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Fashion's Voice of Reason: Donna Karan Talks Timeframes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    According to Donna Karan, it's simple.  The designer has long advocated an overhaul of the retail shipping schedule (in a nutshell, she's for "buy-now-wear-now"), and now that the recession has turned consumption awry, it's finally starting to gain steam. 

    Karan's proposed model of revamping the fashion calendar and modify retail seasons to reflect the weather at hand is at once simple common sense and a major change for the industry.  Currently, the year is set up so that collections are presented five months in advance and stores begin to carry clothing for new seasons well before the weather is even close to changing  Additionally, there are faux-seasons like resort and pre-fall to fill the shoulder seasons on store floors.  One would think such gimmicks are established to make money for the sellers, but really, buying patterns are actually showing, according to Karan, so the set-up isn't necessarily successful on either end.

    Basically, Karan believes that all sides would benefit from simply eliminating pre-fall and establishing resort as a supplementary evergreen collection alongside the chronological collections just before they happen. So, fall lines would show up in stores in, then gon on sale after Christmas. Once that's done, the new spring collections move into stores in February or March. Finally, instead of pre-fall, you get summer stuff May-July. 

    Are you following? When laid out like that, it seems like a no-brainer.  As this real-world schedule would force a change to the fashion week calendar as well, Karan goes further out on a limb when she professes that shows should be majorly toned down.  Consumer shows should become more of an event, using the Internet as a major player, and long-leads and buyers should attend quiet viewings of forthcoming seasons in the appropriate advance.  May be harder to convince the industry after such stunts like Chanel's ice capades in Paris have become de rigeur. Or maybe not.

    We're definitely with Donna Karan on this, but we'll see how amenable the fashion worold will be to practical change - it's not exactly the calling card of the biz. If it were, we'd all be shopping in season and attending small-scale shows (in flats!) already.