Read on to find your answers..
Is fashion week a single week devoted to fashion?
Lord, no! Fashion week is actually a series of short bursts of fashion activity (lasting around a week each) in various cities across the world. Most versions of fashion week occur twice a year and cover the two major fashion seasons - Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. Shows for S/S take place around September and A/W is February-ish.
So how do I know which fashion week you're talking about?
In general, if a magazine or website mentions "fashion week" they are referring to the programmes of shows and presentations which take place twice a year in New York, London, Milan and Paris.
You'll also find smaller scale and newer fashion weeks in many other cities or countries around the world which act as platforms for those places to showcase the work of talented designers local to that region. When talking about these other fashion weeks you include a mention of the location to avoid confusion - Melbourne Fashion Week, for example.
But I thought fashion shows were bonkers - a lot of the shows feature skirts and tops I could actually wear!
Ah - you're thinking of haute couture. The four main fashion weeks (London Fashion Weekend which is held at the end of London Fashion Week. It's essentially a designer shopping event where you can take in some fashion shows, shop from designers of London Fashion Week calibre at reduced prices and maybe enjoy a beauty treatment and some cocktails. There's no need to worry about whether you're part of the fashion industry or not either as it's a first-come-first-served ticket affair.
So there you go - that's fashion week in a nutshell! Now sit back and browse the shows, fully armed with your newfound knowledge.