For everything there is a season -- this applies to fashion just as much as anything else in life. Fashion divides itself into seasons which sometimes may be tough to keep up with. If you'd like a little more insight into when fashion seasons start, getting the hang of it shouldn't take too long.
Fashion is split into four seasons. These seasons are Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter, Resort and Pre-Fall. The two major seasons, however, are Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Spring/Summer starts in January and runs until around June, and Fall/Winter goes from July to December. Resort collections overlap the first two seasons and are offered around late October through December. Pre-Fall collections appear in stores a bit before Fall/Winter collections come in.
It's pretty easy to see why these seasons cause confusion. In January it's still cold, so you may wonder why Spring/Summer and Resort collections would be for sale in stores. Fashion's retail calendar is a lot different from the traditional calendar. Retailers like to start selling spring clothes early. Fall merchandise arrives in stores around July, to catch back-to-school shoppers. When a new season comes in, you'll notice the prior season will generally go on sale. All of these tactics are used to maximize sales.
Resort in Winter
Resort season can be especially confusing. It's wintertime and retailers are selling warm-weather clothes. Resort was initially started to cater to the wealthy who would take luxurious trips to exotic destinations during the winter months. This trend started with luxury brands and high-end stores, but has trickled down to many mass-market retailers. While people who shop mass-market retailers probably aren't jet-setting to a fancy isle, there is still logic behind this idea. Selling four seasons worth of clothes doesn't cost retailers any more but does give shoppers even more selection to choose from, which translates into more income for retailers.
Here's when things get confusing again. Fashion Week seasons are out of whack with retail seasons. Fall/Winter Fashion Week is held in February, showcasing trends for the upcoming winter. Spring/Summer Fashion Week is held in September, displaying trends for the upcoming spring. Collections are shown this early for a variety of reasons. Retail buyers need time to view collections and decide which pieces they want to pick up -- in turn, designers need time to manufacture those orders. Magazines, which have a lead time of three months, also need to be able to pick up samples to photograph in enough time for issues to go to print. Therefore, clothes have to be shown months before they actually hit retail stores.
Resort and Pre-Fall Introductions
Because Resort and Pre-Fall aren't as major as Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter, they don't have their own Fashion Weeks. They do, however, show around the same time. Most designers choose simply to shoot their looks on models and send them out to press, while other -- generally bigger brands -- hold shows or presentations to introduce their Pre-Fall and Resort collections. In general, you'll see Resort collections around June and Pre-Fall collections in December.