The F-Word: What’s the Point of Pre-Fall Collections?

Fashion, baby. It’s a world that has been glamorized by Hollywood, magazines and social media, but above all it is a business with conventions and a deep history of tradition. In this series, The F-Word”, Elsewhere Magazine will lay out the facts surrounding the industry, define the terms that are typically thrown around without any context and start a conversation about what specific collections and influencers mean in the industry and to outsiders like us.

Being fashion literate means knowing and understanding the fashion calendar (although some designers have pushed against this convention – that’s a whole other post): Spring/Summer collections are shown in the autumn and Fall/Winter collections are shown in the springtime in order to allow department store buyers to place their orders and receive shipment before the clothing is seasonally relevant.

But wait – there’s more. As fashion has become increasingly commercial, brands have started showcasing even more collections per year, including Resort and Pre-Fall.

Pre-Fall collections are shown in January before the brand’s Fall/Winter collection (obviously) debuts at Fashion Week. These collections are not usually showcased in the typical glamorous, over-the-top runway shows of the main Fashion Weeks, but are shown to a more intimate group of editors and buyers in a less formal setting. The collection does not usually draw inspiration from the main collection, as it will debut in stores during the summer.

But….what actually is the point of a Pre-Fall collection? Why not just stick with two collections per year, since that would make the designer’s job much easier and allow their creative minds to focus on creating the most beautiful/interesting collections instead of pumping out as many products as possible?

To put it simply: the reason we have Pre-Fall collections is because of consumers. When the fashion industry was first finding its feet, it instilled two Fashion Weeks to coincide with when wealthy women were buying their wardrobes. Imagine that – women used to buy an entirely new wardrobe twice a year! In 2017, this is all but an imaginary concept. We want to buy something new whenever we head to the mall (or department store – you choose) and we want to see new options constantly. Raise your hand if you’ve ever checked the “New Releases” page on your favorite e-commerce site multiple times in one week. You know you have.

With this behavior in mind, the fashion industry quickly realized that they weren’t fulfilling what the consumer wanted by only providing two collections per year. Enter: Pre-Fall. This collection was added into the mix to fill in the gap during the summer months where high fashion looks were scarce. Now, the It-Girls of the world could get their hands on brand new Givenchy in the middle of July instead of waiting until the Fall/Winter collection dropped into stores.

Do you think that adding Pre-Fall collections to a fashion brand’s repertoire was a necessary step? Was adding Pre-Fall a step toward further commercialization? Will more collections be added to the calendar in the future? We’ll just have to wait and see…

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