Is Fashion Week Actually Bad For Business?

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proenza-schoulerPhoto: Courtesy of Proenza Schouler.
We've often wondered about the origins of the term "pre-fall." But, while the name itself may be confusing, these yearly, smaller, in-between-seasons collections — though often presented with less pomp and circumstance than those at Lincoln Center — are essentially the designers' moneymakers.

As WWD reports today, there's a major shift at Fashion Week that has just as much to do with the clothes on the runway as it does with the styles that hit stores. Coining the term "prêt-à-couture," the report points out a major business dilemma that some designers are facing. Fashion Week has not only become a place to introduce collections, but also new technologies and the highest quality offerings, and it's a chance for a brand to show its product like works of art. Great for presentation — not as successful for sales. The retail stars in fashion? The pre-seasons that fall between.

“The runway clothes are delivered late and the sell points are kind of crappy because they’re delivered late and because retailers spend most of their dollars on [the pre-seasons],” states Lazaro Hernandez, one half of the design team behind Proenza Schouler. These supposed "prêt-à-couture" collections we so eagerly wait to see on the runway may shine for their exquisite attention to detail, but they're not living up to their retail potential, the article suggests. Of course, Fashion Week is about more than sales — brand awareness, innovation, and trend forecasting play huge roles as well. But, without the business to back it up, it's possible we could soon see some changes to the twice-yearly event the fashion world always anxiously awaits. (WWD)