You know you have a good idea when you start telling people about it and they nod their heads giving you the sense they've had the same idea. Admittedly, I've had my fair share of bad ideas over the years, but 2013 has found me trying to trust my instinct more, and as a result of this I've decided to make a major change to the business model I have been using for Study. I have been turning this thought over in my mind for the better part of 3 years, and after showing Spring 2013 in September of 2012, the persistent nagging in the back of my mind finally persuaded me to make the change.
Study started, as most fashion brands do, by joining the traditional fashion calendar. Designing one year or more in advance, showing the collection to buyers 6 months before the season, shipping Spring styles when it was still snowing outside, and Fall styles when everyone just wanted popsicles and sprinklers. The calendar never made sense to me, and while I continually questioned it, I never thought I could challenge it. Until now...
The new plan is to release one capsule collection of 3-4 styles per month EVERY month of the year with each capsule being independent of the others, but cohesive in nature, creating a seamless “collection” at the end of the year. This allows me more freedom with the design and development of the pieces, and allows the individual pieces to stand alone rather than be tethered to a collection. And it will allow me to expand my production outlets. Each capsule will focus on varying tenets of sustainability, manufacturing, craft, thematic and whimsy, for example:
o Rainwear made using textiles from recycled plastic bottles, produced in New York City
o Hand knit sweaters produced by a womens co-operative in Peru for the month of October
o Zero-waste styles using custom woven or printed fabrics
Design, development, sales and production will take place over the course of a 2-3 month period (depending on specifics of each capsule). We will continue selling wholesale to boutiques and direct to customer via online outlets, but will also introduce a pre-order model so consumers can become part of the production process.
• to create a complete wardrobe at the end of the calendar year void of frivolity or excess, while still producing new clothing (a slight oxymoron)
• to work closer to shipping dates in order to respond to market demands, store needs and my own personal instincts
• to generate more regular cash flow for both myself and the retailers
• to offer fresh styles during months when the stores are no longer receiving collections
• to provide work for sample rooms, factories and vendors during the “off-season” calendar when they are less busy
• to increase flexibility in my own design schedule
Ironically this new model follows the same calendar used by fast fashion megabrands such as H&M, Zara, TopShop, etc... companies I deem responsible for the demise of consumer recognition of quality and longevity in clothing. By following their models and only producing what I believe to be necessary each month, the goal is to re-educate the consumer about consumption – a strange approach by a designer and business owner who depends on the purchasing power of customers.