New store owners, designers and international brands trying to enter the US fashion market, you need to know the calendar of seasonal selling, delivery and shipping dates to retail stores. Presented, is a traditional calendar guideline used by the fashion industry for decades.
The buying calendar combines season buy dates with shipping dates. There are months of lead-time between presenting your collection to buyers and when it is delivered to stores.
Be aware: there are changes in progress...
March 2016: The Council of Fashion Designers of America, CFDA, released it’s study undertaken with the Boston Consultancy Group, Examining the Future of New York Fashion Week. The topics: delivery cycles, buy now wear now merchandise, and in-season relevancy. The study’s unanimous consensus: the time is ripe for change in our market. CFDA will facilitate the dialogue between brands and retailers to gradually adjust deliveries to the season over the upcoming year.
This conversation is not new. Fashion industry executives have been griping about the consumer’s need for in-season merchandise for decades. It’s the “internet of things” that has brought the reality of delivery cycles to a boil.
Brands have to do what is right for them. If you don’t have a substantial direct-to-consumer base, your retailers are in the driver’s seat. It’s time to initiate conversation with your sales reps and buyers.
Ask: what season they want delivered when.
In the apparel business timing of product development, production, marketing, and presentation is critical. Manufacturers of seasonal, fashion products may have six selling seasons per year and offer five lines for each season, while manufacturers of basic, staple products have only one or two seasons a year. (Fast Fashion is another story all together.) Your seasons may vary slightly and will coincide with your Sales Representatives selling seasons. In recent years there is a tendency for some retailers to have new items sell on a continuing basis rather than for specific selling seasons. In the women’s apparel industry, four to six collections a year are typical.
Fashion Week in New York takes place in September as does New York Market week. West Coast Market follows as do other regional shows in the US, which are still running well into late October.
Spring II / Summer
Fall I / Transition
Fashion Week in New York takes place in February. West Coast Market follows as do other regional shows in the US, which are still running well into late March - mid April.
Resort / Cruise
In the past, Menswear manufacturers presented two collections of classic clothing each year changing fabrics for seasons. Today on the strength of the menswear market many brands now produce highly styled clothing with seasons, lines and style now paralleling those of women’s wear products.
The two key menswear market’s are January - February for Fall buying, and July - August for Spring/Summer merchandise.
Spring II / Summer
Fall I / Transition
Fall / Holiday Preview
January market is a topic of debate in the accessories industry. Many believe this market should be eliminated as it has diminished in importance over the years. Retail buyers that skip the January market buy Spring and Summer merchandise in November.
A line sheet is a sales tool created to communicate necessary information about your product to a potential buyer. Line sheets are an integral tool for any designer or brand looking to wholesale their collection. A disorganized or confusing line sheet could cost you a sale. Unlike your lookbook, your line sheet should provide an easy, to-the-point reference for a buyer looking to place an order.
Creating a line sheet from scratch can be pretty painful so we are happy to share two free templates with our Swim Week Calendar members (one vertical and one horizontal, depending on your pictures dimensions) to help with this process.
Helpful Hints for when you're creating your line sheets. There is no one right way to create a line sheet, but there are some key elements that every designer or brand should include:
1. Product Images - The easiest way for buyers to remember your styles is through clean, straightforward photographed product shots. If a photoshoot is not an option then use simple black and white Illustrator sketches.
2. Style Numbers + Descriptions - Assigning a style number to each design is essential for everyone involved in your supply chain. You will need a unique identifying number to ID each piece. Keep style numbers simple and use a maximum of 5 digits per style. To organize your numbering system, try coding by categories (gender, target customer, or apparel ranges).
The description should be brief and reference the key elements of your design. Avoid using creative names and instead use short and to-the-point names like, the ‘Multi Colored Mini Short w/ Welt Pockets.’
3. Purchasing Options - Be clear about size ranges of each style. Common examples of sizing options include XS-XL or 0-12. If an item is available in different colors, photos are the best way to showcase the available options or color blocks as an alternative.
4. Price - You can list both the wholesale price as well as the MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price.) You can list by a simple $50/$100 listing or you can also spell it out and say: Wholesale: $50 and Suggested Retail: $100. Make sure your fabric and trim prices, yields, cut and sew and shipping estimates are confirmed and updated in your cost sheets. Once you list the price, you need to be confident that you’re going to make a profit selling at that price point!
5. General Information - Don't forget to include your contact details, your name, brand name and/or logo and delivery dates. You might find it helpful to input all the information in your template and then update it with the correct delivery date and products season after season. This way all of the pertinent information remains on every page and won’t be overlooked.
6. Order Minimum - This can be in dollar amount or number of items per style.
7. Accepting Payment - Do you accept credit cards? (you should, get Square!) Paypal? Checks? Payment in full up front or 50% up front, 50% after delivery?
8. Lead times - How quickly can you fill and ship the order?
9. Order cut off dates - Based on your production schedule, be sure to note the last date on which a buyer can place an order.
10. Shipping policy - Is the buyer responsible for shipping cost or will you cover it?
11. Return Policy - Do you accept returns for reasons other than damage? If so, how much time does the buyer have after receipt of goods?
12. Expiration - Make sure to note an end date to the validity of all the information.