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Fashion Week is an event where designers show their collections. In this fashion week guide, you'll learn what happens from backstage right to the catwalk.
5 Mins

Fashion Week Guide

Lewis Findley
Lewis Findley

Fashion Week - The Week That Matters

If you think the build-up to the Academy Awards or the SuperBowl is a tad over the top then Fashion Week is right up there. 

Fashion Week, or rather fashion month, is an industry event lasting 7 days in the four fashion capitals which consist of New York, London, Milan and Paris.

The event is huge. New York Fashion Week is estimated to boost the economy by $887m in 2017.

In short, fashion week is a fantastic opportunity for designers and fashion houses to show their latest collections for sale next season.. 

In this guide, we'll explain the who, what, where, when, why and how!

When was the first Fashion Week?

The idea of a fashion show began in Paris where designers hired women to model their designs.

However, during WW2, it was difficult to travel to France to view collections for buyers, writers and others who were connected to the fashion industry.

With a lack of alternatives, Eleanor Lambert sought the opportunity to promote American fashion and became influential in the creation of New York Fashion Week in 1943.

How Does Fashion Week Work?

At a fashion week, you'll see designs not to be released for another 6 months. This is due to the retail cycle as buyers can purchase collections ready for the next season.

That is to say, September/October fashion month will show spring/summer collections and February/March will show fall/winter collections.

However, fashion designers have allowed in-season collections to be bought.

In this video by Inside Edition, Marisa Runyon provides her thoughts on fashion week after covering New York Fashion Week.

From the video, you saw the level of preparation for a fashion show. 

When the designer becomes director, there are different formats they can use such as a fashion show, presentation or both!

What's a Fashion Show Like?

After the drama of backstage, it's time to put it behind you - literally. 

The runway awaits and models are given the opportunity to promote the latest designs to the world and hoping they don't suffer a faux pas such as Naomi Campbell losing her feet on stage. She laughed it off though!

Here's an example of a runway show featuring Tom Ford's SS18 collection.

What's a Fashion Presentation?

A presentation will give you a closer look at the designs as the models will present them in a specific setting and attendees can get up and close.

They differ to runways because the model will come and go but here, you'll have less of a chance of missing something!

Here's an example of a Fashion Presentation from Eryn Brinie

Now that you know how a fashion looks on the frontline, what's it like backstage?

What's it like being involved in a Fashion Week?

It's chaos, organised chaos and chaos. 

Are Fashion Shows flawless? Liken it to storming the beaches of Normandy! An army of people work day and night to ensure each detail is perfect but there are exceptions.

For example, a model could appear late, not turn up or covered in aesthetics from a previous show. Our personal favourite is Queen Elizabeth appearing at London Fashion Week. How cool is that!?

Here's a video by Charlotte Tilbury which provides an insight into what goes on behind the curtains of a Versace show!

So you know what happens back stage and on the front row but, who are you walking or presenting to?

As one of the most exclusive events on the planet, who gets to go?

Who Attends Fashion Week?

Fashion shows aren't open to the public. They are a fashion industry event and can be quite exclusive.

Examples of the people who attend a Fashion Week are Magazine Editors, Brand/Retail Executives, Photographers, Celebrities, Buyers and others.

However, designers are making use of new platforms such as social media to bring their followers closer to the runway. You'll find live streams of shows and content which goes behind the curtains.

Things you may not know about Fashion Week

Celebrities are paid to attend shows

How many times have you seen social media explode because a celebrity appeared front row at Fashion Week?

It's for a reason! For a designer, it can mean a massive amount of exposure which is even worth paying for!

The next time you see an A-lister at Fashion Week, see if they get more attention than the show.

What you see may not appear in store

Even if you like it, if no one wants to buy it then it won't be made. 

Designers want to make sales and stores have made requests that have been accepted.

These changes can range from colour changes to adding certain lines which resonate with their customer profile.

It's all business, right?

Where you sit, tells everyone who you are  

You'll be surprised at how much time is spent choosing where people sit. 

You can liken it to a wedding.

It's no secret that Fashion Week is super exclusive to the extent that where you sit actually means something.

Of course, you want to be front and centre but so does everyone else!

It's more important to be seen 

Even though Fashion Week is about the latest collections from anticipated designers, attendees have been known to go in order to be seen or heard!

Why? Fashion Week is closely followed, so being seen in a photo or networking with people at the events can mean everything.

Now that you have an idea about fashion week, have you ever wondered what it's like being involved with fashion week?

Fashion Shows take months to prepare and preparations begin after the last show begins!

This means that fashion never seems to stop but how do you keep up?

How do you keep up with fashion week?

Social media, magazines, online, events, podcasts and more!

Vogue is a bible in the fashion world and releases the September issue each year and it's huge.

Their coveted September issue helps to illustrate this. The 2012 edition contained 916 pages!

They cover everything fashion and provide exclusive content for upcoming shows with interviews, videos etc. 

Released monthly, they inform readers of what's happening. 

Final Words

Despite the 'Big Four', Fashion Weeks occur in different countries such as Spain, Brazil, Germany and a host of others.

So, it's fashion week somewhere.

The 'Big Four' will get the most media coverage but it doesn't stop designers from promoting their collection outside those exclusive cities. 

What do you like about Fashion Week? Hit the comments and let us know!

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) kicks off fashion month. Check out what it's all about along with iconic moments!