Colour me seasonless,non season driven designs in silk

If it feels good, wear it ….that has always been my motto. As a wise maturing adult, disposable clothing and seasonally purchasing clothing, is now a thing of the past for me. I am now more conscious about making considered purchases. It can still be an exciting giddy impulse buy, but the purchase must hold more value for me. It will cost that bit more, but I know that it is a considered piece that I will have in my wardrobe forever. 

By definition, fashion has always meant “to be of the moment” and "in fashion" with exclusivity and feeling unique being important characteristics of that realm. However I have always believed that one should have a valued appreciation for good design and craftsmanship. How they are made, where they have come from, the design and thought process behind them. Sometimes I think consumers don't get a chance to really reflect on what they like, they are just handed everything on a plate, every season 'must haves' and trends imposed on them.

It is important to really think about your personal style and individuality, only purchase things that are the makings of the solid foundations of your wardrobe. I have creatred a few rules for myself 1. No more one hit wonders. 2. Only fill your wardrobe with really well thought out chosen pieces. 3. Create a dream wardrobe based on consistent essential staples and strong classics that never go out of fashion.

Personally, I would rather have a longer relationship with my clothes then having something for a few months, only to get tired of it eight weeks later. It is always lovely to receive a compliment about an outfit you are wearing, to have a story about the coat or scarf, where it came from, a gift, a vintage one off piece or designer ‘spoil myself’! 

However to ensure your wardrobe does not become stagnant, one must learn to use textured layering and use accessories well, with hats scarves and jewellery, that can instantly transform an outfit. Layering lightweight and chunky knits with a mixture of cotton, leather, denim, silk and wool and mix matching light summer fabrics and heavier winter pieces, creating a much more interesting and functional wardrobe.

To explain season led fashion, Autumn/Winter collections are shown at Fashion Week to buyers during the end of the summer and Spring/Summer collections are shown in the midst of winter. Meaning the clothes you want to buy when you need them are rarely in store. Even more importantly to note, all clothing has a full-price shelf life of three months before getting marked down. No other product that I know of has a shelf life that short! So why impose it on fashion?

Seasons seem to exist only as a means of advancing the retail notion that you should buy this now, wheres, in fact, most clothing can work for any season, especially since the idea of multiple layering is always en vogue. As an emerging label, a major part of my brand ethos, is that I do not follow seasons. I appreciate small labels presenting either a single collection annually or the same / slightly varied collection twice a year, thus leaving more time for the designer to focus on what is really important- the brand, quality of design and craftsmanship. 

Season-less design allows me to be the designer I want to be, giving me the freedom financially and creatively. My designs are inspired by the world around me, whether it be a fine art painting, sculpture, ceramic or nature. I use vibrant dramatic colours to create imagery that excites me and be attractive to a variety of tastes and audience. Each design is well thought through, intentionally designed to be timeless. A classic design that can be worn again and again, season to season, year after year. 

Now what I love now about designing on silk, is that holds its value like gold and remains a valuable commodity. When you buy silk, you know you will have that piece forever. Dressed up or down, the silk scarf will compliment a multitude of outfits and will always remain an essential accessory favourite whatever the occasion.  

Seasons are interesting because not everywhere in the world are seasons clear-cut and defined. Some people may live in hot climates but exist in artificially cold air-conditioned offices. The hemispheres are clashing. In one part of the world it might be summer and the other winter. It may be freezing in New York but 90 degrees in Singapore. More often we are seeing models not exhibiting layers of wooly coats, jumpers and tights for A/W but instead bare legs, mini skirts, blouses and cropped jackets. Designers are acknowledging that seasons are not conventional and the rules are there to be bent.

However, our patience is wearing thin waiting for season-led content. People want to see new things more often, not have to wait for the seasonal shows. Customers impatience has lead to more and more people shopping on the web, where people have more options to suit their climate. Online shopping has made it possible to buy clothes from around the world, at any time of year, for any type of weather. Many brands are now selling direct-to-consumer allowing them to stock what they want when they want. 

We must understand that fashion shows nowadays are becoming more about building brand awareness than offering up seasonal designs. Brands such as Burberry, Paul Smith and Marc Jacobs are condensing their collections into two “season-less” shows per year and releasing the clothes to consumers worldwide immediately after the shows. This strategy has obvious benefits to shoppers craving instant purchases but has the added advantage of fending off knockoff artists who have plagued the fashion industry for years.

The non-season led way of designing works well for me as I can take the time and care with each individual design and product, to ensure my silks are of the highest standard in every way. It means people can choose from my collection whatever time of the year it is, whatever colour or outfit they need to match to. There will always be something in the collection to suit every individual taste and personality. 

I believe that having well-designed staples in your collection that can appear, again and again, keeping some hero designs that will always be repeated and releasing new designs throughout the year, as they are being produced, keeps the collection fresh and ever-changing. Exciting an intriguing, keeping the customer engaged with content and new arrivals. So I suppose that makes me a non-season led designer, there we go I have labeled myself and the world is already a brighter place.

Debbie Millington