Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ask The Fashion Professor

Hi Professor -

After the runway show, how do the clothes shown get turned into sales for the designer?



Hi Tropical,

As much as we all the love the glamour, celebrities, excitement and creativity of Fashion Week - hype and publicity can only take a designer so far - you must sell clothes to survive.

Let's pretend you are the fashion designer. Of course, because you are such a smartie, and are independently wealthy or have a very rich backer, you already have a ruthless lawyer, a slick public relations firm, a reliable factory and various other people on your support team who all love you, support your vision completely and have agreed to work for peanuts.

Hopefully, you were wise enough to have the crowd at your show balanced with the right mix of buyers and editors in addition to the celebrities, models and other fierce and fabulous people. The genuinely important people in fashion are the buyers and editors. The editors can get and maintain additional exposure and the buyers will, hopefully, place orders for your clothes.

Of course, you have already finalized the production, merchandising and distribution of your goods - samples have been made and a distribution network is in place to get the goods from the factory to stores.

Fashion Week is only a very small part of the big picture.

It exceptionally rare for a designer new to the game or fresh out of school to sell any or even a fraction of a collection. For designers that have been thru Project Runway it can be very tough dance balancing their new celebrity and the demands of a new line.