The leaves changing and air temperature shifting ushers in new buying seasons for the luxury market's fashion customers. While the forecast or a seasonal vacation or event may determine how these shoppers plan their next clothing purchases, the fashion designers who create these products must think about each new season for well over a year by the time each new chapter of the calendar begins.
As a designer, the time to start planning your Winter, Summer, or Autumn designs arrives far in advance of those new seasons. Instead, it makes more sense to work on getting samples for next your collections a full year in advance.
Fashion Season vs. Seasonal Clothing
The calendar year has four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Typically in the fashion world, these combine into two seasons: 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
It may seem odd to plan 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 they will take time to manufacture. You need time to design, create your tech packs, send them to your manufacturer, receive your samples, make adjustments as needed, and possibly create a second series of samples, 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 timelines can look a little like this:
Spring/Summer Fashion Product Planning Timeline –
Fall/Winter Fashion Product Planning Timeline –
Remember when one season ends, you should be working on that season’s next year collection already.
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 costly delays, leaving you with late or no merchandise at all to sell.
Where Are You Selling Your Fashion Label?
While there are four different seasons, it’s important to note that not everyone experiences the same four seasons the same way or at the same time. 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 Your Fashion Design Creativity is Flowing
Now you know to plan your fashion designs ahead for the next season, but if you are feeling 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