Fashion Industry Terms: Industry-Related Terminologies & Words

There are new terms introduced in the fashion industry daily and you can find them here before they become buzzwords. Read below as we break down the different fashion industry terms.

Atelier (N.) [uh-teh-li-yay] A private workshop or studio where designers, seamstresses and assistants work to create garments and other fashion items is called an atelier.

Bespoke (N.) [be-spok] A type of clothing or accessory that is specifically designed and made according to the taste, requirements and/or body-measurements of a buyer is called bespoke. Also see made-to-measure.

Big four (N.) [big fohr] The four fashion weeks – New York, London, Milan and Paris – are collectively known as the big four. The big four are the most notable amongst fashion weeks, receive the most press coverage, set major fashion trends, usually consist of the most number of fashion shows and some of the most popular fashion designers and ateliers of our time showcase their designs there. Also see fashion week.

Bridal wear (N.) [brai-duhl w-air] A category of clothing and accessories that are made for brides to wear during, right before and right after the wedding ceremony is called bridal wear.

Buyers (pl. N.) [by-uhrz] A collection of fashion enthusiasts, merchandisers or stylists who are interested in buying fashion products, usually at a fashion show are called buyers.

Casual wear (N.) [ka-zhoo-uhl w-air] A type of clothing or accessory that is worn during daytime or a casual occasion is called casual wear. Casual wear includes jeans, light-weight fabrics, tee-shirts, etc. Also see formal wear.

Catwalk (N.) [kat wok, -waw k] 1. A narrow ramp or walkway extending from a stage towards the audience, used by models to walk at a fashion show is called a catwalk. Also runway. 2. The style fashion models use to walk on the runway during a fashion show is called catwalk.

Color forecasting (V.) [kuh-luhr fohr-kas-ting] The process of predicting what colors will be popular in fashion in the coming season(s) through thorough analysis of fashion weeks, historical data, industry trends, etc. is called color forecasting.

Couture (N.) [koh-too uhr, koo-] A collection of clothing that is completely hand-sewn and uses high-quality sewing techniques, exquisite fabrics and unique designs is called couture. Originated in Paris, the term couture is typically used by high fashion houses to describe their collections presented twice a year – Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter on the runway, consisting of formal, evening and wedding wear.

Cruise collection (N.) [krooz cuh-lek-shuhn] See resort collection.

Design brief (N.) [dih-zahyn breef] Design brief is a document containing a set of requirements set by a buyer, consumer or company head for the fashion designers that help guide the designing process. Design brief may contain requirements for the budget, consumers, sizing, season, etc.

Design documentation (N.) [dih-zahyn dok-yu-men-tay-shuhn] The process of listing or detailing out the fashion design process used for record-keeping is called design doumentation. This may involve the design brief, initial sketches, internal strategy, team members involved, iterations, research, inspirations, fabric swatches, etc.

Eco-fashion (N.) [ee-koh fash-uhn] See sustainable fashion.

Ethical clothing (N.) [eth-i-kuhl klohthing] Clothing that’s produced keeping in mind the welfare of animals and the workers is known as ethical clothing.

Evening wear (N.) [eev-ning w-air] A type of clothing or accessory that is worn during evenings, typically at a party, wedding, formal event, etc. is called evening wear. Evening wear includes gowns, cocktail dresses, suits, tuxedos, etc. Also see formal wear.

Fair trade fashion (N.) [fairtreyd fash-uhn] Fair trade fashion refers to a fashion industry where there are good working conditions for the employees. This includes decent environment, fair wages and not promoting child labor.

Fashion house (N.) [fash-uhn hous] A company or entity that designs and/or makes garments and/or accessories and sometimes also beauty products is called a fashion house.

Fashion show (N.) [fash-uhn sho] An event wherein a fashion designer or fashion house presents their clothing and/or accessories collection either ready-to-wear or couture collections to fashion industry, buyers and media is called a fashion show. Almost always, fashion shows have models walk down the runway wearing and showcasing the products. Also see fashion week.

Fashion trend (N.) [fash-uhn trend] A popular style of clothing, accessory, hair or makeup, etc. that is worn or used commonly by the public, celebrities or fashion influencers, or sets an aspiration for fashion of the season or particular period is called a fashion trend.

Fashion week (N.) [fash-uhn week] A week long event in which fashion designers or ateliers present either ready-to-wear or couture collections to fashion industry, buyers and media through fashion shows is called a fashion week. Also see fashion show, big four.

Formal wear (N.) [for-muhl w-air] A type of clothing or accessory that is worn during formal occasions such as weddings, black-tie events, corporate offices, etc. is called formal wear. Formal wear includes business suits, cocktail dresses, tuxedos, suits, etc. Also see evening wear.

High-end (ADJ.) [hai end] High-end is a term used to denote a fashion product, designer or company that is of high quality, and/or appeals to sophisticated customers. High-end products are almost always pricier than mass-market goods.

Kids wear (N.) [kidz w-air] A category of clothing and accessories designed to be worn by babies, toddlers and/or children is called kids wear.

Kitsch (N.) [kich] A product or design that is popular despite being considered “ugly” or of poor taste by experts in the industry is called kitsch.

Knitwear (N.) [nit w-air] A type of clothing that is created by manipulating a yarn to create the fabric is called knitwear.

Label (N.) [lay-buhl] 1. The trademarked name of a fashion house or designer is called a label. 2. A piece of fabric sewn to a fashion product that has the name or logo of the fashion house or company is called a label.

Made-to-measure (ADJ.) [may-d tuh meh-zhuhr] An item that is designed and created according to the body measurements of a wearer or customer is called made-to-measure. Also see bespoke.

Market analysis (N.) [mar-kit uh-na-li-sis] The process of examining fashion market in detail to research consumers, buying choices, industry size, existing brands, etc. of a certain geographic region is called market analysis.

Mass market (N.) [mas mar-kit] The market for clothing, accessories, beauty products or other goods that are produced in large quantities is called mass market.

Mens wear (N.) [menz w-air] A category of clothing and accessories designed to be worn by men is called mens wear. Also menswear.

Prêt-à-porter (N.) [pret uh pohr-tey] See ready-to-wear.

Ready-to-wear (N.) [red-ee tuh w-air] A collection consisting of clothing and/or accessories that are machine-made or mass-produced and meant for casual use is called ready-to-wear. Ready-to-wear collections are typically presented by fashion houses as runway collections twice a year, namely Spring/Summer collections and Fall/Winter collections. Also prêt-à-porter.

Resort collection (N.) [ri-zoh-rt cuh-lek-shuhn] A mid-season collection that comprises clothing primarily meant to be worn on vacations is called resort collection. Also cruise collection.

Runway (N.) [ruh-n-way] 1. See catwalk. 2. A fashion collection or styles displayed by models on the catwalk is/are called runway collection or runway designs.

Showstopper (N.) [shoh-stop-uhr] A model who walks or a product that is showcased at the end of a fashion show, also known as finale, that marks the most important or memorable moment of the fashion show is called a showstopper. The showstopper may be a celebrity, or may be wearing an exquisite clothing item, designed to set the benchmark for the collection being showcased, or to receive media coverage.

Sportswear (N.) [spoh-rts-w-air] A type of clothing item or accessory that is intended to be worn during sports, athletics or while exercising is called sportswear. Also gym wear.

Sustainable fashion (N.) [suhstey-nuh-buhl fash-uhn] Sustainable fashion refers to the practice of manufacturing clothes in such a way that it does not harm the environment. Also eco-fashion.

Swimwear (N.) [swim-w-air] A type of clothing items or accessories that are intended to be worn during swimming is called swimwear.

Trend (N./ V.) [trend] See fashion trend.

Trend forecasting (V.) [trend fohr-kas-ting] The process of predicting what fashion trends will be popular in the coming season(s) through thorough analysis of fashion weeks, historical data, industry trends, etc. is called trend forecasting. Also fashion forecasting.

Wedding wear (N.) [wed-ing w-air] A type of clothing or accessory that is worn during weddings, either by bride and groom or by wedding guests is called wedding wear. Also see evening wear.

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The Dress to Express Issue Fashion as a Form of Self-Expression May 2023 Issue | Photo: Filonenko Kseniya (@filonenko_photographer); Makeup: Regina Kulik (@regina__makeup); Hair: Tatsiana Kulik (@tatsiana_kulik); Stylist: Liza Logvina (@lizalogvina); Backstage: … Read more