Abstract: The Economic Impact of the Catwalk: A Historical Perspective of the Fashion Show and Its Current Economic Value to Global Fashion Centers

Donna W. Reamy


This paper begins with a question: What is fashion? By understanding how fashion is characterized, a framework is defined and the foundation laid for the study of the fashion show. Following is a historical perspective of fashion beginning in the 1600s through the beginning of the twenty-first century with an emphasis on the evolving fashion show, discussing fashion parades, fashion modeling, and the fashion show itself. Additionally, I identify three major fashion events that help to advance the use of a fashion show as a tool for promotion whereby economic rewards are garnered. The criteria to identify these three events include the audience, venue, clothing, and the models. In addition, the importance of the department store fashion show beginning in the 1930s is explored. There is a discussion of the major fashion capitals and the current type of fashion show being held during fashion week. Research was accomplished through a review of articles, books, and interviews.