On the finale of Project Runway, Michael Kors made an intriguing comment: he said that there’s a difference between a fashion collection and a fashion line. He didn’t elaborate, but I knew what he meant right away. A collection tells a clear, fully elaborated story about the fashion house and the designer’s intent. A collection is the big branding statement – the “logo” of the brand, so to speak.
A fashion collection, is an idealized version, an over-the-top idea of what the designer says will be fashionable. It’s shown on a runway – as grand of a theater as any in the world.
A fashion line, on the other hand, is a more commercial interpretation of the collection. Designed to sell in department stores, a fashion line isn’t watered down necessarily, but edited and refined for a different audience, and meant to stand out in a completely different environment – a retail setting.
In PR, a collection would be the big branding event or stunt or pop-up store or digital event (think foursquare). It’s memorable. A line would be an ongoing media campaign (social or otherwise) that elaborates the brand story more fully. Both are necessary.
When planning how to tell your story, it’s important to consider whether you’re making a collection or a line. No matter what you’re selling. Is it the big bold statement, setting the tone and being staged in the biggest possible way? Or is a part of the line, extending the brand story, refining, editing and speaking to a new audience.
What’s your story?