Organizing a fashion show can be exciting, but quite stressful. The main element of a fashion show, the actual clothing, shoes and accessories, can seem like the most difficult to obtain. However, with a bit of preparation and planning, you can gather donations for your fashion show with little worry.
Determine exactly what type of clothing, shoes and accessories you will need--this will basically be the theme of your show. For example, you may need formal wear, bridal dresses, swimwear or casual clothing for men.
Write a donation letter to send to potential donors. In the letter, state your name and position, the name of your organization, purpose of the fashion show, date, time and location information, what type of clothing you will need, the incentives or benefits of donating (what you will do for donors in return) and the date you'll need the donations.
For example, you could state something similar to the following in your letter: “I am Sue Jane, Chairperson of the Valley School Fashion Show Committee. Our annual fashion show will be June 19, at 4 pm at the Valley Mall. If you could donate swimwear for models to wear, we would be most appreciative and give your business a half-page ad in the event program. We are donating all proceeds from this year's show to the local children's hospital. This is a great opportunity to help the community by participating in this charitable event.”
Develop a list of potential donors, including local independently owned boutiques, chain clothing stores, thrift and vintage stores and fashion designers. Department stores are unlikely to donate, although chain clothing stores and franchises often donate clothing to fashion shows in exchange for advertising.
Send your donation letter to the potential donors on your list. Email is the fastest, and most preferred method of soliciting donations, but you can also send the letter by postal mail, if time allows you to do so. Alternatively, you can call the donors and ask how they'd prefer to receive your donation request.
Follow up with the potential donors one week after sending your letters, if they have not responded. Offer to answer any questions they may have about your organization or fashion show--they may just need clarification or further details before they can make a decision regarding whether or not to donate.
Take great care of any donations you receive, and store them well to prevent damage or theft. If you return all items in good condition, it is likely your donors will support your future fashion shows.
Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.