3 Simple Things You Need To Check Before Doing A Fashion Show

Hey Fashion designers,
The month of August is ending soon, the fashion industry is preparing for fashion week. I wanted to use this opportunity to share a few reminders for you regarding fashions shows.

You’re probably solicited very often to participate to fashion shows. You can be lured by different fashion show producers to join their runway. So in exchange for a certain fee, the producers will have models walking down the runway wearing your designs and extra services.

So the question might dawn on you: should I be part of this fashion show? To help you answer this question I’ve prepared a checklist to evaluate your situation.

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Being Part Of A Fashion Show Is A Business Decision

I’d like you to put aside the glamour and the glitter one can associate with the fashion industry and the runway shows. At the beginning, many designer consider the participation to a fashion show as the end in itself, the ultimate objective of a fashion brand. You may think that being seen on a runway will suffice to get people’s attention to buy from you.
Newsflash!

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NO it’s not. When done seriously, fashion shows represent a massive budget (an estimated $125,000 to $312,000 according to Vogue Business).
And fashion brands that decide to do fashion shows only because of three things:

  • Landing press especially from media watched and read by your target audience
  • Getting shares from influencers and social media accounts that serve your target audience
  • Therefore getting beautiful eye-catching photo and video content that is in line with the spirit of your collection

As a result, before deciding to participate to a fashion show or to organize yours, you should carefully assess if it’s the right thing for you in terms of visibility and sales.

1 – Evaluate the guest list: who will be at your fashion show?

You need to evaluate the power of the guest list. Ask the fashion show producer what kind of profiles attend the event. Be careful! In order to get designers in, some productions don’t hesitate to do some name dropping. There is no guarantee in case of a no-show. I once attended a fashion event that the producers said to be sponsored by L’Oreal. However on site, the name L’Oreal wasn’t on the photo call (where only one unknown brand was named by the way). They promised the presence of a celebrity who never showed up.

In order to avoid that, you need to understand what kind of people come to that event. If you have a majority of people from the fashion press, fashion buyers, other fashion professionals, celebrities, it can be interesting for your fashion brand to be seen there. You want your brand to be in the room with people who can do something for your brand in the industry.

Ideally back up your guest list analysis with a check up on the guest list of past years editions of the event.

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2 – Evaluate the exposure of the runway show in the media

Verify which press and influencers shared information about the past editions of the runway show. If the information is shared by serious fashion related press or mass media, it can be interesting for you to be associated to that event. It’s your chance to shine in the media and bring your fashion business into the spotlight.

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3 – Evaluate the quality of the visuals shared by the official fashion show producer

The photos and videos shared by the official fashion show producer should be impeccable and should reflect industry standards. Make sure there is no weird angle from which the models are shot, a good and tasteful framing. Ensure that all the captions and scripts on the media shared remain tasteful and quite neutral.

Make sure that the producer organized the room to leave a plain background behind the models in order to make the designs pop.

Check the previous editions and make sure that the pictures are in line with industry standards. Otherwise you’ll end up with media material that you’ll not be able to use afterwards.

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Keep This In Mind When You Discount Your Fashion Designs

Hey fashion designers,

We are in between seasons right now and you’re probably transiting slowly to the autumn. Maybe you’ve even unpacked your autumn collection and you’re trying hard to get rid of the spring/summer pieces left. So you think of discounting some items.

I get it! You want to be profitable and still get something out of those unsold items…So instead of registering a total loss, why not just sell your fashion designs at a discounted price?

Well, the idea sounds good. On paper.

But I just wanted you to think about the situation you’re ending up with and the related consequences.

What Discounting Your Designs Says About Your Fashion Brand

So if you’re reading this article, you’re probably in the situation when you absolutely need to get rid of your designs for cash. And you think that the quickest way would be to ask for less in exchange.

Well I’d like you to read this carefully.

Trust me: Experience taught me that the price is not the real problem. If you feel forced to lower your prices to sell, it’s not because your products are too expensive. It’s because they’re not perceived as expensive as your price tag says.

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I knooooow. Ouch, right?

Having to lower your price just means that you didn’t do your job correctly as a fashion business owner. So if you’re into that situation right now, I invite you to think where you did wrong.

If nobody buys, it means that there is a mismatch between what your customer expects and what your product or your offer looks like. Or you’re forcing your product on the wrong customer.

For example, I knew a designer who sold jewelry items. She stated it was meant for Couture. However the material she used looked like plastic. Her website looked cheap. The models she picked didn’t look sophisticated enough, they looked more like women she dressed up for the occasion and forced to look somewhat glamorous for the pictures. She participated to fashion shows but the venues were cheap as well. And the only argument she added to sell her jewels at Couture prices was the time she spent on the pieces. But unfortunately it didn’t show.

It might sound trivial to you but people who actually buy Couture care about that kind of details. Couture is just an example but it would be exactly the same if we were talking about a vegan fashion brand or an athleisure brand.

So, take a step back and ask yourself: Are your customers aware of your brand identity? How? Is there a mismatch between your product and your communication? How do you make your customer dream? Do you sell your products in the right area?

You can also ask a few customers or people from your audience and do this exercise with them. Listen to their feedback and see what you can correct accordingly.

Discounts Don’t Necessarily Give A Good Brand Image

Yes, customers buy. But truth is the more you discount, the weaker your brand image. If you become associated to a brand that keeps lowering its price, it will become difficult to be taken seriously.

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Discounts should be applied carefully on a selected type of goods.

What You Should Discount And What You Shouldn’t

This is what you should know when you decide to discount your prices. Not everything should be discounted.

You should always keep a few pieces that remain untouchable. The pieces that are the most representative of your brand or the ones that are cut in the fabrics that are the most emblematic of your brand should never be discounted. For example, an emerging brand I once collaborated with worked a lot with linen, it was a strong component of their brand DNA and many customers knew them for that. So when they go on sales, they never discount the linen pieces.

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Use Past Data To Balance Your Collection Accordingly

When you design your next collection, you should at least do an analysis of the past collections. Understand what sold well and what didn’t. Analyze why. Get feedback from your customers.

Once you get the feedback, you need to decide what to continue and what to stop. Which pieces are worth re-creating with a twist for the next season.

Also you need to balance the strong pieces with more quiet ones. Your fashion brand identity should be perceptible in each garment you create. It will be louder on the main signature pieces of your collection. Those strong signature pieces should be made in smaller quantities. More mainstream pieces should be made in higher volumes.

Find the combination that best works for you in order to limit future discounts.

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3 Simple Things You Need to Do This Summer to Boost Your Fashion Business

Hello Fashion designers,

We are in the middle of the summer. It’s warm, it’s sunny…I mean I’m not going to complain!!! But maybe the tiny little thing that may upset you is this: your friends are all gone on vacation and unlike your friends, you’re “stuck” working for your fashion brand.

If it’s your case as well, welcome to my world.

I receive tons of beach photos, pool party videos from the most glamorous places in Europe while I am here, unpacking the wool items from the winter collection under an ill-working air conditioning. 

Plus if your customers are on vacation, sales are probably slowing down.

So what can we do now? Might as well be napping under a beach umbrella somewhere.

Well designers I’ve always enjoyed working in the summer. Okay to be honest, for a second, I also want to be in that swimming pool, especially if my AC isn’t working when I am dealing with winter fabric. 

But the sales slowdown is a great opportunity to work on our fashion brand and our systems. 

So here is what you can do for your fashion brand during the summer

#1 – Learn something new 

A few weeks ago I published an article about amazing resources that you can read or watch during the summer. These are the kind of resources that you may not need in the immediate present But that will surely help you improve in the future.

Growing a fashion brand is a long-term commitment. You may not see the effects of what you’re learning straight away But it’s always good to see how successful fashion designers and experts did to nail their business.

#2 – Implement new habits to stay closer to your customers 

Is there anything in your fashion business that is nice to have but that you think is too time-consuming to implement in the immediate future? For example, do you have a weekly newsletter that informs about the up and coming events of your brand? If not, now would be the perfect opportunity to prepare that. Take the time that you don’t spend selling to your customer to organize the layout of your newsletter and to think about the content that you’re going to share. When September comes, you’ll just have to press send to launch it.

#3 – Strategize: Analyze what’s working and what’s not

If you don’t sell it’s truly because there something off with your brand. With all the tasks that need to be performed during the season, you usually don’t have the time to sit down and analyze the problem.

But again, now there’s plenty of space to do so! So start analyzing your sales and find out what’s working and how you can continue in that direction and understand what’s not working at all and correct it!


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How To Plan Your Timeline When Launching Your Fashion Brand

Hello fashion designers, 

if you plan to launch your fashion label in the near future, you’ve probably felt overwhelmed with all the tasks that need to be done. Or maybe you’ve already started but you are going back and forth, focusing on everything (…and nothing at the same time…let’s be honest….)

Yes! Creating a fashion brand covers so many disciplines at the same time, it’s really really difficult to know what to do – when. 

Whether you graduated from a fashion school or you’re a total newbie and took the leap of faith to launch your dream brand, things can feel a little tough, hectic and messy. Especially if you don’t know whcih direction you are going. 

That’s why I wrote this little reminder to guide you through your brand creation. Keep those in mind and take them as an indicator of the milestones you need to reach. 

1. What’s your concept?

This might sound like a huge surprise for you if you are new to this industry but you don’t start with a finished product that you proudly send for reproduction to a production facility. 

I’ve seen so many designers do things in that order…please don’t!

The number one thing you need to figure out is your concept. By that I mean finding the answer to the following questions:

When you answer those questions, dig deep into your passion. If you come up with very boring answers like “I was shopping at the mall and I found out there is nothing wearable for people my size”…I am begging you! STOP!

Go deeper. We want to know that this label is your reason to live and we want to know why. 

So for this first step, the best concepts come from people who connect their deepest desires to the style they are launching. 

Review your beliefs. Start with the things that motivate you and help you live and wake up in the morning. 

The best presentations I had started with people sharing their experience of the world “I believe in a world where….”. This enables to smartly evolve to your conclusion “This is why  I create the fashion label XYZ…”

This should ideally be done 6 to even 9 months in advance. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

2. Strategize

Strategizing is nothing more than making decisions about the direction you’re going to take for your fashion brand. 

7 to 8 months before starting the brand, you’ll need to decide how you are going to sell your products. At which price, on which location using what kind of communication to promote the collection. 

Use market researches smartly and back the information obtained with the customer you target.

I’d also like to add something about fashion shows: a fashion brand’s objective is not to do a fashion show. If it doesn’t bring you the kind of press your target customer is reading or orders from buyers or at least professional looking pictures, don’t do a fashion show. Go for a tasteful event instead that’s in line with your brand concept. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

3. Who do you target?

The ones who succeed in fashion have a very accurate idea of their potential customers. You need a targeted approach. 

Don’t try to sell to everybody. It’s the best way to end up selling to nobody. 

Know your customer. This is part of your strategizing session 7 to 8 months before the brand creation. You should be able to picture them mentally and know exactly what they look like, where they live and hang out, how they like to spend their day etc. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

4. Design and prototype

As you may have guessed, this is a tricky step. Start it early enough (6 to 9 months before brand launch) so that you get options. 

Unless you already work in that industry and know suppliers, you need to get in touch with them. You also need to gain their trust. 

What if you don’t? They will be reluctant to work with you. They will keep a high Minimum order quantity and will be less willing to budge. 

Don’t neglect the previous steps. You may be just starting but manufacturers also assess the solidity of your project according to your professionalism. A designer who is serious about his business has a clear vision of his concept. A designer who is serious about his business knows which customers he targets. A designer who is serious about his business knows how he is going to distribute his products. 

So work on the previous steps before sourcing your fabric supplier and manufacturers. 

Once you are ready, you can start looking for the right suppliers. Go to trade fairs. Check fashion councils in your region. Look on online networks such as Linkedin as well. 

Pick potential partners and have a prototype made to assess the quality of their work.

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

5. Start social media

2 to 3 months before D-day, start growing your audience social media. Not 3 weeks, 2 to 3 months. Yep, you’ll need every single day to grow your audience. 

So many of you out there think that social media is like a magic potion that you activate once your product is ready. If that’s what you think, it’s time you get the memo: fashion is an overcrowded industry and unless you’re Rihanna opening Fenty backed by a giant luxury group, people are not lining up in front of your store to get your pieces. 

Therefore you need to plan and grow your audience timely. 

And it doesn’t matter if you don’t have your products finalized yet. You can post inspirations and still get the attention of your target customers. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 

6. Evaluate the costs

Once you’ve decided exactly which direction you are going to take by when, you can price your strategy and do the costing of each action plan you’ll undertake. 

Then you’ll have a fashion business plan you can work with to know if you end up profitable. 

Ideally a first version of your business plan should be available 2 to 3 months before launching. 

Click the button hereafter to get the short guide with all the deadlines. 


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