Vocabulary Spotlight on: Fashion Week!

This post uses fashion vocabulary in context to help you understand when and how to use all these different words related to fashion week and fashion shows!


(Photo by theredproject)


Fashion week is a semiannual event – it happens twice a year. In February and March, designers showcase their fall/winter collections; in September and October, they showcase their spring/summer collections (for the following year). Fashion weeks take place all over the world, but the most important ones take place in the four major fashion capitals of the world: New York City, London, Milan, and Paris.

The first fashion week always take place in New York City. For one week, hundreds of American fashion designers showcase their ready-to-wear collections. It is a week packed full of fashion shows. This is a huge event in the fashion industry because it is the first time fashion magazine editors, critics, buyers (the people who decide what to sell in stores), and the public will get a chance to see the new clothing and the latest trends for fall.

A collection is all the new clothes the designer has made for that season. Each designer promotes his/her collection with a fashion show. During the fashion show, models walk down the runway wearing the new clothing (a runway is also known as a catwalk). Usually, a designer likes to have a supermodel walk the runway. A supermodel is someone like Kate Moss, Gisele Bündchen, or Heidi Klum – a very well-known and sought after model. Past supermodels include women like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Claudia Schiffer.

Ready-to-wear clothing is clothing that you can walk into a store and buy right off the rack. You can wear it as soon as you buy it. This is different from haute couture clothing (a French expression meaning ‘high fashion’). Couture is expensive, custom-made, one-of-a-kind clothing. You can’t walk into a store and buy a couture dress. Paris, France is the centre of haute couture.

A fashion brand is something like H&M, Levi’s, Gap, Kookai, Zara, Polo (by Ralph Lauren), Chanel, DKNY, Burberry, or Lacoste. They design and make clothing to sell in their own stores or boutiques and department stores.

A fashion designer is someone who designs clothing, like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Zac Posen, Stella McCartney, or Vera Wang. Their clothing is sometimes sold in their own stores, but usually their clothing is sold in boutiquesand department stores.

A fashion house is a company like Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, or Burberry. They are fashion brands, but they usually specialize in expensive, luxury clothing and other products (like cosmetics, perfume, or shoes). They have been in business for decades – some for over 100 years – and they have usually employed several designers throughout their history. For example, Karl Lagerfeld is a well-known fashion designer who designed clothing for Chanel, a famous French fashion house.

Are you a fashionista? A fashionista is a slang word for people who love fashion. A fashionista can be a fashion designer, magazine editor, or simply someone who loves to wear the latest fashionable clothing!


3 Comments on Vocabulary Spotlight on: Fashion Week!

  1. Indigreide Vicente
    June 17, 2012 at 11:29 am (4 years ago)

    Hi, teacher Melanie I loved this article about fashion, I’ve learnt a lot with it. Thanks!
    from Brazil.

  2. Sílvio B Passos
    August 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm (3 years ago)

    Dear Melanie
    Nice to meet your site: it looks very fine for an intermediary student of English language like me. Here, in Rio de Janeiro, people love fashion weeks, which have taken place here for years. And so this text, “…spotlight on: fashion…” will help me a lot to understand the reports on international fashion TV programmes.
    Thanks you so much,

    from Brazil

  3. olivia
    March 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm (3 years ago)

    Dear Melanie,

    Your blog is great and helped me in so many ways. One of my friends just asked me to explain some fashion terms to her students and I didn’t know how, so I started looking online and i found your blog. Thank you so much.
    Olivia from Ecuador