New York Fashion Week brings with it a lot of buzz: a front row dressed head-to-toe by the designer du jour, Instagram flooded with videos of final walks, editors rushing home post-show to file stories. But for designers still finding their footing in the industry, a show is more than just a spectacle. It can be a make-or-break moment involving a huge investment.
Given said investment, careful planning is key. Lindsey Solomon, the founder of the communications firm Lindsey Media, specializes in working with small, emerging brands in the early stages of their businesses, building up to the point where they want to present at fashion week. In New York, that starts by navigating the already fraught schedule, where shows are spread throughout two, maybe three boroughs and a time slot may have multiple events competing for RSVPs.
“I have to wait for the calendar to come out and position them appropriately at a time that won’t completely screw them over,” he says.
Still, on its own, well-received show is no guarantee of success — just look to the much-beloved presentations of now-defunct brands like Sies Marjan, Zac Posen or Cushniet et Ochs as proof. One could argue that the most crucial moments come after.
Once the slot on the schedule is locked, the seats are filled and a successful show has come and gone, Solomon works with designers to traffic samples and facilitate interviews. “Getting reviewed, that’s what they’re concerned about,” he says.
But while traditional media — a Vogue placement here, an Elle feature there — may help to increase a designer’s visibility, it doesn’t necessarily translate to direct sales. Ultimately, if a brand is unable to pay its own bills, a positive write-up doesn’t matter.
“The challenges emerging designers often face have to do with cash flow, production and logistics,” says Libby Page, Net-a-Porter’s market director. “We aren’t short of creative minds and talent in the industry, but ensuring a stable backend is super important.”