The Many Fashion Seasons And Fashion Weeks, Explained
Why are there so many? Why are they everywhere? What even is it? Every question you've ever had about it but were afraid to ask, we answer it right here.| February 20, 2018
A lot happens at fashion week. Despite having attended it for the last two years or so, my mom still doesn’t fully get why I scoot off to America and Europe twice a year. Sometimes more, if you count Resort Week. It’s not a holiday, mom! It’s work! Like many other industries, fashion is one that throws jargon around quite a bit. When fashion week rolls around especially, the fashion-speak is tossed about as rapidly as bubbles rising up from boiling water. What is this “week” you speak of? Why do you sometimes refer to it as “month” and confuse us all, Candice? Why do you need to fly halfway across the world to see a runway show? What even is this “show” you keep talking about?
To give you the full picture as the runway shows roll out one by one over the coming weeks, whether you’re an industry hopeful aspiring to work in fashion or just someone who is genuinely curious, we attempt to answer any question you might have about fashion week – or month! – as a whole. If you have a question about fashion week, leave it in the comments below!
Why are there so many?
There are technically two major ones: one that spans from February to March, the other from September to October. These are the ones that people typically refer to when they say “fashion week”. There are others that take place at other parts of the year, like Couture Week, which takes place in January and July and often precedes or follows Menswear Week, and Cruise or Resort Week.
Why does it seem to be happening all over the place?
The main fashion weeks happen in what the industry calls “The Big Four”: New York, London, Milan and Paris, and in that order. The fashion weeks in cities like Tokyo and Seoul are becoming a force to be reckoned with and are also widely covered, but these fall out of the “official” calendar.
Actually, what even is fashion week and fashion month?
Think of it as the Comic-Con of fashion, except instead of panels, you have runway shows, and instead of booths, you have presentations. It is a twice yearly affair where industry people from all over the world come together to see what the designers have planned for the coming season. It is also an opportunity for different parts of the industry to meet, whether for business meetings or just a good ol’ catch-up sesh, because everyone’s together in one city. The Big Four take up a week or so each, making up a month.
Who goes to these?
It is a mix bag: editors, journalists, buyers, influencers, celebrities, VIPs and friends of the brands, staff from the regional and global headquarters of said brands, so on and so forth.
What happens at fashion week? What is a typical day like?
The runway shows are the main event and there can be as many as six to eight happening in a day. These are punctuated with presentations, which is a more intimate and close-up showcase of the season’s new offerings, re-sees, which is a second look at what walked the runway, and meetings. If you’ve ever wondered what the heck Team KULALA does at fashion week, you can read about it here.
Do the show schedules remain the same?
Unless there are organisational changes, like a change in creative directors, or a brand decides to take their show elsewhere, or the week is trimmed down by a day or two, it pretty much remains the same every season. You have a good gauge of what brands show on the first day, second day and what time, and so on.
Who decides who gets to show where?
The brands do! A large part of it is tied to heritage, but there are brands who show outside of the cities or countries they were founded in. For instance, Stella McCartney, who is British, shows in Paris. Proenza Schouler and Rodarte recently made the shift from New York to Paris. Australian label Ellery also shows in Paris. Dsquared2 by Canadian designers Dean and Dan Caten show in Milan.
What happens at a show?
People stream in, take a seat and wait for the music to come on, because that’s when you know the show is about to start. The models stream out, one by one, with photographers clicking left, right and centre. Before you know it, the finale walk signals that the show is over and you’re up and out the door, off to your next show. Shows typically last twenty minutes and yes, they do start late. It is expected, especially for anything after the first show of the day, because the schedules are tight.
What season is it right now? Why does it always seem so ahead of time?
Right now, the collections are for the Fall/Winter 2018 season, but the current season you see in stores right now are likely for the Resort 2018 season, but the Spring/Summer 2018 season is coming right up. The collections are showcased well ahead of the actual season for the sake of time. For example, once the buyers decide what goes into their stores after attending shows and re-sees, the brands need time to produce them, then get them to the different retailers and their own stores. Then, these retailers need to prep the new arrivals for sale, whether it is marketing, shooting or just the logistics – and this is just one part of the colossus that is the fashion industry.
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