Don't Play It Safe At Fashion Week
Yesterday I once again found myself enjoying the front row experience at London Fashion Week. This time instead of worrying about our clients' PR coverage or model walks, I was client free and able to watch a variety of shows and fully enjoy the experience.
As always I went with anticipation of what would come down the runway and as I did it really got me thinking about the designers who are trying to make it in the industry. What advice would I give them about how to debut at Fashion Week and stand out from the crowd? How do you make a dent amongst the noise of delightful fashion? Here are my top 5 tips:
1. No Stand Alone Shows - When thinking about debuting as a new designer do not launch your collection at a stand alone show, i.e a show that just features your collection. Firstly it is simply too expensive to do it properly. Secondly since you are an unknown you will struggle to get any buyers or press there. Thirdly there are showcase platforms for emerging designers that have the representation to give you the kudos you need. If you are in London I would highly recommend Fashion Scout or if you're in New York why not try GenArt Fresh Faces.
2. Get The Right PR - I have seen so many designers spend money showcasing their collection and forgetting about the most important thing, how to get people to attend. It's so sad to attend a show of a new designer with a room half empty but far too often this is the case. Designers do what they do, they design, but forget that if you don't have a room full it will damage your brand before its even got started. My recommendation is to partner with the showcase platforms PR agency. For example POP PR in the UK tend to work with Fashion Scout's designers who are showcasing, by doing this you are pretty much guaranteed a packed room. Whilst it will cost to have that PR representation, it better to spend the extra penny's and do it probably, then risk being left with an empty room looking at your beauty cloths.
3. Be Realistic - Sorry to break it to you but in your first season you won't be on the main stages of Fashion Week and you probably won't get front coverage of any of the fashion press. You need to be realistic. Your aim is to get local press, bloggers, vloggers and boutique buyers coming to your show. Aim to secure press and stockists but just be realistic on which press and which buyers will be there. Most designers take 4 seasons before they get any major exposure, start small and build. You are in this for the long run so take baby, but sustainable steps.
4. Be Different - There are over 150 designer shows during London Fashion Week, journalists, editors, buyers, bloggers are literally jumping from one show to another so what are you going to do to stand out? This is not the time to play it safe. You want a show that reflects your brand but also makes your brand rememberable. Make sure everything from the styling, to the music, the visual effects to the actual collection which tells a story. If I see another plan white wall with dull music and an even duller collection come down the runway, I am going to hit my head! Be different. Do something orginonal and people will remember you. Fashion is an eccentric world so the press will only right about things that jump out and delight.
5. It's Business - please, please, please remember that Fashion Week is an industry trade show. Yes its full of celebrities and buzz, but if you want to have the money to be sustainable and appear each season you need to treat it as a business. There is no excuse as to why you and your team can not secure buyers to your first show. The best way to do this is to invite independent boutiques and small e-tailers as a way of getting your first few pieces stocked. The key is to use your show to get stockists. Even if you only get one or two pieces stocked its money coming in to help you build and develop your next collection. Fashion Week is not an ego boosting exercise, its a business trade show, so use it to do business!
Well that's it for now. I am off to another runway show, but in the meantime here is a little more from yesterdays One's To Watch Fashion Scout SS18 Collections at London Fashion Week.
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