Ask Chris Benz: Can You Explain the Crazy Fashion Calendar?

Dear Chris, Every time I go to Style.com it feels like there's another fashion season taking place. Pre-fall, resort, pre-spring...how do you keep up? And why are the seasons broken up like that? --Avid Reader3
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Dear Chris, Every time I go to Style.com it feels like there's another fashion season taking place. Pre-fall, resort, pre-spring...how do you keep up? And why are the seasons broken up like that? --Avid Reader3
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Dear Chris,

Every time I go to Style.com it feels like there's another fashion season taking place. Pre-fall, resort, pre-spring...how do you keep up? And why are the seasons broken up like that?

--Avid Reader

Dear Avid Reader,

The fashion calendar is definitely confusing. Not only do the seasons move faster and faster, but at any one time, everyone is working on three or four overlapping seasons. For example, right now at the CB studio we are entrenched in Fall 2011 production fittings, just finished Spring 2011 and shipped to stores, and are developing Resort 2012.

We produce three collections each year, however bigger companies produce many more than that. In fact, some contemporary companies deliver more than 16 new collections per year! In fashion, its always about providing newness and excitement for the customer, and particularly in economically trying periods, a good dose of freshness on the retail floor is even more necessary! Just when you thought orange was the color au courant, acid green lands on every retail floor. Voila!

Pre-collections were developed as a tool for more commercial pieces to be on the selling floor preceding the delivery of the runway collections, thereby supporting and filling out the merchandising mix on the racks. It’s not hard to imagine how more and more "runway" style pieces snuck their way into the pre-collections, causing them to appear as directional collections unto themselves! Additionally, the pre-collections have the longest life retail-wise, nearly an entire month longer on the floor than the main collections prior to markdown.

It's a mad, mad world, but once you wrap your head around the scheme it all seems to flow together nicely! xx CB

Got a question for Chris? Email him on askchrisbenz@fashionista.com.