Musings

What Are Fashion Seasons?

Fashion Seasons vs. Calendar Seasons

Happy day, dear reader!

Back in January, I wrote a post about Fashion Seasons vs. Calendar Seasons, and after some recent questions from friends and clients, it seems time to repeat it! (Albeit updated for our current time of year…) All over the blogosphere, trend reports from NY Fashion Week, which ran from September 6th-12th, are rolling in. Attendees are oohing and aahing over the latest styles to swish down the runways. London Fashion Week just finished, Milan comes next, and Paris will close out the style orgy. But these trend reports are for next year! Not for the season we are entering, but the Spring/Summer 2019 Style Season.

Making Sense of the Madness

I am often asked why fashion jumps so far ahead of the game. It’s not the insanity it seems. Fashion shows have become a media sensation reported on outlets all over the world, but that is not how they originated. Fashion shows were for buyers. Not you and I, but (capital B) Buyers who work for stores. Buyers would travel to attend the shows and then place orders for their stores. Lines would then contract with their manufacturers, fabric suppliers, etc. to fill those orders. The turnaround time from order to delivery was not the mere weeks we see today in  fast fashion; now, companies steal a look from the runway and have it in stores in two weeks to a month. Pattern houses would send representatives to fashion shows to sketch their impressions, and create looks for the home sewer. Last, but certainly not least, were the fashion magazines who would send reporters and photographers. The two big fashion issues each year still take months to create, using material from those shows two calendar seasons before.

We take for granted the speed at which our modern world works, but quality manufacturing, publishing, and other ventures work on much longer lead times than our Amazon Prime habits would have us think. Today’s turnaround times for fashion are dramatically shorter than in decades past, but still require months of preparation. Imagine the stress of working for the fashion houses themselves… They have been designing and producing the Fall/Winter 2019-2020 looks as soon as (and before) the Spring/Summer 2019 shows of this September are done and broken down!

How Many Seasons Are There?

This used to be an easy question. Originally there were two, Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. Later, another season, Resort, made an appearance, for the privileged who escape to sunny climes mid-winter. Now the seasons are more complicated. Some designers skip Resort, and others are doing four seasons a year, showing as they wish, and not at a Fashion Week. Still others are creating year ’round, with a few releases monthly, and few are creating just one collection each year. All these changes are driven by technology, and social media; the designers are no longer beholden to the fashion press and traditional locations. Designers can show their work to whom they choose and when they choose. It will be interesting to see what production models prove most workable in our new world!

How about you? Do you work in retail and see the trickle down from the runways to your shop? Do you enjoy the spectacle of fashion week (wherever it may be)? I love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts in the comments, below!

Stylishly yours,

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