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Fashion Week 101: Essential Terms, Explained

I dove headfirst into the world of fashion attending fashion week as a complete newbie and learned some essential terms. Care to join me in my fashion education?
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As a newbie attending my very first fashion month, I realised that there were so many terms that I had never heard of before and also words that took on an entirely different meaning in the fashion realm. When Yoyo requested to see the store’s ready-to-wear, I asked her what the term meant. She looked at me bemusedly and replied, “It just means clothes that are ready for the season.” Oh. My first (and hopefully my last) faux pas.

Every industry has its jargon and fashion is no exception. Whether you’re an expert or a novice on the matter, join us as we go through a list of words that you will find tossed around when people talk fashion. How many of these words do you know? Let us know in the comments below if we missed out anything!


Seasons: The main fashion seasons are spring/summer, pre-fall, fall/winter and resort. Also, the collections are showcased ahead of the actual season. This gives buyers ample time to view the collection, decide on their orders and put the stock in stores before the season arrives. Likewise, brands are given more time to market and produce their collections for retail.

Cruise or Resort Week: The season between fall and spring that shows during July and August, which will be available in stores in December and January. Typically offered by the power houses, the collections were traditionally targeted at jet-setters who were headed towards (you guessed it) cruises and resorts for the holidays, but have since expanded to just give enthusiasts more options during the in-between months, whether you’ve got that holiday booked or not.

Couture: Short for haute couture, it refers to made-to-order and custom-fitted designs exclusive to private customers. These pieces, often lavish in their creation and construction, though they may not always appear to be so, are made traditionally and typically made by hand and showcase the craftsmanship of the artisans.

Ready-To-Wear (a.k.a prêt-à-porter): The opposite of “made to measure”, it refers to clothing found in standardised sizes, which are ready for purchase and therefore, ready to be worn.

Creative Director: While often referred to as the designer of the collection, a creative director formulates the concept for a collection and the creative vision for the brand. They work closely with the designers to design and execute their vision.

Show: A fashion show is where the creative director unveils a brand’s latest collection of clothing and accessories. While it typically lasts from 20 to 45 minutes, the event requires months of preparation, with casting, fittings, building the set, rehearsals and more.

Show Notes: The official notes that are disseminated to the show’s attendees as well as to the media as press releases, typically placed on the seats at shows.

Re-see: A re-see is an up-close, second viewing of the collection because you know, runway models walk really fast and sometimes, there really is so much more to see. Most re-sees also let you go close enough to touch to pieces, allowing an even better understanding of the collection.

Presentation: No, not the kind that requires Microsoft Powerpoint slides. Typically held in a showroom, jewellery and shoe brands display their collections on racks, or with the help of models. Clothing brands may also opt for these, since they are more intimate and has a smaller audience than shows. Think of it as a lookbook, but IRL.

Samples: The clothing and accessories that brands loan out to show attendees, such as buyers, celebrities and influencers. Sometimes the attendees go for fittings in order to ensure that they pick the perfect look for the shows.

Frow: A portmanteau of “front” and “row”. Where you are bound to find magazine editors, celebrities, bloggers, buyers and all the notable personalities in the fashion circuit.

Street Style: The runway is where the official action happens, but it is on the streets that real style, worn by real people, is born. We even dedicated an entire series to street style, so check it out for a dose of wardrobe inspiration.

Street Style Photographers: They are found in swarms outside of show venues and are always ready to take the shot, rain or shine. Read our interview with Youngjun Koo of IAMKOO to find out more about the world of street style photography here.

What To Read Next: A Detailed FAQ: What The Hell Is Fashion Week?!, The Many Fashion Seasons And Fashion Weeks, Explained and Ever Wondered How A Pair Of New Eyes Experienced Fashion Week? | Cover Image: Sherryl Cheong

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