February 24, 2011



I know that many of you are very well enlightened in the ways of the retail and fashion world, but for those a little less observant, allow me to offer a quick and useful lesson. This post is a quick cliff notes guide to the international Fashion Weeks and the general retail floor change calendar. Get a grasp on these two things and you will surely up your shopping game.

COLLECTIONS. There are always exceptions, but the creative process behind most designers revolves around turning out two main collections. One for Fall/Winter and one for Spring/Summer. The esthetics of each is obviously centered around functionality during the particular season for which it's made.
FASHION CALENDAR. Each year their are two major seasons for fashion shows at which designers will reveal their latest collections. 
(Early February - Early March)
Typically Fall/Winter Collections
(Early September - Early October)
Typically Spring/Summer Collections 
*An unofficial third season exists from mid June to early July usually focused around Spring/Summer menswear and Haute couture. These shows tend to be very sexy and avant garde - especially the Haute Shows in Paris usually over 4th of July weekend and the swimwear exhibitions in Miami in mid July. 

Alexa Chung in Paris for Fall/Winter Fashion Week

FASHION CAPITALS/FASHION WEEKS. Many many cities have a strong fashion community, but there are a few that have particular influence over not only the fashion world, but also the retail community and trends in general. Each capital hosts what is called FASHION WEEK twice a year during the seasons mentioned above. They are held in more or less the same order every year:
* Many cities have noteworthy fashion week celebrations including Berlin, Los Angles, Dubai, Miami and even Sacramento.

Betsy Johnson NY Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011 (september 2010)
WHAT HAPPENS AT FASHION WEEK? Aside from the spectacle of the often elaborate fashion shows that take place at Fashion weeks across the country, each designer also creates what is called a "LOOK BOOK" from which buyers from various retailers can select and order items. Underneath the showmanship of the runway, Fashion week is really a rather large trade show in which merchants exhibit their merchandise and negotiate with buyers. In addition to this transaction, the crowds of fashion week are usually filled with another important type of attendee - The Press. Members of the press editorialize what they saw and determine trends and points of interests for their blogs, magazines and tv shows. The combined effect of the influence of the press with the selections of retail buyers almost instantaneously determines what we will be wearing in the corresponding season that following year. Most designers only produce what is ordered, thus taking the months following Fashion week to create the merchandise and ship it off to their buyers. This can take months. What is seen in Fashion Week in early February and March is usually put out in stores in mid to late September for immediate wear through the end of the season. Long story short, when you buy a new sweater in September it is almost definitely a year old already.
THE RETAIL SCHEDULE. Directly corresponding with Fashion Weeks across the globe, retailers generally put out new merchandise on the opposite schedule of Fashion Week allowing for their orders to be manufactured and distributed and also in coordination with the actual weather:
(Mid February - early March)
(Mid September - Early October)
*Every store varies depending on their merch and the part of the world they are in, but these dates are generally true.
SO - In short, there you have the business of Fashion in a nut shell. Once you have a grasp on things, you will start to know exactly what trends and styles you will soon see in your local boutiques. You will also begin to see the difference between boutiques that keep up on fashion and those that just buy the same things over and over. Don't worry, we at Sister | Brother will only turn you on to the good places to shop. 

Can't afford to buy the designer stuff right off the runway? Don't worry - fashion is like trickle down economics. Before you know it that unbelievable one button Thom Browne suit will be replicated (maybe not in quite the same quality) by everyone from Banana Republic to H&M. If the trend is one worth watching, it will no doubt still be on point by the time it hits the price point that works for you. After all, anyone can buy labels, fashion only really comes to life when you work it into your own unique personal style.
Hope this helped. Now get to shopping!
- brother

1 comment:

  1. I agree, I don't want to see Fall clothes at this point. I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate elements of Spring!!! Sheesh!