The Business of Fashion Week

With the official kick off to fashion week tomorrow, our Buying Team has been hard at work preparing. There’s a lot more that goes in to fashion week than the glamorous street style snaps, flowing runway dresses, and front row celebrity sightings. When it comes to Rent the Runway, we have a very unique way of looking at fashion week. So, we sat down with our Head Buyer, Derek to get his inside look at the business behind fashion week.
How do you prepare for fashion week and market appointments?
Lots of rest and organization! Fashion week comes and goes very quickly, so it’s important to have everything in order before hitting the tents.
What data do you have in the back of your head while at shows and market appointments?
Before attending any show and/or market appointment we really analyze our business with each designer. What has worked and what hasn’t? What were our best selling shapes, colors, styles? Also because our business is so different, we look at how the dresses held up in cleaning, was the fabrication durable, did the sequins stay on, did it shrink etc.
Why is fashion week and market appointments so important to RTR vs. other brands?
It allows us to see the upcoming trends and how we can relate them back to dresses so our customers can rent them! Also, we attend Fashion Week before market appointments, this really lets us wrap our heads around what we need to focus on for the upcoming season and what we currently carry on site that fits with those trends.
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How do you “test” dresses during market appointments?
These appointments are very important for us because we need to see and feel the fabrics that we are buying. Over the years we’ve become a master of fabric durability and what will work with our cleaning systems. If we are ever unsure of a fabric, sometimes we are able to obtain a sample from the designer to run through our cleaning processes to see if it will hold up before actually writing an order. Another test at market appointments is taking a photo of the dress. Our customers mostly order their dresses without ever seeing the styles in person, so we need to make sure all the special details will shine through in a photograph.