Fashion Seasons: When Do You Start Designing for Each?

MakersValley Blog | Fashion Seasons: When Do You Start Designing for Each?
Anna Spaugh

Anna Spaugh

The leaves have changed, the air is getting colder, the commercials are singing holiday cheer – Winter 2020 is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to start evaluating manufacturers to make your 2020 Winter collection designs. Right? Actually, this isn’t the time to try out manufacturers for this year’s Winter designs. Instead, it makes more sense to work on getting samples for next year’s Winter 2021 collection.

Fashion’s Season vs. Seasonal Clothing

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Fashion Seasons

We have four seasons in our calendar year. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Typically in the fashion world, these are combined into two seasons as Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Spring/Summer begins in January and ends in June. Fall/Winter picks up in July and runs through December.

Seasonal clothing doesn’t fall exactly into a fashion’s calendar pattern. You might walk into a store during the Summer and notice that the stores are already set up with pumpkins, scarves, and sweaters. As a fashion designer, when it’s mid season of Spring/Summer you should be finalizing and close to receiving your Fall/Winter collection.

To make sure you have available what consumers are looking for, you will need to plan your designs ahead.

Plan for the Next Fashion Season

Fashion Planner. Calendar.

It may seem odd to be planning clothing designs nearly a year in advance, but this is necessary to keep on track. The main reason why you need to plan your clothing designs at least a season early is that it will take time to manufacture. You need time to design, create your tech pack, send it to your manufacturer, receive your sample, make adjustments as needed, and possibly create a second sample, before you finalize your product design so that production can begin. The whole process from start to finish can take at least six months. If you’re submitting your Spring designs in January, you have already lost your window to sell that collection which leaves you with overstocked products that won’t move. This is a big cost for you as it will be hard to break even at this point.

To avoid huge costs and unsold products, you need to set up a design production timeline.

Your fashion design timeline can look a little like this:

Spring/Summer   Fall/Winter
June/July   December/January
Design Phase   Design Phase
Research and sketch designs   Research and sketch designs
     
August   February
Create Tech Pack   Create Tech Pack
Send as early as possible   Send as early as possible
     
September   March
Sample received   Sample received
Test fit   Test fit
Make any changes   Make any changes
Update manufactures with adjustments   Update manufactures with adjustments
     
October   April
Place Order   Place Order
This can take 1-3 months   This can take 1-3 months
     
November   May
Shipment   Shipment
Organize inventory   Organize inventory
     
December/January   June/July
Prepare for Launch   Prepare for Launch
Take photos   Take photos
Prepare shop/website for selling   Prepare shop/website for selling
     

This is a very simple timeline to give you some guidance. Keep in mind that depending on how complex your design is and the quantity you’ve ordered, your design can take more than a month to produce. The earlier you can start working on your designs the better. You want to be prepared for any hiccups along the way so that you get your designs in time for the season.

Remember when one season ends, you should be working on that season’s next year collection.

Make sure to also communicate well with your manufacturer. If you’re not clear with dates and/or any adjustments you want made, this can result in delays, leaving you with late or no merchandise at all to sell.

Where Are You Selling Your Fashion Label?

Globe. Fashion Location.

While there are four different seasons, it’s important to note that not everyone experiences the same four seasons. Some get snowed in, while others never get snow and it feels like Spring. If it’s Winter and cold in the U.S.A., it’s actually Summer south of the equator.

How are you supposed to design when there are so many differences in the seasons? First ask yourself, where you are located? Are you designing your clothing line based off of your area? If you are, and you like what you are doing then stick with it and follow that pattern of seasons. If you’re not designing clothes for customers in your geographic area, then where do your designs fit into a prospective buyer’s seasonal rotation? Once you know what pattern of season you’re following, you can adjust your timeline accordingly.

When Design Creativity is Flowing

Fashion Design

Alright, you know to plan your fashion designs ahead for the next season, but you are feeling very inspired to design for a different season. Don’t stop yourself from creating what inspires you. Design your inspirations, but plan to have them produced and ready for production at the right time of the year.

For more information on planning for the next season, check out 9 Steps to Plan Your Next Season of Fashion Design Sales

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