When are markets held?

Julia asks:

Could someone print the months that each season begins for buyers.

Sure! The easy answer -which won’t help hardly anyone- is that generally, Fall markets are from Jan through May but most of the Fall markets take place between February and April. The Fall selling season is the biggest season of the year for nearly everyone so it is sold for a longer time period than the other seasons which are usually limited to two months -with some overlaps of course. Fall II is mid April through mid June. Holiday is June-July; with a stray show or two in August. Resort/Cruise is August through early September. Spring is from October to November barely edging into December. Summer follows in December-January with a late show in February. Below is a little calender:






Fall II









Production wise, most plants are operating at lower capacity from mid September through November. Accordingly, this is when all of the industry shows selling machines and equipment were being held. We don’t have those anymore :(. Or not much anyway. We used to have the Bobbin Show in September which was a week long. That show was more like a national convention of the sewn products industry. I wish they’d start that up again. It was basically the only show where your friends were guaranteed to show so you could meet and catch up on things. I note that SPESA is sponsoring a show in Miami Beach this coming May -May is also a good month since relatively few producers put out a holiday line- but when I emailed to get more info, my email bounced. I also note that SPESA and Material World will be combined for that show. Maybe we should plan to have a meet up there if anybody is interested but hotels are so expensive there. I hate it when they have conventions in expensive places. But I digress, back to the selling season.

Of course, the real answer to your question is, “it depends”. All markets and products are different; they’re sold in different locations and venues depending on the kind of product and season. In addition, wherever markets are held, they’re held on staggered dates. This way, a vendor could show at any number of shows and not worry that they’re missing out at showing at another market being held at the same time. By way of illustration, a children’s wear market held the first week of June in Dallas won’t compete date-wise with the children’s wear market being held in NY the following week. Sometimes dates overlap a few days but things are usually planned in such a way that a given manufacturer or retailer could attend both.

Likewise, it depends on your product type. If you’re selling kid’s clothes, you don’t care about accessories shows and vice versa so there is no one answer to one seasonal calender because each are sold in their respective markets. Resultantly, it is up to the individual DE to do the research for their particular market niche. The best way to do this is to look it up in trade magazines or resources that are specific to your product and market. For broad categories of apparel and accessories, Infomat is a great resource for this purpose. Infomat publishes a monthly market guide specific to each category of products ranging from everything from accessories to maternity wear (I’ve mentioned this before and Infomat has been in my sidebar forever). If searching by month rather than apparel or product category, you’ll have to look in the months ahead to determine which shows are appropriate for you. What most people do (once they get a rhythm going) is keep an advance calender of shows in the upcoming year they they plan to attend or show at. This is all by trial and error. It’s only by doing a show that you can figure out which ones are good for you which you then pencil in and plan to attend the following year, to include any other new shows you think you might want to pick up. Of course, you always want to attend a show (which you can do relatively last minute) in advance before planning to show in it so that’d give you a whole year to figure it out. Alternatively assuming you had a rep, you’d follow their advice as to which shows would be the best bet. Personally, that’s what I’d do.

The issue of being able to say definitively when each season -or market- begins becomes increasingly complex when you consider the variety of sewn products. Sewn products come in a mind numbing array of items ranging from car seat and sofa covers to diaper covers. One answer -even at Infomat- will not serve anyone’s purpose. If you’re doing certain types of products, you may be better served in those specific markets rather than apparel markets and you’ll have to do the research for your niche. For example, take something like scrubs. You’d be better off showing at a non-apparel specific show and getting a booth at a medical supplies and devices show. Hospital administrators and buyers are not going to attend uniform shows. Rather, they’ll find you best at an industry show that addresses the broader range of their needs. Another example is people who produce sewn products for the outdoors. They bypass apparel markets and show at outdoor specialty markets, although some of those shows are now so large that they’re included in apparel market calenders. In summary, I’m not avoiding the question. For example, you could ask “when do the resort markets open” and I’d have to ask for which product type. If it were coats, there wouldn’t be a market so one size doesn’t fit all.

Now, anytime you find pat answers (such as the first paragraph I wrote in response above) be wary because they’re never complete. For example, one textbook I have says that Fall markets open in March but that is easily disproven; some open a lot sooner than that -like January! It depends on your market. I do know that Fall markets for western wear open in January. You may say you don’t care since you don’t do western apparel but somebody else behind you does and as I said, there is no one pat answer. The answer can only be specific to your product and niche.

What it boils down to is you have to look it up yourself. Alternatively, if someone wanted to compile a list of market openings for their given product category, I’d be happy to post it or you could stick it under comments. Hopefully we could get answers from variant niches to cover the gamut of sewn product types.

Timing of seasons
When are markets held
Buyer’s timing calender
Who sets delivery dates?

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  1. Cecilia says:

    Does this buyer timeline also apply if you are selling directly to buyers as opposed to selling at markets? (i.e. If I miss the typical selling deadline for say, Holiday, do I have a chance of selling a Holiday line for the coming Holiday season in say, September? (Provided the items would be delivered under the typical Holiday delivery schedule)THANKS.

  2. Karen C. says:

    How about deadlines for doing trunk shows? I was of the understanding that if you’re selling Spring/Summer you could do trunk shows in February for delivery in March through mid-April.

  3. Kathleen says:

    If you’re a line that has regular retail orders you fill on a schedule, I’d think you could plan your seasonal cuts closer to delivery date (as in Miracle’s post in the comment above). If you’re a line that is only generating orders from trunk shows (a lot of people starting out do it that way), then it doesn’t matter, provided the dates mesh with when your customer will want the goods. Your delivery after a trunk show is typically no more than 30 days but three weeks is better. Technically, it doesn’t matter in which season you show the goods if you’re agreed to make delivery by whichever mutually agreed upon date. I mean, if you have a store that wants a summer trunk show in the beginning of July for end of July delivery, and you can do it and want to do it, why does it matter?

    Think of trunk shows as custom manufacturing. The rules are a whole lot looser.

  4. big irv says:

    I have attended the Material World Show in Miami several times. The show management do a great job in negotiating hotel rates for show visitors and exhibitors. Next year it starts on a Sunday, so any attendees can fly in early and make a mini vacation out of it. That is a nice little perk.

    In addition, the “show” hotels include some neat Deco period renos that won’t run you over $100 night. A few years ago I stayed at the Doubletree for $89.00. Miami Beach is a great location for a trade show. Everything is within easy access. It is not near NYC expensive.

  5. Alex says:

    So how about tradeshoes and selling seasons for designer socks? Does anyone know if they fall under hosiery or shoes and accessories? I have had a lot of trouble figuring this out even after spending time on the Infomat site.


  6. Maggie Dowling says:

    My current spring/summer collection 07 would also do very well as a resort collection, as I am finding it tough to nail down the right reps I may miss my spring season to some degree, I have the Stylemax Chicago tradeshow coming up in October but unless I find a rep I want to be with there and take orders I may be done for spring. Could I bring this same line out i for Resort this coming Resort season, my look books are printed, and very expensive yet describe the line as spring/summer, could I reiussue along with relaunching for resort?

  7. julia says:

    I have heard from a couple different PR. people that when starting a new line – I would be better off finding a “buying office/group” or selling to stores myself in lieu of attending a trade show. Does anyone know exactly how buying offices work? I have located a few but before I contact them I would like a better understanding of how they work. I think that the thought is that trade shows can be expensive, but I still think that I will try too get into one this February (I will try for Atlanta). Of course if it is a juried show I may have to have sold to some stores prior to selling at the trade show. Does anyone have experiance with these issues?

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