Fashion Week – What is going on?

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Fashion Week – What is going on?

By Lawrence PizziAM Fashion Editor

There are more fashion weeks then there are Cities to host them in.  But one has to stop and wonder, “Can we really have all these fashion weeks?”  I want to talk about what is happening and what designers and models need to look out for before taking part in them.

Not to sound like a hard nosed snot, but there are only a few TRUE fashion weeks… NY – Feb 11-18, London – Feb 19-23, Milan Feb 24 – March 1, and Paris March 1-9 All others are secondary in the industry and any labels that are power hitters’ travel and show at one of these.

Since 2011, Bloggers have pushed their way into the audience promising Millions of followers (and PR ate this up).  Also “Project Runway” made the Fashion Industry look fun and exciting for all…  This has brought NYC Fashion Week to a crossing point.  Designers need to show their collections for editors and buyers (store owners) to help support sales.  But what happened was that people placed in the front rows where not editors or buyers and did not contribute to the labels’ bottom line.  Actually, many of them helped the FAKE – KNOCK OFF sector by offering pics of garments months before they where in stores.  A factory in China could follow a blogger and see the entire collection of several designers and have it in store at the same time or faster.  So, this last Fashion Week, a few young designers showed immediate collections – offered for sale on their web site once the show ended.  While others offered to Pre-sale items and ship them to customers as they became available.

click on images to enlarge…

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FYI – A runway Photographer takes the pic of the garments in motion, not on a posing model.

OK, so this is NYFW…. But even after Feb 18th, people have been attending and modeling for NYFW shows. Now I have to speak out. Ladies & Gentlemen… Any show in NYC after Feb 18th is not part of fashion week… it is a show in NYC. The whole label “NYFW” is used wrong in so many levels. You are probably wondering why? And How? Well here it is…

Tickets to NYFW are NOT for sale! A new designer may have trouble filling all the seats, but they pull people waiting outside for other shows into their show. BUT, when you take part on NYFW, you are given the complete PR list (about 10,000 people on it) and you are listed on the PR NYFW list as well. I have always over booked shows, as the NYFW PR “MONSTER” really packs them in – from photographers, fashion writers, editors, and even Modeling Agencies call and offer models for shows. PR companies see you listed and will try to get their celebs into your show (PR for all). Hotels for NYFW attendees are booked a year in advance, because hotels are near to full just with fashionistas. The real fashion week brings into NYC almost 1 billion dollars, this ONLY includes the shows (not the clothing ordered, being walked at the shows).

Now all the other fashion week shows… some are good! SBFW – Small Boutique Fashion Week is on the designers’ side. They create a schedule and help place like designers (in market placement) in the same line up (show event). SBFW has to be strict and enforce a quality policy to insure runway worthy garments are presented. An all white space helps each designer present his/her creativity (with their own music and models).

SS 2013 – SBFW Cool N Clean, letting the garments shine.

I am not going to mention any names, but DESIGNERS!!!! If a fashion week wants you to participate, NEVER PAY!!!! A designer already has the expense of researching trends, buying fabrics, linings, buttons, zippers, other sewing notions, designing the collection, making the patterns, cutting – sewing – fitting each style before making them in the actual fabrics. There are also Hangers, labels, rolling racks, a press kit, line sheet with costs & descriptions of each garment. Due to back stage restrictions some shows ask that you use models that they collected – so that a model back stage will walk for more then one designer (less people in the way).

Past Show Invites – to set the mood/theme of the collection being shown.

Models are very important as they give life to your outfit. It’s about the garment, but if you have a new model that has to concentrate on not falling… then your outfit is not going to be shown, as it should. Models should wear anything they are given, and make it look great, but I have seen and heard models complain about the outfit they where assigned. This is completely unacceptable, as the designer has to keep the models’ body type and presents in mind so that the outfit will look it’s best. Many of these shows are tied in with a charity, and expect everyone attending to pay. This should also concern you with pics from the show. You own the garments and have rights to those pics… The models also have rights as his/her likeness is the face of the outfit. BUT – if the photographer is not under a contract to supply you the pics, They ACTUALY OWN the PIC itself – as the artist that took the pic. This is also true with the video, and all the PR info. They show NAME will be upfront and first, listing designers after models and hair & make-up.

And if they are selling tickets, then how will store buyers come and see your collection? Fashion week is for buyers and editors to see what you are offering… so that the buyers can order it and sell it to their clients. And editors can take notes and then pull samples for their editorial photo-shoots and stories. There is a formula to this and people in the industry know it. The public may not understand the catwalk as it’s being presented, but after 6 months… the media machine has written about it and has shot several editorials so that the public will be ready for it. “The Devil Wears Prada” was VERY true to the industry… and very nice about it as well.

Several Fashion Weeks have approached me, and I can just tell what they are about when I get my answer to the question, “What are the Designer Compensations? Do you also include meals with the travel?” OK, I am a designer that will put on a show!!!! But how could someone expect me to take my samples on the road, work like a cheap whole on a busy corner (because I truly believe every one of my shows need to be the very best I can do) and I have to pay my own way??? And not receive a dime? FYI – when I return to NYC, all the samples need to be dry-cleaned… if not fixed, and I have to pay for it as well??? There is also the issue of insurance… What is a sample is ruined/lost/or stolen? I left my space for the show, and the show needs to be responsible for the damages.

In NYFW, just about every show the models are well over 6’ BEFORE they put on any shoe. One show, I had to use a ladder to adjust shoulder pads. I know I am on the short side, 5’7”… but after that I felt like a dwarf. Models arrive from other shows with complete looks, and back stage there is a complete 2 hours to move into the space, get hair & make-up done for all 30-40 models, dress them… then 12-18 minutes for the show. And afterwards, the media and top VIP’s come to talk and interview the designer with 3 key models. As that is happening, everything is accounted for, packed up and hauled out. After 30 minutes of designer interviews, the last models are stripped, the looks are packed up and everything is removed, ready for the next designer to move in and start their craziness.

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OK, can you pick out WHO are not the Models?



Lawrence Pizzi Collection

526 Seventh Ave, 9th Floor New York, NY 10018 1.212.581.8007


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