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With this week’s news about the CFDA hiring consulting firm Boston Consulting Group to look at ways to rethink how Fashion Week works, we were curious to find out what designers thought. Rebecca Minkoff announced she would be presenting the very same spring 2016 collection she showed in September in February. And at Wednesday night’s Gjelina dinner party feting the arrival of Baja East to Elyse Walker’s FWRD e-commerce site (which drew Olivia Culpo and Eva Amurri, among top stylists), we got the chance to find out.
When we asked John Targon, Baja East co-founder and designer (along with Scott Studenberg), what he thought of the NYFW announcement, he replied, “I think watch what’s going to happen for Baja East in February, because it will fit right along those lines.” But no, they won’t be showing the same collection again, à la Minkoff. “For Baja East, it’s more about seasonless dressing anyway, and the idea that things can go year-round.”
The biggest focus for them seems to be trying to find a way to deliver at least part of the experience people are having more immediately. “What they’re seeing, they want now,” he says, thanks to the Internet and social media. “Everyone now has eyes of an editor, they’re seeing things way before.” That said, Targon doesn’t think the fashion week and seasons calendar is timed properly. “You don’t want to buy fur in June … nobody does,” he says.
On the other hand, Elyse Walker, who has both an eponymous brick-and-mortar boutique and also FWRD.com, says the way it’s structured is necessary from a buying standpoint. Her only issue is not being able to go to and enjoy all the shows she’d like because of the difficulties of getting from venue to venue, and also the necessity of visiting showrooms simultaneously.
If runway pieces were to become available immediately, Targon says manufacturing would be an issue. For smaller brands that don’t own their own factories (like fast-fashion labels such as Zara and H&M), actually making product takes time. And without advance orders, demand is an unknown — because “we’re not crystal-ball readers” — as is the quantity that should be produced. Another factor: “I think there’s something exciting about waiting for something and it being enticing,” he says. “I do think the idea of being able to be part of one experience and purchase what you see, or versions of, is exciting.”
Yet another consideration: With global warming, seasons might soon become completely irrelevant anyway. For Targon, the real question is, “How do we play in this game of fast fashion? Because in a way, even luxury is fast fashion now. It’s so quick. At the end of the day, if you’re turning out product you love, you can slow down this calendar, you can speed it up — you can do whatever, but deliver what you love.”
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