For independent fashion designers, it’s important we sell garments. Since most independents are self-funded, we rely on Social Media, On-line Stores and Fashion Show Attendees to be our BUYERS. With this established, most attendees don’t buy off season, therefore, I believe we need to take a fresh look at Fashion Week.
BACK IN THE DAY
Back in the day, most people bought off season because the stores/buyers placed an order which took time to be made, then shipped to the stores. In this day and age, we want it NOW. No one has time to wait 6 months for garments to appear in stores, also by that time, they have been “knocked off” and can be found cheaper than originally listed.
IN SEASON FASHION WEEK
In Season – This is where designers show a collection you can wear NOW, you do not have to wait 6 months. In Season Fashion Week gives attendees (the new BUYERS) the opportunity to purchase the garments right off the runway. Even if a garment needs to be made by the designers, with In Season – you still get it in time. (www.InSeasonFashionWeek.com)
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
For the larger houses, they may still go with “Regular” Fashion Week Season. They will show in the regular season calendar. For the Independent Designers, some without an Atelier, this will give them the opportunity to turn Attendees into Buyers.
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
The Designers would invite Attendees to their shows, (as they usually do) once the Attendee sees the collection, they would purchase a few items. They would wear those items during the season, post on Social Media and TAG the Designer in every post. When the next season comes around, the Designer would invite the Attendees that have purchased and posted to the show, give them the ROYAL treatment with all the bells and whistles (including a front row seat with an overstuffed gift bag).
HOW DOES THIS IMPACT THE FASHION CALENDAR (as it is today)
A new season calendar could be created for the independent, here is a sample:
HIGH LEVEL FASHION/HOLIDAY/RTW – SEPTEMBER
This would give the designers an opportunity to get the garments ready, shop for fabric, fitting the attendee/buyer, etc., the garments would be ready by late October/early November depending on the detailing of the garment. The designers would not feel rushed and the attendee/buyer would have enough time so if anything needs to be fixed, the designer has enough time to do it. This would also help Boutique owners, who may not make their garments, but instead, buy their collections WHOLESALE. They could show their collections and know what inventory they would need to order going forward.
SPRING/SUMMER/RESORT WEAR/RTW – FEBRUARY
This would give the designers and attendees the chance to see the show, be fitted and the garment delivered by mid-April or early May. Again, in reference to Boutique owners, they would have an idea of what is selling and what they need to re-order once the initial order is placed.
HOW DOES THIS HELP DESIGNERS SELL?
Designers could begin gathering fabrics early and start working on their collections. Designers could fit the buyer, do any alterations and have the garments ready. This would cut down on the time from the initial deposit to the actually delivery of the garments.
I think that creating this type of seasonal calendar would help independent designers sell more garments and attendees would be more interested in buying from the designer as they would understand the timeline in which they would receive the garment. I also think it’s important for designers to have “some” inventory on hand, maybe 3 of each garment in various sizes (6, 10, 16) so attendees can try the garment on to see how it fits. This, of course, depends on the designer’s line, RTW, Couture, Made to Measure, etc.
By developing a seasonal calendar like this, it would give accessory designers an advantage as they could see what is forecasting.
READY TO WEAR (RTW) is the term for clothing sold in finished condition in standardized sizes (4 -16). Most are made with using sewing machines or are purchased wholesale for boutiques.
HAUTE COUTURE – Haute Couture is a much-misused phrase that actually has very specific rules for qualification. Translated literally, Couture is French for dressmaking, while haute means high. These are garments created as one off pieces for a specific client.
Haute Couture literally translates as ‘high sewing’ (and thus high fashion). It is the art of dressmaking on a luxurious and grandiose scale. Items are made-to-measure by hand, resulting in pieces of clothing that are both unique and painstakingly perfect. No sewing machines are used in true Haute Couture creations.
COUTURE – The business of designing, making, and selling fashionable custom-made clothing
HIGH LEVEL FASHION – Garments created with the combination of using a sewing machine and hand work for a designer’s collection. These garments are considered “High Level Fashion” and made for a specific group of fashion clients. These garments are TIMELESS and can be worn all season around. The designers that rank High Level Fashion, show consistently during the September and February Fashion Week Season. Unlike Haute Couture, these garments are not made for ONE client only.