A fashion collection is a selection of outfits and individual garments that fashion designers put together every season and that reflect predictions of upcoming trends, including color, cut, line and proportion. A collection will usually include a variety of styles, from evening wear to sportswear to outerwear. The cut, coordinating colors and design elements of each style usually tie the items together. It's likely that a fashion designer will have two collections per year — one for the fall/winter season and one for the spring/summer season. The number of pieces included can range from as few as 30 pieces to as many as 120.
After the collection is finished being created and tailored, the designer usually puts on a fashion show. This allows potential buyers, such as distributors or retailers, to see each piece to see if they are interested in buying any of the garments. In the majority of fashion shows, models walk down a runway dressed in pieces from the collection.
Models in fashion shows often wear outlandish hair, makeup, and accessories to represent the designer's artistic vision about the clothing. Each garment itself usually is designed to be functional and appealing to the general public, also known as the mass market, although this can vary by designer. People's tastes change so frequently that fashion collections usually are designed with the idea in mind that the style, colors, and cuts will be out of style within one to two seasons.
Some designers specialize in haute couture, garments made to order for one individual customer. Money usually is no object when it comes to such pieces, and expensive fabrics and design techniques are used. Ready-to-wear collections are a cross between mass market design and haute couture. Although the pieces in a ready-to-wear collection aren't created for individual customers as haute couture is, the designs and price points likely will not appeal to the general public.
Fashion students often have to present a fashion collection as part of their graduation requirements. Successful designers and fashion houses sometimes attend graduate student fashion shows, particularly at well-known art and design schools, to scout out future employees. These schools often are location in cities known for being centers of fashion, such as New York, London, Chicago, and Paris.