So this post is just a short informative one to provide some background for my next post. To people without an interest in fashion, it might seem a bit dry so for you guys (and for my dudes who read my blog occasionally), you can sit this one out.
It’s Fashion Week in Paris!!!
Huh? You might be scratching your head. It’s not February. It’s not September.
But it is Fashion Week.
So let’s talk a little bit about the fashion system.
- Brands produce two main womenswear fashion collections every year for spring and summer seasons. Spring is shown in September, 6 months before the Spring selling season of the next year, and Fall is shown in February/ March, 6 months in advance of that selling season, the Fall of the current year. Simple no?
- Okay, so beyond their main collections, brands are increasingly adding pre-collections to their calendars, Pre-Fall which are shown in December/ January (for sale in July) and Resort or as the Europeans call it, Cruise collections which are shown in May/ June (for sale in January of the next year). Why these collections? Because the hugely expensive, produced fashion shows of Fall and Spring with their mindblowing pieces are staged to uphold the image of the brand. But at the end of the day fashion is a business, and dollars and sense are the bottom line. Pre-collections, which are rarely ever shown with the pomp and circumstance of the main collections, because of their transitional nature (Resort features lots of light sweaters, and jackets, while Pre-Fall can include lots of shorter length skirts and shorts) stay on the selling floor longer and translate to the bulk of commercial sales for brands.
- I’m not done. Then we have menswear collections. Though stateside menswear shows don’t have its own fashion weeks, in Europe they do, most notably Pitti Uomo, and French Men’s fashion week in January and June, right after the pre-collections (AKA right now!)
- Still with me? THEN we have Couture collections which show directly after men’s. The Fall Couture shows began yesterday in Paris and Spring Couture takes place in January/February as well.
Whew. That’s a lot. And this is just the calendar for the primary fashion weeks in Paris, London, New York and Italy (Florence and Milan). That doesn’t begin to take into consideration the fashion weeks in Berlin, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and all the other world cities. And Tobago!
So basically, some designers or houses, may be producing as many as 8 separate fashion collections a year! Then when you consider some designers design for multiple brands, (like Karl Lagerfeld who at one point was designing for Chanel, Fendi, and his own label), those numbers can just get crazy.
The most ironic part about all these fashion shows …so much of the clothing never goes into production. After Fashion Week, comes Market Week in which all the industry’s buyers rush around from showroom to showroom, looking at samples and placing orders for their upcoming seasons. Buyers are focused on what’s most likely to sell to their customers. If not enough buyers order a style, it gets cut. That’s why you can see an amazing piece that you love on the runway, and never be able to order it (except in some European cities and on websites like Moda Operandi).
So what’s my point? I’m just finishing up a Market Week internship at Opening Ceremony (woo hoo!) the US concept retailer (more about this later) and it’s kind of exposed me to more of the fashion calendar than I had been previously. So I wanted to give a short background so that my next couple of posts make more sense.
So to wrap up, right now, we’ve gone from Cruise to Men’s to Couture and then in September, Spring/Summer shows start again. So we can safely say…it’s always Fashion Week somewhere.
Runway pics courtesy Style.com