Being Barney’s: The Man Who Decides What You’ll Wear Next Year

by MR Magazine Staff

It may well be steamy outside, but in department stores it’s already fall, since stores typically get their seasonal shipments of new items well in advance of temperatures actually changing. The choice of what clothing is for sale has been made by each retailer’s fashion director, the arbiter of taste with the ultimate say on what will be carried. It’s a job that involves attending fashion shows, meeting with designers afterwards to order a selection that’s targeted for each store’s specific clientele, frequently negotiating the rights to exclusively sell specific items and colorways, and, inevitably, having an innate sense of what the next big trends might be. With the awareness of an ever present bottom line, it’s a role that’s as pressured as it is glamorous. For Tom Kalenderian, who oversees the menswear selection at Barneys New York, the task taps into decades of retail experience, an understanding of customer habits, and a healthy dose of creative trend forecasting. “Being a merchant, you’re one part finance and you’re one part artist,” he explains. “At the end of the day, your instinct is just as valuable as the analysis that you do. I read a lot, I spend a lot of time looking at social [media], and I travel quite a bit. It’s important to me to understand what drives people to wear a certain style, and what’s coming up more and more often.” Read more at The Daily Beast.