Fashion Week and designers influence the average buyer

Hallie O'Rourke, Editor in Chief

Gucci. Chanel. Michael Kors. All of these brands have become household names across the country and the world. High fashion brands have an ever increasing influence over fashion trends and the buying habits of the average shopper.

A great deal of this influence comes from Fashion Week, which happens twice a year in fashion capitals such as New York, Milan, London and Paris. During the fall Fashion Week runway shows, over 80 designers debut their clothing lines for the Spring 2017 season.

Because of the spread of social media, it is much easier for the masses to stay up-to-date on Fashion Week happenings.

“[I keep up with Fashion Week] on Instagram and see it all over the Snapchat stories,” senior Madison Park said. “I’ll watch the different snaps from the different shows and see all of the clothes and celebrities that attend shows. It’s pretty interesting to me.”

The coverage of Fashion Week in the media allows people to remain updated about specific designers, models and trends.

“I heard a lot about Gigi Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger [during Fashion Week],” senior Anna Nguyen said.

Although Fashion Week is so predominant in headlines, the clothing itself that is shown in the runway shows often sells for very high prices. This affects the ways in which the average buyer interacts with Fashion Week and high-end designers and brands.

“Mainly, what you’re going to see on the runways is high fashion, which [is] really [brands and designers] just trying to sell their name and establish their brand,” fashion marketing teacher Karyn Jones said. “Knowing that, only about one percent of the population can really afford what you’re going to be seeing on the runways.”

Despite the fact that the majority of the population cannot purchase clothing directly off of the runway, many trends and styles debuted during Fashion Week appear later on in the season in malls and other popular shopping areas.

“The average person in the United States is going to wear what we call ‘mass fashion,’ so you’re going to see some of the designs from the runway trickle down into mass fashion, which the majority of Americans are able to afford,” Jones said. “They can mass produce that, mass sell it and get it to the stores a lot quicker.”

On the other hand, some argue that mass fashion, or street style, is what is influencing some popular designers.

“I think designers pay attention to what people who are attending their shows wear and [what] people on the street are wearing,” Park said. “I think that the designers are really influenced by that. More and more now you can notice [styles] are more toned down and street style, with hoodies, sweatshirts, things like that.”

With high fashion present in the lives of many people, it is especially easy for celebrities such as Kanye West, Victoria Beckham, Beyoncé and Rihanna to launch their own lines of clothing or fashion. In addition to being a popular artist, Kanye West is known for his Yeezy clothing collection. He recently debuted Yeezy Season Four around the time of New York Fashion Week.

“[Kanye’s fame has] definitely helped him with his fashion. Otherwise, I don’t think people would notice or understand the simplicity in his line as much as his fans probably do,” Park said. “They already like him, so they want to like his clothes too. A majority of the clothes are super expensive.”

Many people cannot afford couture or high fashion, yet are still highly influenced by it. Even for those who do not pay attention to the happenings of Fashion Week, the effect of this event is evident in the clothing that is released each season, both in high fashion and on the streets.