No Seasons at São Paulo Fashion Week

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So, SPFW Summer ‘17 is now…. SPFW N41? You got it. Latin America’s biggest event in the fashion calendar welcomed its 21st consecutive year with an all too abrupt name change, and well, not for any celebratory purpose.

Paulo Borges, SPFW’s Creative Director, decided to move SPFW amongst the ranks of the Fashion Week revolution; ditching traditional collection titles such as ‘Fall/Winter’ and ‘Summer/Spring’, to create a sort of ‘non-season’. With 39 brands showing each and every year, expect to see leather pants and summer dresses intermixed on the Brazilian catwalks.

It’s true, international Fashion Weeks everywhere have begun a shift to become more and more consumer-focused, with British-label Burberry taking the lead at NYFW. Presenting not only ready-to-wear but also ready-to-buy collections straight after their show in February, a first for the brand and the event scene. Today you’ll find that what was once destined for the elite, is now accessible via Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and scores of fashion blogs found online. Photos, tweets and information sent directly from the catwalk are broadcasted to millions of third party viewers in an instant. So as the traditional model of Fashion Week simply appears to not work anymore; we wonder just what the real deal is with these changes happening at the same time globally?

The no-season São Paulo Fashion Week in a almost no-season Brazil

Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s Chief Executive stated in an interview to NY Times, “it’s always summer somewhere in the world.” Well, for Brazil, this is kind of a no brainer. In some of the largest regions in the country, temperatures soar virtually all year round.

But this can’t be the only reason behind SPFW new seasonality showing? In an interview with Estadão, Brazilian designer Vitorino Campos, suggests seasons were never really important anyway (during the creative process). “I work freely and having in mind that depending on the feedstock, the cloth can be used for different types of weather”. Changes were put in place to form a structure for something that really, the market had realised long ago.

Vitorino Campos SPFW 2016 - Stylight Blog

Vitorino Campos prefers to work with flexibles cloths. Source: Getty Images

Paulo Borges also told Estadão, “Fashion is global and so is the desire to buy things”. So could this new strategy also be an opportunity for Brazilian designers to expand more globally? Something crucially important, especially when Brazil faces economical and political instability.

For years, Brazil has been known for its flip flops and beachwear exports. But, with time comes change, and designers like Pedro Lourenço start to produce pieces that go way further than tropical prints and summer-only attire. Just look at his last year at SPFW.  Pedro himself is the son of two sanctified Brazilian designers, Gloria Coelho and Reinaldo Lourenço. He belongs to this new generation of designers who are truly international and yearn to create a fashion scene not restricted to country or season.

It makes sense to think that abolishing seasonality is not only interesting for external markets, but for sales within Brazil itself. Without having to consider summer and winter, designers have gained the freedom to work with what’s important – how the brand wants to expose itself and the message of its products. The impact? During the first day of São Paulo Fashion Week, Ronaldo Fraga presented an huge collection concentrated towards the migration crisis, using different fabrics and structures in each piece.

Ronaldo Fraga Fashion Show migration crisis SPFW 2016 - Stylight Blog

Ronaldo Fraga´s show about the migration crisis during last SPFW . Source: Getty Images

What about the impact of Fashion Week’s changes on eCommerce?

When it comes to the online world, seasonality has for a long time failed to act as the strongest factor in promoting sales in Brazil. Take Google searches for bikinis, they appeared stable in Brazil in 2015, but as for the US, well, you can see that huge drop for yourselves.

Google Trends Bikin searches US vs Brazil - Stylight Blog

Source: Google Trends (Search for the word “bikinis” in 2015: Brazil vs USA)

Interestingly, the same happens when we check the most searched for products on Stylight Brazil. Dresses are always category winners (just look at our latest Fashion trends & online shopping report! Oh and if you click here, you can read it in Portuguese). In 2015, the number of searches for all types of dresses was 26% higher in July and August (that’s winter for us Brazilians) than January and February (aka summer). Even searches for shorts is significantly higher for July (around 10% less than at the beginning of November).

It’s almost impossible not to talk about another big change announced for São Paulo Fashion Week; The “see now, buy now” approach which was brought to Brazilian catwalks for the first time this year. On the event’s second day, Brazilian brand Riachuelo, brought leather pants and blazers to the catwalk. Something instantly recognisable from the designer. Right after the show, products were brought back to the catwalk and sold  there and then to hungry fashionistas. Ana Carolina, of the blog ‘Hoje Vou Assim OFF’ blogged all of her first impressions about the piece (in PT). And by the 27th April, products were already available in stores.

Riachuelo - Karl Lagerfeld at SPFW 2016 - Stylight Blog

Karl Lagerfeld at SPFW 2016. Source: Getty Images

From 2017 on, the two SPFW editions will take place in February and July, instead of April and November. The idea behind it is to get closer to the date when the products are available in stores. That’s fashion breaking the rules to become accessible to everyone, at any time, and independently on the reason. And in Brazil’s case, those new changes came in handy and at the right time.

As fashion is still the top category when it comes to eCommerce, there’s no reason to doubt that the changes in the fashion industry, with a strong help from social media, can give an extra impulse for the economy.

For more insights from Brazilian fashion, check this blog post.

|By Thalita Milan – PR & Communications Manager Brazil|

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