History of the Runway Show | RNWY®
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History of the Runway Show

History of the Runway Show

From Runways to RNWY: Evolution of Fashion

It is the season once again for fashion weeks. And during fashion week, brands and designers from all across the globe showcase their latest creations through a runway show. Have you ever wondered how the fashion show began? Well, this article will provide you with what you need to know about the history of the runway show.

The World Before RNWY

During the19th century, dressmaker houses in Paris were known to make their saleswomen or assistants to wear the latest creations while working. And to reach more people, some dressmakers make people wear their dresses in public places.

It was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Paris and London when custom dressmaking houses were also involved in the theatre business. They dressed up actresses both off and on the stage. Popular couture houses often promote their dresses by promoting dresses to famous actress of that era.

The theatre in England and France became the place to see the latest fashion items, and this led to the creation of the fashion play, which was a presentation of the latest items from the couture house.

The very first fashion show was held in the first decade of the 20th century. Although there are several fashion personalities and designers who want to take create for the first catwalk, there is not a single person who began the trend. Instead, it was an evolution that resulted to formal presentations of the couture houses’ clothing lines. By the middle of the 1910s, major designers were using the runway show as a way to promo their lines.

It was in 1918 when the fashion industry has established fixed dates for two major runway shows each year. This allows foreign buyers to see what designers in Paris have to offer. By the 1920s, design houses started employing in-house mannequins. They received salaries, season contracts, and bonuses.

The first ever modeling agency in New York was established by John Robert Powers in 1923. The agency professionalized the industry and made modeling a career that’s socially acceptable. It was also in the 1920s when designers started to have a routine that consisted of day and sportswear and then evening wear.

After the World War

During the postwar era, Paris reestablished itself as the leader when it comes to fashion. Other countries also had their regular fashion shows. Most of the shows were held in hotels and department stores.

It was in the 1970s and 1980s when the fashion show became a big event. The first one who started the trend was Kenzo when he used a stage instead of the usual catwalk for his 1973 ready-to-wear show. The advent of cable TV in the 1980s also allowed runway shows to reach out to more people.

At present, most fashion designers still hold runway shows during the fashion week in London, Paris, New York, or any other cities. The only different from the past shows is that modern shows have specific mood music, lighting, effects, and themes. But their objective remains the same, and that is to showcase their latest fashion lines to potential customers.

Next stop in this evolutionary process: RNWY. From digital to print, VR to augmented experiences. RNWY equals “next.”


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