12th June, 2012
I am just thinking:
I am here, talking about Spring/Summer 2013 and Autumn/Winter 2012 collections, and many of you that are now reading these posts might not be so familiar with the fashion calendar...
Many friends of mine, even the most "fashionista" and "sartorial" (two definitions related to fashion consumers that I am going to explain in one of the next posts), always ask me about the differences in timing between one collection and the other.
For example, my friend A. asked me two weeks ago a very logical question: why do designers show now, in June 2012, collections of garments that are supposed to be bought for Spring Summer 2013? Why the hell do I need to see now things that I am going to buy next year?
How could I blame my friend? For me, working in this field for many years, the timing of presentation, production and consumption of fashion made completely sense.
But for him, who was a careful consumer anyway, the whole plot seemed to miss some logic.
So, let me explain briefly what I replied to my friend A. that day, so that you can always come back to this post whenever you feel you are confused about the timing of collections and garments from one season to the next.
Let's start from this current month.
We are in June 2012 and as I mentioned in the previous post, this is the month when the main Men's fashion shows happen to be.
And I am talking here about the first phased the fashion cycle: presentation.
In June 2012, you will have the presentation of collections for Men for spring/summer 2013. Meaning you will see what designers see men will look and dress like this time next year! It seems an incredible and long forecast to be done, especially in a sector that is supposed to be always innovative and changing. But reality is different.
Collections for Men are presented in June 2012 by the most famous designers and brands in different cities. In order London (starting from this year), followed by Milan and then (last but not least) Paris.
Very important to note (and you cannot imagine how many people think of the contrary) is that every designer shows his or her collection for Men's Spring/Summer 2013 just in ONE of these cities (e.g. Dolce&Gabbana show their seasonal collection just once in Milan this month). So all buyers and pressure obliged to go to these cities to testimony the presentation of the collections.
And this is what makes fashion weeks being what they are: people invading these cities during this time of the year, running from one location to another, following a very strict calendar of presentations and shows (and sometimes related parties on the evenings...).
But let's go back to our timeline.
Collections for SS13 (abbreviation for spring/summer 2013) are presented in those cities in June 2012.
Buyers make their orders during June and July 2012, deciding what they want to show in the stores they represent or, if they are working as part of the retail of the brand showing he collection, allocating their regional budgets to the items they know will represent the image of the brand next season or to the commercial pieces they know will sell best in heir market.
Orders are collected and passed to the main suppliers (working in partnership with that specific brand) or to the main internal manufacturing facilities, in order to be produced along a time range of about three to four months.
I am not talking here and now about the complexity of having a consistent number of orders for each garment, type and colour. These choices are company and brand specific, and minimum quantities can vary from one brand to the other.
For our purposes, it is just important to notice that this represents the production phase of the fashion timing.
Ok... Now we get to the final stage: delivery in store and consumption.
So, assuming production is complete by October/November, the garments are shipped to all the customers (please note what I mean here as "customers" are the buyers I mentioned above, such as a brand's own retail stores or big department stores such as Harrods or Saks Fifth Avenue), so that they can start displaying them in store between December and January, depending on the brand's strategies.
Are you still following me? Come on, it is not difficult as you can see.
So, basically, by December 2012 or January 2013, you will find in your store of preference the collection for spring/summer 2013 you have seen on the Internet at style.com or on this website back in June 2012.
Now, another friend of mine, W., would say here: why the hell do stores need to show merchandise for spring and summer already in winter, in December or January? I am not going to buy a bloody swimwear in Milan when it is snowing outside, am I?!
Well, if you think about that, it is not so illogical...
It is not that stores just get rid of all their winter collections and put on display just the SS13 collection. I mean, if you need a designer brand's new coat be sure that you can easily still find it in February in store (at least in the good ones...) when you actually need it.
However, the fact that you can also start buying your summer pieces already in December or January makes a brand and a store worth to be visited and to commit to them. Not only for the real fashionistas, that want to wear first the pieces that will go in few months time, but also for the consumer (and here comes the final piece of the process, the "consumption" in store) that is planning to go to the Bahamas already in March or living in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town.
If you are a more "normal" consumer, you can still buy your own spring/summer pieces in April and May (and even June), when you actually need them, and you can wear them as soon as you buy them too.
And then, in June 2013, you can still follow on this website what you are going to wear (potentially) the year after, in spring/summer 2014, and so on.
I hope this is a bit clearer now, but please do not hesitate to ask questions through our "Contact Us" section if you need any further explanation.
Don't be afraid: it always seems confusing at the beginning, but then you will learn (and master it) perfectly as soon as you practice these concepts a bit.
So, then, when I talk about Men's Autumn/winter 2012 collections, aka AW12, you know I am talking about collections that have been:
- presented in London, Milan, Paris and New York in January 2012;
- manufactured between February and June 2012;
- delivered in stores between May and June 2012;
- displayed in store from July 2012 (I am talking here about coats and fur jackets...) until December 2012 or January 2013 (the "sales" period).
Are we ok?
I am not talking about womenswear here which has a "slightly" different calendar and timing.
Just focus on menswear, guys, and I really hope I gave you some more hints to maintain your status of A-Men.
Stay tuned and now, let's deal with all these men's fashion weeks with some confidence, so that we can impress our friends at the pub or during dinner... :)