Any popular style of clothing, footwear, accessories, and sometimes makeup is characterized as fashion. Fashion has to do with any unique yet constant trend in the way a person dresses or in how a brand is presented. Fashion means different things to a lot of people. Most clothing brands have unique features, something that sets them apart from all other brands. Fashion trends are dynamic which explains why some form of dressing will be in vogue for a while, go out of vogue, and then find its place again subsequently most times in another generation after it has been varied to suit the new generation. Fashion trends therefore, never go into extinction, it only gets recycled.
As a result of the dynamic nature of fashion, the need arose to showcase the fashion trends that are suitable for a particular season to fashion lovers, the media, and prospective customers. This led to the evolvement of the Fashion Week.
The birth of fashion week as a concept can be traced to Paris where fashion marketers sourced for women that would wear and display couture items in public usually at racetracks or salons. The first ever fashion week in the true sense of the word, however, is the “New York Fashion Week” in 1943 which was organized for the sole purpose of diverting attention from French Fashion during World War II since the people that worked in the fashion industry were hindered from traveling to Paris. Eleanor Lambert, a fashion publicist, seized this great opportunity to organize a “Press Week” where American designers were showcased thereby gaining the attention of fashion journalists who had initially ignored American designs.
A fashion week is an event organized by the fashion industry which can take up to a week, aimed at giving fashion designers, brands, or fashion houses the opportunity to showcase their latest collections to prospective buyers and the media using the runway as a tool. It simply has to do with hiring models who can display different designs while walking on the runway.
Over the years, the influence fashion weeks have had on the current trends in each season and even upcoming seasons cannot be overemphasized. This fashion event occurs two times in a year in these most prominent fashion capitals in the world: New York, London, Milan, and Paris. It should be noted that many prominent fashion weeks are now held all around the world, but these four fashion capitals are known as the “Big Four” when it comes to fashion weeks.
Initially, fashion weeks were held months before the next season to give the press and buyers the opportunity to review the fashion trends of the incoming season before time, and also because of the retail cycle that was slower at that time. In February and March, the designers will showcase their autumn and winter collections, while they showcased their spring and summer collections in September and October.
Presently, however, the retail cycle has increased to match customer expectation, and this has caused designers to embrace “in-season shows” where they showcase the fashion trends of a season in that season. This, in essence, means that any prospective buyer can buy any showcased clothing immediately, in stores, or even online as opposed to waiting for months after a sample has been showcased at the fashion week.
Another move is the “see now, buy now” shows. These shows make use of clickable online videos to make looks at the fashion week available online immediately as the show is going on. These shows evolved in response to the activities of “fast fashion” retailers who are skilled in the art of imitating designs from the fashion week and making those designs available with great speed, even faster than conventional design houses. Some brands which have organized “see now, buy now” shows are Tom Ford, Nicole Miller, and TOMMY.
Primarily, there are two types of shows: womenswear fashion weeks and menswear fashion weeks. Womenswear shows are usually organized in February and September/October following the New York, London, Milan, and Paris order. Menswear, on the other hand, is usually held in January and June/July following the London, Milan, Paris, and New York order.
Some fashion weeks shows are particularly linked to location. For instance, “haute couture” shows are held in Paris, “resort / cruise” and “bridal” shows are held in New York, and “Pitti Immagine Uomo”, a menswear trade show holds in Florence, Italy. Some fashion weeks are also tailored generically towards a genre such as Fashion Week in Miami tailored towards swimwear, Islamic Fashion Week in Indonesia, focussed on Moslem fashion, and the Rio Summer Fashion week in Rio tailored towards swimwear.
A lot of designers have organized inter-seasonal shows which hold between the conventional Autumn / Winter, and Spring/Summer seasons. These inter-seasonal collections help to reduce the time customers have to wait for the clothes of the new season. For instance, Resort/Cruise and Pre-Fall are inter-seasonal collections. These inter-seasonal collections have no fixed show schedules in the fashion capitals but they usually hold their shows about three months after the main season shows. Some designers like Karl Lagerfield also showcase their inter-seasonal collections outside their home city just as he showcases Resort and Pre- Fall collections in some cities like Los Angeles, Moscow, and Monte Carlo in the place of Paris.
Whatever category of designer you fall into, and whatever your designs are, you should never underestimate the need to put your fashion trend on the runway for the world to see. The most effective way to achieve this is by holding a fashion week; you will be surprised at the immense benefits that will accrue to your fashion business as a result of this.