Proenza Schouler RTW Spring 2018

Factors often get a front row seat at many of the most sought-after New York Fashion Show events, a perk that comes from having a fashion brand as a client.

According to J. Michael Stanley, managing director and head of factoring at Rosenthal & Rosenthal, “Clients like to invite us there to support them, and we are happy to be there for that support.”

Despite the high cost of putting together a show — it can easily total over $100,000 between venue fees, models, hair and makeup and other staffing and production requirements — the factor said: “Generally, there’s no better forum for designers to show product than at a fashion show. It’s the [ideal] setting where the music, the theater and the clothes come to life.”

Stanley cautioned that he doesn’t attend so he can turn into both “judge and jury” of what’s good fashion or not in deciding whether to lend financial support. While product remains key, the decision to lend is based more importantly on other aspects of the business, such as which retailers the brand is selling to and how it is performing at retail. “I want to know what the sell-through is at retail,” he said.

Still, Stanley noted that the shows are a “great platform for [clients] to reach their intended consumer.” By that he was referring to the cadre of retail buyers who get to see what’s new and then make early decisions on what they want to buy for the sales floor. And that’s where the factor acknowledged that attending the shows can provide intelligence that can come in handy down the road.

Stanley will take note of which key retailers are in attendance, and which ones are no-shows. When he seeks out the buying executives, the factor isn’t shy about asking questions regarding the product and what they might be looking to buy.

Long after the fashion shows are over, it wouldn’t be unusual for Stanley and his team to dig a little deeper to check on how orders were delivered and whether they were delivered on time. He also said it helps to know whether items were returned and “the vertical in which the goods were sold,” as well as how the “overall company performed.”

All that information, when compiled among all factored clients, can give Stanley and his team a good read on what might be coming down the pike at retail.


J. Michael Stanley 

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