We are living in a digital era. Today’s customers are used to the immediate availability of almost everything. In addition to this fact, live-experiences offered via the internet changed the consumers’ habits and shopping preferences. However, the traditional fashion calendar can’t keep up with this immediacy.
Hence, it is comprehensible that major fashion players like Burberry or Tom Ford opted for a differing model and simultaneously triggered off a heated debate in the fashion world: Instead of selling the collection six months after its showcase on the runway, the brands tighten the turnaround between the presentation and the actual availability in stores. Tommy Hilfiger joined the movement and placed his latest ‘Tommy x Gigi’ collection at the disposal right after the presentation during NYFW. However, brands like French key players Dior and Chanel refuse to play along and prefer to stick to the conventional schedule.
Originally fashion shows used to be exclusive events for a small circle of insiders. New media changed the pattern transforming them into marketing shows for everyone interested. Burberry and others might hope for an increase of sales by intimately connecting the interest in the show with a prompt delivery. While getting closer to the customer with this new concept, it can also protect the original designs from copycats like Zara or H&M.
The original and the copy? Seen on the Céline SS15 runway and in H&M’s online shop
On the contrary, a revolution of the whole industry could drive emerging designers and smaller labels to ruin. The instant availability of the collection requires a pre-financing of the garments. Brands can only assume which pieces buyers will finally order, hence, they take a huge risk in production. The risk reduces significantly if players can rely on supporters like LVMH in their background. Moreover, it is possible to sell overproduced products in brand-owned stores all over the world, whereas labels that are dependent on external buyers might end up footing the bill.
This experiment does not only affect the designer’s work, but also the whole value chain: It implies a change for the press, as advertorial campaigns need to be shot and published earlier than before. The new concept might also get vendors into trouble because they need to sell winter clothing in summer.
As every brand draws on different resources, the decision between pursuing the usual scheme or adapting to the alterations should be made by the fashion house itself. As a compromise to satisfy the customers’ expectations and to guarantee the brand’s profit, key pieces could be put up for sale prior to the main collection. While weighing, one should not forget that keeping desires alive for a few months and slowing down respectively is not a step backwards but distinguishes high fashion from fast fashion.
By Vivien Gilow
Images via Business Of Fashion, Vogue, H&M and 10magazine