Is The Fashion Calendar A Necessity Or A Waste?
“Nothing lasts forever,” said Sydney Sheldon, the 7th best selling fiction writer of all time, before J.K. Rowling and Stephen King.
So is the fashion calendar, apparently.
What is the fashion calendar?
The two big seasons are S/S and A/W. These collections are showcased at the major fashion weeks six months prior to when they appear in store for the benefit of Buyers and Fashion Press. Buyers need time purchase the pieces they would like to stock at their respective retailers, and the brand needs time to produce this stock. Even with the immediacy of online media, traditional media including magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar have long lead times (3 to 4 months), so the Journalists and Editors at these publications need access to imagery from the fashion weeks to include in the editions due out two months prior to the upcoming season”.
The fashion calendar follows the seasons and here is a typical year:
S/S Haute Couture Shows in Paris
S/S Ready-To-Wear collections in store
A/W Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Milan, and Paris
Pre-Fall collections in store
Resort/Cruise collection showings
A/W Haute Couture Shows in Paris
A/W Ready-To-Wear collections in store
S/S Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Milan, and Paris
Resort/Cruise collections in store
Pre-Fall collection showings
In 1943, Fashion Publicist Eleanor Lambert launched the first ever New York Fashion Week, known as “Press Week.” Prior to this, the fashion press held little or no interest in American fashion because it was believed the designers drew all of their inspiration from Paris. Lambert launched the event because the Press could not go to Paris due to the Second World War. To this day, the fashion weeks start in New York, continue in London and Milan and finish in Paris.”
So, this is how the fashion calendar had been working for decades, based on the fashion industry buying cycle. It works backward.
Fashion designs for the fall need to be in stores in August.
In February that same year, they are shown at the Fashion week to buyers and magazine editors, so they have 6 months to produce and deliver what they have sold.
And in August the year before they start designing the collection for the next fall as they often need to have new fabrics created and printed.
Do we still need to follow that calendar?
Some famous fashion designers already answered: “No.”
They did cut the calendar 6 months short to offer fashion products to the editors, the retail buyers, and the end customers at precisely the same time.
It’s always felt a little alien, inviting people from around the world to tune in and to watch, to Instagram, share and like and all of those things, but then not be able to buy it, or look at it, until four to six months [later]. I found [the shift to fashion immediacy] great — a natural thing.”
From the customer point of view, it sounds completely right. When they see anything they like on a photo in a magazine or on social media, for instance, these products should be available, and they should be able to buy them somewhere right away.
Everyone knows now that the Fast Fashion doesn’t follow any fashion calendar and doesn’t go by seasonal collections planned one year before. From the fashion sketch to the production and delivery, it takes only 2 weeks maximum. New fashions designs hit the stores all around the world every single week.
With the traditional six-month lead time on the delivery of international show content, designer collections can be outpaced by the so-called fast fashion chains. H&M, Topshop, and Zara, or even Target and J. Crew, would have their versions for sale before the designer looks to hit the stores.”
As McKinsey states it: “Shortening the fashion cycle isn’t a quick-fix undertaking.” And “See Now Buy Now” or, in other words shortening time to market, is a model for the long term.
What do fashion customers want today?
Like it or not. This is where the fashion industry is going.
The fashion calendar we used to know is not reactive enough for fashion customers and will undoubtedly evolve into something new, more customer-centric, which is a good thing, always.
I will always remember one of the best marketing lessons I got, unexpectedly, when I was an intern at Nina Ricci in Paris.
That renowned fashion house hired a successful fashion photographer, Dominique Issermann, and famous model, Eva Herzigova, for the ad campaign. The result was beautiful, and Nina Ricci was expecting high sales from it, rightfully. The day the ad campaign was released in the most recognized fashion magazines, the phone didn’t stop ringing. Customers were going crazy about one product, asking where to buy it right away.
Unfortunately, that product was not for sale. It hadn’t be produced for customers, but only upon the photographer’s request to have matching accessories for the clothes on the pictures.
They missed thousands of sales.
Please don’t do that to your fashion business. Focus on your customer’s needs and desires, not on the fashion calendar.
When do you start using your own fashion calendar? Let us know.
This article is about the 6th fashion myth of our essential guide for aspiring fashion designers called: 7 Fashion Myths – How to avoid wasting time and money. If you would like to know all those misconceptions of the fashion business, you can download that guide for free here.
(Photo from Unsplash: Jeff Sheldon).
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Fanny is the CEO + Co-founder of Fashion Talents, and a passionate and tireless promoter of new fashion eBusiness. She’s on a mission to open fashion business to all talents around the world and drive shoppers, sales, and success to them.