Red Carpet to Retail: How Oscar Fashion Hits the High Street

This year’s Academy Award winners will be announced in just a few hours. But for some, Oscar night is not about the awards, it’s about the clothes.

The Oscars are always a chaotic scene. Screaming fans and cameras flashing as nominees make their way down the famous red carpet. Everyone anxiously waiting to see the gowns – from the beautiful to the unique to the downright weird.

And it’s an equally mad dash to get these designs re-created and placed in retail stores around the world. The dresses that grace the red carpet set trends for the rest of us to follow.

According to a recent USA Today article, a good portion of this year’s spring brides and prom queens will be donning gowns inspired by Oscar attire. The price tag might be a little less extravagant, and the cut of fabric less flamboyant, but Oscar knock-offs are big business, and websites like—which offers Oscar dresses from 50 to 300 dollars—are cashing in.

So how does this red-carpet-to-retail process actually work? Fashion houses like New York based Faviana can take a red carpet photo and get a similar product to market within just a few months. The process looks something like this:

  • The paparazzi snap pictures.
  • Photos find their way to design teams in fashion houses everywhere and a group of artists and fashion experts take the images and turn them into multiple product concepts and samples. Colors, fabric patterns and fabric quality are discussed.
  • The Bill of Material, which includes fabric, notions and garment manufacturing requirements are sent to suppliers and garment factories for fulfillment.
  • Another team simultaneously begins to pre-sell these concepts to major retailers. Once that is done, those retailers will send their orders directly to the garment factories for fulfillment.
  • Everything is about quality control. If the pieces are defective or poorly made it directly tarnishes the reputation of the designer, and negatively impacts the retailer’s brand image.
  • Finished clothing is labeled while still in the factory, and then ultimately shipped to the retailers.

It takes rigorous management throughout the design process and across the supply chain to quickly and efficiently move new garment concepts from design to manufacturing and into the retail market, but for the swiftest fashion houses the rewards are high.

We can expect to see less costly, more wearable versions of 2013 Oscar inspired fashions in retail stores come April.

What was your favorite red-carpet gown this year?

Image: A Golden Idol – (EXPLORED) by TempusVolat on Flicker (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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