Fashion Week 101 – An Introduction

You recognise the words, muttered by strangers at clothing stores, scrolling past them on your social media newsfeed, or even on looming and impressive billboards around the city.  But what exactly is this mysterious ‘Fashion Week’, and why should you care?  If you are not familiar, this short introduction will give you the knowledge to enjoy the conversations going around this important event.

What is Fashion Week?

Fashion Week is a presentation of designers’ upcoming collections in the form of a series of runway shows.  You can expect the biggest names such as Yves Saint Laurent, Balmain, Versace, as well as lesser known ones to take part.

When and where does Fashion Week take place?

What confuses many is the exact location and time this event takes place.  Fashion Week isn’t one or two events that takes place each year; there are actually hundreds of Fashion Week events that happen all over the world at different times of the year.  The most prominent are Milan, Paris, New York, and London, known as the fashion capitals of the world.  There are two major seasons per year – Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer. For womenswear, the Autumn/Winter shows always start in New York in February and end in Paris in March. Spring/Summer shows start in New York in September and end in Paris in October. Menswear Autumn/Winter shows start in January in London and Milan for typically less than a week followed by another short week in Paris. Menswear Spring/Summer shows occur in June. Womenswear haute couture shows happen in Paris following the Menswear Paris shows. Due to Chambre Syndicale rules, haute couture can only be shown in Paris.

Why follow Fashion Week?

What is shown in Milan, Paris, New York, or London indicates what will be in season.  Store buyers and fashion editors will attend to gain knowledge about the upcoming fashion looks.  If you want to stay ahead of the curve, it really helps to pay attention to Fashion Week.