Tommy Hilfiger announce they would be moving towards “see now, buy now” model regarding their spring/summer and autumn/winter collections. Also high end brands such as Burberry and Tom Ford are adopting this model aligning their runway and retail calendar to deliver instant gratification to customer.
Where is the fashion business heading?
The fashion system currently operates firstly as a runway collection which can be viewed almost instantaneously online and through publications, but consumers are unable to purchase from the collection till about four to six months down the line when available at retail outlets.
A downside to this system is that it gives high street brands also known as “fast fashion” the opportunity to replicate the pieces at a much cheaper price in less than a month, furthermore consumers loses excitement after a couple of months and as fashion is always moving forward now at a much faster rate it means demand would also drop.
Christopher Bailey (Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer of Burberry) stated that the move is a step forward due to the fact that Burberry is a global brand and they have to cater to consumers within different climate. Also the collection would be called February and September rather than what we currently know as Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter.
The announcement has created controversy within the whole fashion industry including consumers. Some believe it would be a great move as the collection would be delivered in time still capturing the consumer’s excitement and interest. Others do not agree, firstly because consumers would lose their decision power as only professional buyers would be allowed to view the collection in fear of design leaks.
Although the shift have some strong arguments, with great decisions comes great consequences. Creativity might be hampered due to lack of artistic innovation, the supply chain would be disrupted, emerging designers would lack the opportunity to strengthen their brand and the industry might just fall into the trap of fast fashion.
Who might benefit?
Despite the controversy it has the potential to open up new opportunities for brands, suppliers and retailers to work more efficiently. Knitwear company Unmade is now using new technology to significantly increase production speed, orders are produced to coincide with demand and shipped immediately which in turn should reduce cost.
From a consumer prospective would it not be nice to buy from a collection after the runway show? Having the latest bag from DE GRIS or the Goth inspired look from Ashley Williams? The industry might be in two minds but consumers have a “I see, I want, I buy now” mentality, not “see now, buy four months later”.
Whatever the case may be we would always be looking forward to the next innovative, creative and inspiring collections.