Selling clothes in the season that people want to buy them is one of the THE most logical ideas that could ever be devised but sadly it is something that only a handful of designers are doing these days.
Tara St James of StudyNY released her Anti_fashion calendar earlier this year at Redress Raleigh Conference in North Carolina to a hail of appreciation by the small business crowd. Her calendar compares the traditional design, development, sales and production periods of a 6 month structure to the ‘Anti’ version which allows for monthly drops of seasonally specific capsules to hit the stores. T-shirts in summer and sweaters in winter. Ground breaking huh? She designs monthly, she sells monthly and she produces monthly. This not only gives a regular cash flow and clothes when they are needed, but also allows for regular work for the manufacturers rather than peaks and slumps in production lines.
This method of structured design and production is great for small businesses, its great for manufacturers, it’s great for the public and it’s something I talk about a lot in the lectures i give within the industry. So why isn’t it adopted by more brands?
Well, to my surprise, it might just be. Tamara Mellon, ex Jimmy Choo, announced earlier last week that she was launching her own fashion label which would sell clothes in the seasonal months that they should be worn in. For this high-profile individual to flip the traditional fashion calendar on its head takes some guts and a huge risk. Customers will love it for sure but from inside the industry, I’m curious about the stages of how this can be achieved when it comes to concept, colours and fabrics.
For instance, the concept of the collection would, i guess, still be set ahead of time, but colours and fabrics will be selected from previous and current season to allow for seasonal relevance (fabric mills produce 6 months in advance to show new designs). When it comes to the design side, would she connect directly with her customer base to assess their likes, dislikes, wants or desires or would this be pre planned and fixed? So, on this point alone, it’s interesting to see whether her collection is designed and produced 6 months in advance and then just delivered monthly or whether it is designed, produced and delivered monthly so being able to respond to the customers. There is a very big difference behind the scenes.
But of course the PR of her doing something, potentially, so radical against the norm is a great way to launch a new brand, or sell her new book whichever is first. Regardless, it’s about time someone recognised the need for a more sustainable approach, however luxurious her line will be.