catwalk calamities

You look at pictures of the latest creations on the runway and think "But no one would ever wear that!"  You are exactly right.  In fact, when it comes to the designs that that models strut out in during fashion shows, wearability is a secondary concern.  The purpose of a show is to make a splash.  The splash creates the hype. The hype drives fashion editors and retail buyers into the showroom. Once lured, the majority of clothing on the racks for them to select from was never even shown on the runway. It makes sense if you think about it.  There is nothing particularly newsworthy about a black skirt.  The beautiful hand of the fabric and innovative tailoring would be obscured by the spectacle of the show itself.  Yet, up close, buyers and editors can see how stunning the garment is along with the knowledge that thousands of black skirts will be sold for every "slit up to there, cut down to there" outrageous creation they saw on the runway. As prices fall as fashion filters down to the manufactures geared toward high volume production, the financial stakes rise. While being removed from the world of  "haute" fashion by their prices and target markets, they build off the hype created by the designers. Their goal is to bring wearable and affordable versions of the season's latest looks and to be the ones putting it out there first. It is one of the great ironies of the fashion industry that it uses clothes no one really wears to sell the items that everyone really wants.

seasonally challenged

It is only June yet the stores are filled with racks of sweaters and in December, bathing suits that are hanging under Christmas decorations.  Do people in the fashion industry use some calendar diametrically opposed to the one the rest of world uses?  Well, in a way, they do. By the time we have sung "Auld Lane Syne," stores are filled with leftover merchandise they had hoped would have been snapped up by holiday shoppers.  Sales are mounted to rid the surplus and make room for new shipments.  They know new seasonally appropriate items will never sell when most of the store is filled with similar garments up to 70% off. To have a chance to reap a full markup, they bring fresh new merchandise very different from what they already have.  In this case, it is spring clothing.

For most of us, who do not have the chance to take a month's sojourn to someplace where we could actually wear such clothing, it sits on the racks, untouched until the weather starts to change.  By then, however, the cycle has
already started again and the clothing is marked down to make way for later shipments of increasingly summery merchandise.  So now it is June and both the public and the weather is ready for those spring clothes that were first brought into the store five months earlier…but where are they?  Yes, you guessed it.  The store needed to bring in something different to be able to get that full mark-up so the current fashions are gone and winter clothing fills the racks!  So where did all that summer merchandise go?  Don't worry, you can see them again next fall at the Summer Sale at T.J. Maxx!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
I would love to hear from you!
 
harlan@todoahora.com

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