To the masses, Fashion Weeks are all about stunning couture, divine models, and mermerising stage set up. To the designers however, Fashion Week is serious business, one that could make or break their career. During Fashion Week, the most important group of people they need to impress, are the Fashion Buyers.
So who are these Fashion Buyers and what exactly do they do?
Fashion Buyers observe and predict new trends in the fashion industry. They will travel the world to visit trade fairs and fashion shows to make buying decisions on behalf of their brands.
Fashion Buyers will need to buy collections which are not only trendy, but appealing to their consumers – and at the same time, try to stay ahead of the trend.
Designers will need to impress Fashion Buyers during their shows at Fashion Weeks to secure sales for their collection.
“I look at a designer’s enthusiasm to forge a working relationship. I like designers who are humble and willing to listen to advice to work towards understanding our target customers.” – Raschelle Lang
To help designers prepare for the upcoming Malaysia Fashion Week 2016, we’ve gotten in touch with Raschelle Lang, a Ladies Wear Buyer for Young Adults from Isetan (Singapore) to learn what she’s looking for in a designer and his/her collection which will affect her buying decisions.
Q: What is your role as a buyer in Isetan.
I work with many different local and overseas suppliers. Every half a year, I would discuss about the upcoming key trends and fashion direction with my designers/consignment suppliers, in order for them to prepare the merchandise in advance for the next season. I also travel to Japan to attend trade exhibitions, exchange global information and purchase stocks for my stores. Other than that, I also plan for upcoming promotions and events pertaining to my department on a monthly basis as well as external events.
Q: What are the key things designers should pay attention to in order to meet buyers’ expectation? During a fashion show, how do you decide if a collection or a designer is worth pursuing?
Designers should know that buyers are very aggressive about sales figures. Working for departmental stores, ready-to- wear collection is very important for me to push to my customers. The designs must be realistic, in-trend and suitable for the locals. On top of that, I’ll get a few pieces of avant-garde designs to entice customers who are just passing by to take a second look.
Q: Besides the designs, what other traits do you look for in a designer before deciding if you would like to work with them?
“I look at a designer’s enthusiasm to forge a working relationship. I like designers who are humble and willing to listen to advice to work towards understanding our target customers.” I’ve met a lot of local independent designers and when they are keen, I’ve shown them around the different stores and inform them about our customers’ behaviors so they can get something suitable for me. It is also important for them to spend some time to educate me on their product information, coordination, and display setup.
Q: Any tips to our designers on how to make a lasting impression during a buyer’s meeting?
The most important factor we look at would be your collections. But of course, if you are good at interpersonal relationships and able to make good conversations, it’ll create a good lasting impression.
For designers who are up for the challenge to showcase their collection to international buyers, register now for the upcoming Malaysia International Fashion Week this 2 – 5 November at Public Visitors.
Malaysia Fashion Week also has an exclusive signature one-on- one business matching meetings between designers and international buyers called International Sourcing Programme which gives designers a chance to connect and impress international buyers on a more personal basis. You don’t want to miss this opportunity!
For the public who wants a taste of an international fashion week up close, register now for entry at Public Visitors.