Becoming a Fashion Designer - Part II

Before you venture into the fashion biz, you'll want to familiarize yourself with industry terms and fashion seasons.

Here are some fashion terms you may find useful in planning your fashion career:

Haute Couture: This fashion term is French for "high sewing" or "high dressmaking" and refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted fashions. While the term is very loosely used, it's actually a "protected name" in France, so it can only be officially used by designers that meet certain well-defined standards.

Lookbook: A lookbook is used by designers and retailers to show the range of a collection. You can use these to send to buyers, editors, journalists or on your website for the viewing public.

Off-the-rack: This refers to apparel made in standard sizes and available from in-stock merchandise. Also referred to as "ready-made" and "ready-to-wear".

Fashion Seasons

Just as the weather changes, so do fashion seasons. We've all walked into a store in early March and seen summer tops and wondered what they hey? The reason is that the fashion seasons change before the grass turns green or the first snow falls. Knowing the fashion seasons is critical if you're going to become a fashion designer. You'll also want to work with a fashion forecaster to predict the trends, so that when you present your collections to buyers-or to the public directly-they'll buy it!

Trend forecasts are based on the fashion seasons, taking into account color and fabric variations for different times of year. For example, earth tones are generally more popular in the fall, jeweled colors for the holidays, pastels and floral prints for spring and white and bright colors for summer. Of course, there are always surprises! But for the most part, designers and manufacturers include some of these standard colors in there collection planning.

If you're working on your first line, plan to work six months before any given selling season. Successful designers produce four or five seasonal lines a year. Targeting delivery a month ahead gives consumers a continual supply of fresh merchandise each season.

Fall markets take place between February and April. The fall selling season is the biggest season of the year, so it lasts longer than the other seasons, which usually only last two months with some overlapping. "Fall II" starts in mid-April and goes through mid-June.

Holiday is June-July; with the occasional show in August.

Resort/Cruise is August through early September. Spring fashion is from October to November, with some shows in early December. Summer is shown in December-January with a late show in February.

Since the buying shows happen in well in advance of upcoming seasons, you better have good insight into what buyers are looking for. For example, if you wait until February to show your spring collection, many buyers will already have placed their orders in the fall. They'll be looking for some summer, but mostly fall and winter samples for the following year. Even if they like what you're showing, they may have already exhausted the budget. Also, you will need to have your product ready in time for the promised ship dates.

Stay tuned for more on How to Become a Fashion Designer

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