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Indies vent anger at fashion week clash

Premium womenswear independents have voiced their concerns about next year’s major catwalk shows after Milan Fashion Week organisers changed the dateline of its September 2012 shows to clash with London and New York.

The move, which apparently contravenes a 2008 agreement between London, Paris, Milan and New York to ensure the weeks do not clash, means Milan will start its fashion week on September 19 – two days before London Fashion Week kicks off.

As well as the catwalk shows, many buyers visit the cities to view collections and write orders at the same time. Retailers told Drapers the overlap was disastrous for buyers who already have a tight schedule for visiting brands. 

Rhona Blades, co-owner of eight-store Northeast indie Jules B, said: “It’s ridiculous they can’t work together. It’s terrible when any shows overlap like this. We went to New York recently and then had to travel overnight to get to Milan for [footwear show] Micam where we just made it in time for the last day.” She added: “I go to a lot of shows. It’s easier when it’s all in one place instead of going to showrooms.

“If you’re a fashion shop or an etailer, you go to Paris for jewellery, Milan for shoes and then New York and London for fashion, so when any of the fashion shows or exhibitions coincide it’s a disaster.”

A spokeswoman for London-based designer mini-chain Matches said: “This news is very concerning and we hope it can be resolved. We feel that to miss London Fashion Week and not support local talent would be inconceivable.”

Barrie Rapaport, owner of premium womenswear indie Bernard of Esher in Surrey, said:

“It will create problems and we’ll have to make a choice [about which shows we see]. I’m sure the buying appointments will be extended. They won’t want to lose trade.”

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