Industry Secrets: Glamour and Paychecks at Fashion Shows

Fyi your favorite celebs are paid to attend.


Most people would die for the opportunity to sit in the front row of fashion shows. Still, unless you are a celeb, a person who works within fashion, or an influencer, the chances of that happening are slim. Hence, I was surprised that the chosen ones were paid to attend the show. Of course, it's common knowledge that the designers dress the famous attendees for the event, but that's not all they get; many of them also get paid a big paycheck. 



Celebrities and Pay

The amount celebrities are paid to attend fashion shows can vary widely depending on factors such as their level of fame, influence, relevance to the brand, and the nature of their relationship with the designer or fashion house. In some cases, celebrities may be compensated with monetary payments, while in others, they might receive free clothing, accessories, or other perks in exchange for their attendance and promotion of the event.



Estimated Payment 

As it's hard due to confidentiality to access exact paydays — one British publication reports Rihanna was paid about $97,500 to attend Karl Lagerfeld's fall 2012 show in Paris. Bearing in mind that 2012 was eleven years ago, it's likely that the price has tripled nowadays.



High-profile celebrities with significant influence in the fashion industry may command substantial fees for their appearances, sometimes ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars for a single show. However, it's essential to note that not all celebrities are paid to attend fashion shows. Many attend simply for the exposure, networking opportunities, or out of genuine interest in fashion.

Cost Breakdown of a Runway Show

The fashion houses depend on these shows to support the brand and ensure that their steep costs for a runway show are covered. To put this into perspective, Christian Siriano, renowned for presenting his collections in New York Fashion Week, frequently selects custom venues for his showcases. In the past, he provided Vogue Business with a detailed financial analysis outlining the expenses of producing a NYFW event.

  • $40,000-$60,000  — Models. For a model with a big name & following, add $20,000.
  • $20,000-$50,000 — Venue rental
  • $10,000-$40,000 — Lighting, price depends on the venue setup 
  • $5,000-$10,000 — Audio
  • $20,000-$30,000 — Production, typically a single fee to a company
  • $5,000-$10,000 — Chairs and benches are the least expensive; risers cost at least double
  • $20,000-$100,000 — Set design
  • $2,000-$5,000 — Catering for backstage and team dinners 
  • $5,000-$7,000 — Car services for team errands and VIP arrivals
  • $0 — Hair, makeup, and nails are always sponsored

TOTAL: $125,000-$312,000 — Not including the cost of runway samples

Crazy expenses, right?



Final Thoughts

Attending fashion shows is a coveted opportunity; it's surprising to learn that many celebrities are dressed by designers and paid for their presence. Compensation varies based on factors like fame and influence, with some receiving substantial fees while others enjoy perks like free clothing. Christian Siriano's breakdown of the costs of producing a runway show highlights the significant expenses brands face. However, the exact amounts paid to celebrities remain undisclosed, underscoring the complexity of these arrangements in the fashion industry. Nonetheless, it's a pricey element for the fashion houses but an easy payout for those being paid to attend.