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Donna Karan has gone on the record against the seasonal fashion show system before, but now that the economy has upset the industry as a whole, people may be more willing to listen, WWD says, so they sat down and asked what she would do to fix the fashion system.
First off, Karan would tone down the fashion shows, which are becoming less about presenting clothes to stores than about marketing to consumers. "What is the point of these large bells and whistles shows for the stores? What do they get out of it if they’ve already bought? ... The show is being used as content material to communicate to the consumer, but why do we need to blast out five months in advance rather than when it goes into the store?"
But as a lure for consumers, the shows' bells and whistles are less effective than they could be, Karan says, because they advertise something that is not yet available, which dampens excitement for the things that they can get their hands on. "What am I seeing at retail, because I've just seen all of this other stuff? People then want to wear that immediately."
Karan particularly objects to resort and pre-fall, which she says are throwing spring out of sync. "There has to be, I hate to say it, somebody’s got to take the leap of faith and deal with the June, July market. Pre-fall shouldn’t exist, I’m sorry," Karan said. Instead of resort, she says, there should be going-away clothes available in stores, "but don’t make the whole store into shorts and sandals when it’s snowing out."
· The Fashion System: Donna Karan [WWD, subscription required]