1,2,3 trunk show.

by The Lingernots

It is “Fashion Week” in Austin. There’s undeniable talent in Austin, creative wild geniuses in the making, if you really want to see what they are doing, you won’t see it at AFW, and I think everyone knows this. However, it’s never a bad thing to devote some time to paying attention to people that are showcasing their work, so there are tons of trunk shows and presentations to visit… and host. We hosted a trunk show at the boutique where I work, and although it was a fun event with plenty of people and sales, it was more of a shmooze-fest and less of a showcase, all because of the typical mistakes that are made when you plan through assumption.

The LingerNot’s guide to Throwing a TrunkShow

Do you have a clothing collection? A jewelry line? A beautiful curated selection of something?Do you make insane accessories all night on your sofa and while it’s nice to sell them online, or have your friends shoot them in their photos, sometimes, a great way to get a feel for how people really react to your work, or even just reach new customers, is to gather your wares and set up shop for a little while. It’s a chance to create your environment and invite people to experience what you have to offer. It’s a chance to network and let people fall in love with what you do. It’s important to do it your way, and its extremely important, to avoid some classic mistakes.

I.  Where ?

Obviously, you’ll need a location. Preferably a comfortable place with nice lighting, or good atmosphere. Are you thinking of having this in a boutique? A bar? Think about small boutique hotels too, or even a home that has a feeling that corresponds. It’s important that people can try clothes on, see themselves, and be able to mingle, and it’s also important that this trunk show be mutually beneficial to your host. Once you have your location picked out and locked down, it’s planning time.


You shouldn’t need too long to plan a show. The longer you wait, the more details you fret over, or the more you procrastinate. 3 weeks is a good amount of time to plan a show. (This is three weeks AFTER you have location.)

The first thing you need to do is TALK with your host. Go for coffee, drinks, sit down together and draw out what YOU want, and what THEY want, and how to make both demands work. What kind of music do you want to play? Is there a theme? How are you going to arrange the space to showcase your work? What needs to happen to make everything possible? Do you have display cases? A mannequin? racks? mirrors? All of a sudden your work is tangible and vulnerable, make sure you do your best to present it in the best way.

Eat, Drink and be Merry

You have to serve food and drinks. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. Sometimes it might feel like people ONLY go to art shows to grab free drinks and eat canapes, and yes, sometimes its true, but it’s fun to have a party and treat people well. The simpler you keep it, the better it will be.

Think of a drink and food menu that is compatible and easy, but keep in mind of cost, and also messiness. You don’t want your gorgeous antique lace dresses being stained with pizza grease and you don’t want people getting slammed from your crazy strong cocktails.

You could try to get the drink/food sponsored by a local company as well. Maybe an up and coming baker could contribute some pastries and it turn get a ton of advertising? You could get the liquor for your cocktails donated by a liquor company and save yourself some money. If you do go this route, make sure to have enough time to communicate back and forth so that you don’t end up with no food and no bar on the day of the event. Don’t forget that some people don’t drink booze and maybe would like something more creative than sparkling water. Don’t forget what you’ll be presenting food on!



Facebook is great, but if this is your only resource to reach out to people, be prepared to be stressed out.. There is just so much going on that it’s easy to forget what is really going on. How many events are you invited to and how many do you actually attend? Make an event page for it, but don’t skip on making a flyer that you can print on postcards and drop off around town. Contact local media, like bloggers and local press and invite them! You never know, they might come and they might even cover it.


Invite everyone around ten to nine days before your event, remind everyone 4 days before, and on the day of send one last sweet reminder..

On The Day

Show up to prepare early to give yourself plenty of time to get everything done. Is your work presentable? Are your clothes mended? Steamed? Do your hangers match? Is everything priced? Do you have tools to make personal adjustments to your customers? Do you have your camera? DO YOU HAVE BAGS? Can you accept credit cards?

Speaking of bags, how are you presenting your work to your customer? There is beauty in packaging, that makes the trade a really special affair. You don’t have to go overboard, but a nice tissue paper and a sticker with your branding is a good touch. Get creative but keep it stress free.

And there you have it (mostly)! There will always be little issues, they shouldn’t be anything to lose sleep over. Just have fun, don’t leave it to the last minute, and have a beautiful time, and your guests will have the raddest little afternoon ever. And don’t forget to bring change..


photos from hawaiiancoconut.tumblr.com, fieldguided.com and forage.bigcartel.com