Confessions of a Fashion Buyer

Long long ago, before I was a fashion entrepreneur, I earned my stripes as a fashion buyer at a luxury fashion empire. Then, it was a necessity to attend multiple shows at Fashion Week, (and work endlessly in the showrooms AFTER the runway shows). You see, for fashion buyers, the “Oh Wow! It’s-So-Pretty” moment on the runway last about 2 seconds on the runway, compared to the insane hours put into number crunching and data analysis – whether it’s to get merchandising budgets approved or to propose NEW purchase allocations with past seasons sell-through reports (apologies if this is too technical, but I still remember being told that “we don’t just buy it because it’s nice, we buy it because it’ll sell”). Suffice to say, we have excel spreadsheets overflowing everywhere and if we did forget anything, the showroom printer is available as long as you buy more!

I remember once, I was instructed to put in an order for a nude embellished bodysuit, made out of minuscule layers of netting and tulle, which I politely declined. Who’s going to buy it? Who’s going to wear it? How much is it?? An eye-popping 6 figures for some sequins, crystals, lace and mesh!! All that was practical and logical came screaming to the fore-front of my brain, and perhaps that was the beginning of the end for me, in the high fashion arena.

Every fashion season brings its share of highs and lows, new accolades for up and coming designers and bric-bat boos for some deemed to have lost the plot! There is a very thin line between genius and insanity, and designers must walk that line each season and display their creations for all to view, critic and hopefully purchase, so that their dreams remain alive. ie make it from the runway to showroom, to production and sales! Many designer runway looks never make it to production because they were seen at not commercially viable (layman terms read: cannot sell, markdowns inevitable).

It takes nerves of steel and uncommon confidence to stomach this level of rejection periodically and still consistently persevere in the quest of creation, offering up a bevy of new styles every season. I respect that. I may not appreciate everything I see on the runway (I don’t think anybody does), but I’ve made my peace between the proposal and the process, and in my books, that’s progress!

Anyways, like clockwork on speed, here comes Fashion Week again, and designers like Giorgio Armani, Dolce Gabanna and list of other designers have already displayed their styles for Spring/Summer 2016 in Milan. Here I am., watching the shows in the comfort of my trusted sofa, with my coffee and my reading glasses. No need to dress appropriately – right designer AND right season for right show. No need for stilettoes and makeup and airflown kisses. No need for the excel sheets and offensive data. Just watching the shows AS I AM, period.

And you know what? My heart still skips a beat when I see gorgeous looks on the runway. A sense of awe still overwhelms me when I see impeccable silhouettes. I smile at the humour of some wacky designs. Inspiration and gratefulness swells within me. For the creative genius that I got to experience firsthand that has woven itself into my tapestry, that insanity lives somewhere within me, and every season as I watch the runway collections, something tugs from within me.

Today at Butterflies & Marigolds, we style for Wednesday afternoons, not (so much) for Saturday nights. I know lots of designers that love to push the boundaries of the style envelope as close to the edge as possible (think naked dresses on the Red Carpet), but at B&M, we want to keep our styles relevant for real lives! Sure, that see-through full lace number is a stunner, but the butterfly lace pencil skirt that can be worn dressed up or down, to office and after-work date nights gets our vote!

If you’ve been our customer for a while, I know that you are already on your way to having the wisdom, the clarity and creativity to put together outfits that exude confidence. All you want from us is to help you be the best version of yourself: authentic, confident and comfortable in your own skin. That our styles should empower you to speak your language. It is my belief that fashion shouldn’t overwhelm, your clothes shouldn’t overshadow your presence, because when it comes to creativity, you showing up as the best version of yourself, is always more than enough.

That’s it for this week’s blog, now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to the runway ;) Have an awesome week ahead everyone, and don’t forget to be stylish!

(PS: By the way, the bodysuits that I was made to buy, sold out. Somebody’s somebody passed the word around and they sold. Morale of the story: never say never, you’d never know (Wink wink **)

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Photos credit: Kevin Tachman for Vogue.com