Does the Met Gala Help or Hurt the Fashion Industry?

Author: Jacqueline Yipp

The BRB Bottomline

The Met Gala is a fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art that raises millions of dollars per year – but at what financial cost? 


The Met Gala, a star-studded annual event, is a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Each year on the first Monday of May, a selected theme is given to the attendees, who dress according to the motif. This year’s 2022 event, titled “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”, had a dress code theme: ‘Gilded Glamour’, inspired after the 1870s to 1890s era. The event consists of walking the red carpet, a cocktail party where guests are able to view exhibitions, and a formal dinner with a performer as the entertainment.

The Met, in Numbers

The extravagant event boasts both large and small numbers in terms of guests, price of a ticket, and more. Tickets to the Gala cost upwards of $35,000, but are free if you are a celebrity being dressed by a fashion brand. Tables at the Gala go for around $200,000-$300,000 (at least for this year’s Gala). An estimate of around 1.6 million people attended 2021’s Met Gala fashion exhibit, which is usually displayed to the public after the show. On average, around 600-700 guests attend the actual event.

Is it Resourceful?

It depends on who you ask. The event itself reportedly costs around $3.5 million to put on, but raises around $13 million towards the museum, which is arguably for a good cause. But while celebrities get to bask in the limelight, the team behind each outfit is hard at work. For example, Rihanna’s 2018 Met Gala look – a Pope outfit for the theme ‘Heavenly Bodies’ – took an estimated 250 hours to sew and 500 hours to embroider. Designers are struggling to connect with modern audiences, and would be willing to spend hours of labor and money to design exclusive outfits for celebrities that would be seen by millions of viewers. The amount of time designers spend compiling with the money that is spent towards putting on the Gala leaves readers and viewers questioning if this once-a-year event is actually worth the energy.

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