Catwalk to high street stores

Have you ever attended a fashion show? If you haven’t then you should attend one to experience the glitz and glam of a fashion event. At fashion events, people express themselves differently through their style. As a fashion designer, it is primary to attend fashion shows and be a part of fashion shows, it is vital to stay up to date with current trends and what the biggest fashion houses in the world are doing.  I have gotten questions like hey Annie, what are fashion shows all about? Why do models have to dress up and walk down runways by ‘cat walking’? The importance of a runway show cannot be over emphasized, the benefits are numerous. Showcasing at a top-rated fashion show will be of benefit to any brand creating brand awareness and promoting the brand identity. Apart from the benefits which it has on the designers, designs on the runway determine and creates fashion trends which influence our everyday fashion decision. Without high fashion, street fashion would have no direction.

Miranda Priestly, in the award-winning movie, The Devil Wears Prada explained the value of the fashion industry, the importance of fashion designers and the importance of runway shows.

This stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean… in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets?… And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores… However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and its sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

Fashion shows have served as a huge inspiration for clothes in the high street stores. The spectacular clothes featured on the runway often seem impractical and unwearable, but more often than not those trends trickle their way onto the High Street stores.

The “trickle-down” theory, which was devised by Thorstein Veblen (an American economist and sociologist) in 1898 suggests that traditionally, clothes and styles adopted by the richest in society eventually trickle down and influence the rest of the population. Although an individual may not wear the exact look that is seen coming down the runway on a model, there is the place of inspiration. There’s always something reflected in the High Street that comes through inspiration from the runway shows. The transition from catwalk to high street does not always happen within the same season. Some trends take a while to filter through.

Collections that were once viewed by a chosen few now appear online instantaneously meaning the High Street can create copies/duplicates (dupes) quicker than ever.  Today’s consumer, particularly millennials and those of Generation Z – has come to expect instant gratification. As such, six months is too long to wait for a dress that just went down the runway, and several thousand dollars is too much to pay.  

So, after showcasing at a top-rated fashion shows, as a fashion designer, what do you do next? What do you do in order to prevent being copied?

In order to protect your fashion brand, I always say it is necessary to be deliberate, it is primary to have a strategy which you will implement while creating a collection, this strategy will contain the steps which you will take in creating a collection, how to protect it and the legal steps to take immediately after launching the collection, the legal moves to implement in marketing and sales.

There is no doubt that the High Street is influenced by runway fashion, it is forward-thinking in its seasonal approach, but where would the High Street be without premium fashion? It was Diane von Furstenberg that said: “style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” Fashion will thrive from whatever inspires it. As a fashion entrepreneur, it is primary to be deliberate in every activity which leads to the production and sales of any product.

To learn more about how to get your brand from catwalk to the high street stores, Join me at the Fashion Finest Africa Epic show starting on the 24th May, 2019 at Balmoral Conference Centre, Victoria Island , Lagos Nigeria.

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