Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Business of Fashion


It is nearly March. And the March magazines are out. That is significant for the fashion industry. The March and September issues are the biggest magazine issues for fashion magazines. (September is bigger than March, but only by a little) Within the magazines you will find all the the fashions and trends for the coming season. Take into consideration that there are 2 major fashion weeks (in the USA); mid February and mid September. Each week showcases the next season and no the current. That means that in September, designers roll out their Spring collections for the next year and in February the roll out the fall collections for the same year. This is all business organized. There is nothing ragtag or flighty about the fashion industry and how it does what it does.

I ALWAYS buy Vogue (fashion Bible) in September and March. ALWAYS. A few years ago I was shopping with a friend and saw the September Vogue on sale. I got excited... very EXCITED... over having the mag in my hands. It's a thrill I get twice every year. To me, it's the only 2 editions worth buying. I may subscribe, I may not. I know it's cheaper but.... I probably subscribe to vogue every other year. Anywho.... The friend I was with at the time balked at my buying said magazine and made fun of my excitement. I instantly transformed to Optimus mean girl... I was gonna rip her a new one... but before I launched my counter attack, I asked her why was she bothered. I was buying the magazine with my own money and my fashion obsession had nothing to do with her. She said, “it made no sense to buy a magazine and then change my whole wardrobe to be in fashion.” that's when I realized, she wasn't being insulting, she was just ignorant. I don't buy those magazines to be expensively fashionable. I buy them so that I won't be unfashionable. Which is important to me. So began her education....

There are trends every season. You can choose to follow them close or not. But you will follow them. They are unavoidable. Trends govern what you can or cannot purchase. Every year a color emerges and that particular color will be what is available in stores, in fabric shops, etc. What that means is you won't be able to purchase another color that is not in fashion. Say red becomes all the rage. There is a 3 year turnaround for the color. Year 1: it will be only worn by the affluent because it will be too runway. Year 2: all the companies will bootleg it and it will be available everywhere. Year 3: it will be passe. Everyone will have it and be getting tired of it. This cycle goes on every year. It is always year 1:for some color, print, combination, technique, etc... and how would you know if you don't work for the fashion industry? September/March fashion magazines. Lay people who aren't paying attention, wouldn't catch on until year 2. Well I'm a year 1 kind of girl.

Fashion is just not about the garments. These shows govern trends in makeup, hair, shoes, everything with regard to image. There is a reason that you can look at an individual and declare them dated. Like the dark lip of the 90's with the Janet Jackson Poetic Justice braids. I wore the hell out of that look back then and was completely dope. But if I wore it now it would look like a costume.

Some trends, once in will always stay in. Fashion works differently for Black people. Black people tend not to be as affluent as their white counterparts. So our trends tend to come out of re-purposing clothes that we already have. And if we spring on a trend we will rock it until the wheels fall off. Example: Timberlands. Them jokers are just too expensive for them to go out of style in 3 years. We buy them... We wear them... to death. Tims are like tattoos. Damn near permanent.

I'm not rich enough nor do I have the lifestyle that requires me to purchase looks off the runway. But as a Seamstress (14:14) I don't have to wait on year 2 to get my fashion fix. ALSO... I'm grown. And my wardrobe is grown too. That means I have enough clothes from year's past, that when new trends pop up, I already have something in my wardrobe. Fashion repeats itself. A few trends for Spring 2015 that I already have is a tan suede coat appropriate for spring, a striped separates and denim dresses. I have enough purses in the closet that I can match any trend that comes up. And should I need to purchase some things, it won't be an entire wardrobe. I'm already stacked. I can be year 1 on trend without buying a thing or firing up my sewing machine.

But Serenity, that was years ago! What got you all riled up today?

Good question. 2 reasons... (1) Folks still don't know how to mind their own business. I posted over at Facebook, that folks get mad when you know something they don't and it's true. Every season, I get someone who balks at ME for purchasing my OWN fashion magazines. Seriously. There are no words for that level of in my business-mess. Ever since I explained to the 1st chick how the industry and my closet works, I lead with education before profanity. It's a struggle. People get mad when they find themselves ignorant in a common situation. Everybody wears clothes, but few understand the what and how. But everybody can't know everything. And (2) I like to look good. It's important to me to never look sloppy or busted. My Daddy taught me that. I learned to sew because I didn't like how storebought clothes fit my body. It was cheaper to either make my own or do my own alterations than to pay someone else to do it for me. And in the science of garment construction I found a, useful hobby that has kept me intrigued for the last 30 years.

I've acquired the Knowledge... I've put in the work... And I have Understanding of how it all plays together.



Andrea said...

The devil wears prada the movie taught me so much about this very topic. I turned one day and realized my entire look, to my dismay, was so outdated. I now understand the reasons I should sew, especially since I find it difficult to shop. Magazines and Pinterest are very helpful now, where before I was you friend.