Alessandro Maria Ferreri, chief executive officer and owner of The Style Gate consulting firm, was of the same mind. “Seasons don’t correspond to the use of the customer nor to the climate. The existing business models date back to the Fifties, when U.S. department stores needed new collections after Thanksgiving and Black Friday and then in the Eighties, catering to the likes of Isetan or Takashimaya in Japan, buyers wanted new clothes after Golden Week and the cherry blossom.”
Now, companies have been looking at other markets, such as China; the power of some of the biggest American department stores has waned while that of the online channel has been growing, and brands increasingly operate their own stores worldwide, so that customers can buy whatever and whenever they want. The system before “was toxic,” said Ferreri, “so we can take advantage of this moment to change it and be in sync with the seasons,” foregoing discounts, “which ruin the collections.”
“In an ideal world,” he said, “a brand should be able to split the calendar and deliver collections every two or three months, we could name them one, two, three and so on,” he said with a chuckle, downplaying the importance of naming them. “This way, they would never be old and they would never be discounted. Clearly they would need to be sold six months ahead so that producers have time to manufacture them and buyers can allocate their budgets.”
Ferreri observed that designers are fighting their battles, also depending on the size of their business, but they share the need to be creative. Michele can call the collections whatever he wishes, but the commercial side will continue as it is, contended Ferreri. But the designer needs to have the time to be creative, just as a writer wants to take the time to write his book. “Just as a Picasso painting is not thrown away because it’s old, why should a fashion design be discarded after one or two seasons? The product is an expression of the creative soul, just as it is for an artist.”