Fashion Show or Exhibition?

Which one is more important? Joining fashion show or trade exhibition?

I have been hearing this question too often; again and again. To tell you the truth, I prefer to choose the second one.

Indonesian fashion designers tend to have misleading concept about a fashion show. Most of them are thinking that showcasing their collection on the runway is really essential. They are not afraid to spend big budget just to be on the glamorous stage. They will do everything to look awesome on the stage. Well, okay image is important, but business is far more important.

When we decide to do something for our brand, we should think, “What is the benefit of doing this? Will this action raise my income in the future?” Maybe we will be famous and get big impact for our sales, but maybe not. It’s a 50/50 situation.

It depends on how strong your collections are and how ready your business plan is. If your creations are not good, of course it won’t bring any impact. There are designers who have been doing so many fashion shows but they haven’t got proper impact (publication/selling) because medias and buyers are not impressed.

No, fashion is not a game or a tool to be famous. Fashion is business. Wrong step will cause a loss, so every step has to be planned carefully.

I should tell you that I met designers who are really famous on the stage but actually they could not sell their collections well. All the collections are piling up in their workshop.

Creating pieces that you like is easy but creating pieces that the market like is another thing. Think the world as a book, find out what people like and buy. Analyze it and try to put your idealism as sellable pieces. This is a math of fashion.

Think yourself as the honest buyer of your own collection. If your collection is hanging on the shell of a store, will you buy it? Will you wear it? If the answer is yes, find some people (your target market) and ask their honest opinion. Being a designer or creator of a brand is a mixed situation. On one point you should be creative as an artist, on the other point you shouldn’t be offended when people doesn’t like your creation. Try to be objective in giving opinion to yourself. If your creation couldn’t sell and you know it earlier then you can create another one before you decide to produce them.

After you decide what to produce, you can carefully plan how many items (quantity) should you sell to make your promotion spending evenly? Can you produce that number quantity on time? Can you handle the impact after big exposure? Are you ready?

Also choose the perfect fashion event to promote your brand. If you can do fashion show only but cannot have booth to sell your stuff or to meet buyer after show, why bother joining a fashion show?

I can’t deny that the feeling of being highlighted on the runway is good. But can that feeling last long? What will happen after the show over and you find yourself regretting the budget that you spent?

You should know that every action that you do have to be worth it.

Designers/brands have to think 360 degree. Use social media and Internet to publish whatever you do. If you are planning to join a fashion event, make sure the public know. So they can visit your booth or supporting you on stage. Make pre-activities on Social Media to boost the impact of your promotion activity. In other word, the world should know what your brand does!

As an Indonesian living abroad, I do wait for a strong brand from Indonesia that resonates to the global platform. I know that Indonesia have the ability, the sources and amazing creators with unlimited creativity. It is about time to stop thinking about how to be on the glamorous stage and start thinking to build a strong brand and business.

Because… Fashion is business, my friend!

Written by: Franka Soeria