A Month of Fall ’18 Fashion Weeks with Men’s Designer Buyer Bijon Javadzadeh
Bijon in the front, fellow Nordstrom buyer Tulio Salcedo in the back; photo by Thig Gishuru.
Fashion Week has become a spectator sport both IRL and online. But its original purpose was to show clothes to retail buyers. And that’s still the case.
Our buyers sit front row at shows, and more importantly, visit showrooms to see and feel the products up close. That’s where they make big decisions and place orders, choosing what we’ll sell in months ahead (for this season’s fashion weeks, that would be for the fall and winter of 2018).
With the European fashion weeks just finished and only New York to go, our men’s designer buyer Bijon Javadzadeh has already seen all the clothes and made his orders. He spent January in Europe, and last week previewed the men’s collections showing in New York Fashion Week, even though NYFW:M officially starts today.
We caught up with him to get his impressions after three weeks of showroom appointments—and to hear his view of the future of fashion.
SHOP: men’s designer
Where have you been these past three weeks?
We started in Milan. Then we were in Paris for quite a while. We made a pit stop in London to see Burberry, then came back to Paris, and then we flew to New York for a week.
Congratulations on your new job by the way.
Thanks! Working at the Rack was a great experience, but the complexity of men’s designer is something I love, something I wanted to get back into and have under my belt. It’s a promotion for sure—a big promotion.
When do you make decisions about what to buy? While you’re standing in a showroom, looking at racks of clothes?
Yes, in the showroom, standing with the supplier. We usually make the decisions in the meeting. Sometimes we go back to the hotel and rework the order, and make decisions about what’s going to which store. Mostly we make our decisions within 48 hours. And often we decide right there, while we’re looking at the clothes. It’s pretty on the spot.
Did you buy any new brands, from your European and New York appointments?
We do have a new brand. It’s a really exciting brand. It’s going to happen, but it’s not completely official yet, so I can’t say right now. Sorry, I know that’s annoying!
Were there any brands we already carry that you invested more heavily in?
Again, I apologize that I can’t be specific, but yes, there are brands we previously had in store only that now we will be selling online. Which is huge. Kind of like how we used to only sell Gucci shoes and accessories online, but as of last week, we sell the world of Gucci. We made a few big moves like that, leading up to our first men’s-only store in New York—which opens in April, on West 57th Street.
How about this: What other three brands have you bought more deeply than before?
Balenciaga, Calvin Klein and Dior. We went after all three of those brands.
Standing back and thinking about everyone’s FW18 collections, what were the main themes across the board?
The ’90s through a modern lens, and western cowboy themes—lots of western shirts and shearling. Those two were in almost every show.
The ’70s and the ’90s going at the same time.
What was it like at the Balenciaga showroom?
It was awesome. Their showroom was quintessential Parisian. They took an old building and modernized the interior. You felt Demna Gvasalia, the creative director, had touched everything from the lighting to the carpet. It almost felt like you were in a museum. The exterior was old school, a fortress, a compound—the exterior was like old Balenciaga. Then you were taken into a new world indoors: Demna’s guts. It was all concrete, matte steel tables, dark industrial carpet, super white walls with high ceilings, very interesting bright lighting. It felt like you were in a laboratory. It was like two worlds meeting.
What about the clothes there?
Balenciaga touched on the ’90s and the ’70s. The collection felt very nostalgic. We bought a bunch of popovers, anoraks in nostalgic ’90s fabrics and colors, with modern fits. We saw more relaxed tailoring, but with vibrant colors, mixed media and exaggerated silhouettes. It was nostalgic but felt new.
What about Dior?
Part of the theme was “forever young.” Creative director Kris Van Assche had a lot of ’90s references, like layering short sleeves over long sleeves, and baggy, high-waisted jeans. He kind of had a ’90s club, ’90s raver vibe to his collection. And he did his own take [on global], like tattoos from back in the day. We saw lots of turtlenecks with graphics or embroidery on them.
How does menswear feel in general to you right now?
It’s in a super exciting place. Brands and suppliers are willing to take sartorial risks they haven’t done in the past. The surrounding street scene at these fashion weeks is full of guys wearing a lot more accessories.
That could be good for business. Brands make a lot of their money from accessories.
Yeah, and accessories also represent an entry point to eventually buying ready-to-wear from a brand. And they were everywhere. Every guy in Milan or Paris was wearing a messenger bag or fanny pack.
What’s the “it” accessory now?
The fanny pack.
Worn diagonally or as a fanny pack?
Diagonally. I think it’s going to be the must-have for fall. It’s been around, but has legs. Every designer showed a version of the fanny pack, whether a messenger bag or a true fanny.
OK, great, let’s finish this interview on “true fanny.”
Ha, OK. Sounds good, man.