The Value of Trunk Shows for Fashion Illustrators


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Tomorrow will be the Thistle & Clover opening reception for the 3 month fashion illustration showcase featuring 6 pieces by 4 excellent artist. What’s unique about this event is it’s being held in conjunction with the Thomas Sires trunk show.
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DID YOU KNOW?
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Designers who sell to boutiques ‘travel in packs’ so to speak, and they use each other’s trunk shows as an excuse to meetup with each other, see what their peers are doing, and offer leads to each other. It’s a friendly community.
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Many of the new local designers naturally gravitate towards local boutiques. These designers went to school together, or worked together at major brands in the past, or sell their collections side-by-side at other boutiques.
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WHAT’S THE POINT?
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Trunk shows are a great way to pick up clients while they are easily accessible.
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ANTONIO GOT IT RIGHT
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His strategy – snagging potential clients/designers before they hit the big time. Because designers move in packs (e.g. Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, and Stephen Sprouse in the late 80s and early 90s) what happens is once one of the pack members catches a break and moves up to a larger retailer, then that member’s peers sometimes get looked at in a new light b/c of the association made in the buyer’s mind.
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Whether or not Antonio Lopez consciously adopted this strategy to land clients early on and grow with them is unclear, but you can clearly see his results. He made his services available to a pack of then unknowns early on (e.g. Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows, Norma Kamali) and rode the wave of client work right along with their needs and success.
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A SUGGESTION
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Think about holding off on the cold call emails for a bit and show face sometimes – maybe at a trunk show in your neck of the woods. Just a simple hello puts you at an advantage in today’s impersonal world. No, I can’t guarantee that several designers will attend this trunk show tomorrow. I just want you to consider a different way of going about getting your work seen.

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