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Karen Walker: The fashion calendar is 'ruthless'

FashionBy Sunday World
Karen Walker: The fashion calendar is 'ruthless'

Karen Walker dubbed the fashion industry’s ready-to-wear calendar as "ruthless".

With the industry grappling with the see-now-buy-now debate, the New Zealand-based designer believes now is a good time for industry leaders to reassess timelines.

Offering an insight into her eyewear and fine jewellery businesses, Walker revealed it is normal for a product to be in development for 12 to 24 months and for the item to remain in the range, on the shop floor and hopefully on customer’s wish lists for years at a time. Comparatively, she dubs the ready-to-wear calendar "ruthless" and as a result the lifespan of the in-store and in-wardrobe is far too short.

"Collections. Pre-collections. Pre-pre-collections. Every one of them has a use-by date… Sometimes you can’t tell the new from the old, and yet, the industry demands more, more, more," Walker writes in an opinion piece for the Business of Fashion.

Walker offered she is interested in "wrestling" the timeline back from the system and would like to challenge the time allowed to develop product and how long the customer allows the garments "to live" in their own wardrobes.

For her part, the 46-year-old has a view towards presenting smaller collections of "well-considered" product.

She has also veered away from fashion shows as she believes there are better ways to engage with her customers in the digital age.

"Wherever your business is located, the need for new ideas about the rhythm of the global fashion system couldn’t be greater than it is right now," she shares.

The New Zealand-based designer established her brand in 1995, began selling to Barneys New York in 1998 and in late 2011 signed a partnership with U.S. based retail chain Anthropologie.

Fusing tailored and preppy elements with casual street style, Walker’s line has expanded to include jewellery, eyewear and footwear. Her designs are regularly worn by stars such as Sienna Miller, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, and Liv Tyler.

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