to pull the show together. Without this commitment from all parties, a school should not attempt to plan and execute this show.
Key players who should be involved in the show include:
Teacher Adviser. As always, any student activity needs to have teacher oversight. This teacher will have responsibility for all matters of the show and be directly involved in working with the school administration for auditorium booking, rehearsals, and any other matter that requires an adult presence. Also included in this person's responsibilities is selecting people for the positions below.
Show Coordinator. This position must be filled by a student or students of above-average maturity. With responsibility for obtaining clothing and services from vendors, scheduling rehearsals, and organizing production on the big day, this position might best be served by having two people split duties or by having an assistant for the coordinator. A committee would also be helpful.
Models. You will need both male and female students whose body size can fit the generic sizes of the clothing that will be delivered from vendors. These students should be responsible and punctual.
Script Writers. One or more students will need to take all the information provided by the stores about the merchandise being presented in the show and create a script. They will need to organize the order of presentation as well as the remarks for the emcee.
Master of Ceremonies. The person who fills this role will need to be able to hold the audience's attention and have a good speaking style. Someone with a lot of poise and a good sense of humor is best. A student leader or a favorite faculty member is a good choice. If you hire a professional DJ company, the DJ could fill this role.
Sound and Lighting Technician. If your school has an AV department and equipment in your auditorium, you'll need to engage the cooperation of this group. Most schools are set up for this already, but if your school is not, then you'll need to engage the services of a local DJ company that can supply the sound and light equipment, as well as the service.
Filling these positions is only the first step. Once that task is done, the real work starts. It's time to execute your show!
Plans in Place
The first step is to pick a date for the show itself, and then work backwards from that date in scheduling every other activity. The rule of thumb is to give yourself three months lead time from the date you want to have the fashion show. The more time you have, the less likely a delay will occur in the event that your show has to be pushed back due to the unavailability of clothing.
Once the people are chosen and the date is set, the next step is to seek vendors to donate clothing and services for the show. Start as early as possible. This is perhaps the most important step, and it is one that is not directly under your control. The first thing to do is have someone on your prom fashion show committee prepare a tastefully designed one-page sheet that gives details about the show (date, time, location, expected attendance, etc.), an overall view of your school (overall student population, population breakdown by grade, etc.) and a section on how your show production will be laid out.
This one-pager should be presented in a professional manner to the person in charge of marketing at the stores from which you want to borrow clothing. In addition to clothing stores that sell prom apparel, approach tuxedo rental stores for the loan of tuxes for the male models. To broaden the appeal and get more participation by local businesses, you can also invite accessory stores, hair stylists, spas, and florists to participate by setting up displays for browsing before and after the show. You might even generate some extra funds by producing a program and selling advertising.
When asking stores to participate in the show, remember two important things. First, these stores are very excited to have the opportunity (no matter what they might say to you) to place their product in front of a room full of teenagers who will definitely be buying prom products. second, they want to make sure they get their merchandise returned to them in perfect condition so they can eventually sell it. When you prepare your one-pager, keep both of those points in mind, and if presented properly, your task of obtaining the clothing you need for the show will be easier.
Let the Show Begin
The month before the show brings you to the show preparation stage. Your show coordinator should be doing things like scheduling modeling tryouts, booking runway practice time, and coordinating the delivery and return of all the merchandise. Before starting runway practices, make sure you have your music lined up. A strong suggestion is to go with a professionally mixed CD to eliminate the possibility of mistakes during performance, and also to allow your practice sessions to be run with the same music that will occur in your show. Make sure you have at least 4-6 good runway practice sessions before the show, and you should be all set for the big event!