The world of fashion, with all the artistic movements and personal expression it involves, may seem chaotic or out of control at times. But that, in fact, couldn’t be further from the truth. The fashion industry is structured around two fundamental pillars: spring/summer season, and fall/winter season presentation. As such, fashion communications likewise revolve around these two pillars. The former occurs in April and May, while the latter takes place in September. It’s in these moments that fashion makes the jump from the catwalk to the shops; this is the moment men and women across the world replenish their wardrobe with the latest trends.
Fashion magazines, therefore, also revolve around these two times of the year. And who determines trends? Without a doubt, the catwalks do. Spring/summer Fashion Weeks take place in September, and fall/winter Fashion Weeks in December. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? No, since the biggest global designers plan their collections a year ahead of time. What we saw last February on the catwalk is what we’ll be wearing in December. This is the key to fashion communications. Magazines are already planning their September edition –where we’ll find winter trends we saw on the catwalk in February – in July and August. Those lower-end designers that base themselves off these trends will then release their new collections in March and April.
With this in mind and knowing the editorial schedule of fashion magazines, what should be the agency’s approach? What is the right time to communicate regarding fashion? How do we deal with such faraway dates?
The keys are planning and analysis.
Analysing catwalk trends is fundamental to know what contents will be interesting for fashion magazines year round. Because, although there are only two key moments, these two moments feed six months’ worth of pages. As such, it’s vital to have ample knowledge of current trends. We can’t send a press release today on leopard skin if this winter’s trend will be pure white. The expert fashion communicator will know ahead of time what will be of interest for fashion magazines several months ahead of time.
Likewise, it is vital to plan with more than ample margin. Using the same example, even if we do know that this winter’s fashion will be pure white, if we do not communicate this at the right moment, we will never appear in the September fashion pages, our key month for fall/winter trends. Now, if winter fashion is published in September, but the actual clothes are released in February…when do we send our press release? We can’t send it in February, or April or much less wait until September. The most important fashion magazines, most of them monthlies, plan two months ahead of time. Therefore, the best date to send our press release on winter trends will be in June or July.
With all this in mind, we need to be aware of the agendas of both the media and the catwalks, and based on this we will develop a plan of press releases for each semester based on current trends. It will be important to plan ahead of time when to send each release.
Only if we are fully aware of the timings of the fashion industry will we be able to implement good fashion communications that is, above all, tailored to the collections of the two main seasons.