See Now, Buy Now – The Future or the Fall of Fashion?
Where Do You Stand on this Controversial Fashion Topic?
Fashion Week has introduced a controversial concept known as “See Now, Buy Now,” into the fashion world, which has left many designers divided.
Burberry sparked quite the controversy when the British designer announced that they would not be holding their collection for a 6-month period (customary to the industry) before releasing the line for sale. Instead, the entire runway collection was simultaneously released for sale. In a statement to Reuters, Burberry CEO, Christopher Baily commented:
“The whole collection is already lined (in-store) for people to see and touch and feel. And if they want to, they can order it and we will deliver it as quickly as possible.”
See Now, Buy Now transforms runway shows from a visual experience for its viewers (often with fashion icons and socialites in mind, and in attendance), to an active consumer-based event. Therefore, many who are not in favor of this change argue that the allure and exclusively of attending a fashion show and seeing the collections on the catwalk before being released to the public, is lost. Several designers and brands have expressed concerns that they will not be able to participate in, or compete with, this new business concept. However, some brand representatives have spoken out in favor of this change. Ken Downing fashion director of Neiman Marcus, told Reutuers:
“Customers buy now to wear now. They understand shopping in the moment and those are the clothes that they are looking for, so I applaud these moves. I hope more do it, it’s the future of our industry.”
Since Burberry’s announcement, a number of labels have been jumping on board, proving others share in Downing’s sentiment. In fact, Tom Ford decided to forego showing previews of his Fall 2016 line and is opting to release the collection for show and sale, during New York Fashion Week, this coming September. In a press release, Ford stated:
“Our customers today want a collection that is immediately available . . . Showing the collection as it arrives in stores will remedy this, and allow the excitement that is created by a show or event to drive sales and satisfy our customers’ increasing desire to have their clothes as they are ready to wear them.”
This isn’t the first time Fashion Week has been met with controversy. The legendary New York City Fashion Weeks have changed a great deal since Mercedes Benz sponsored the shows at the Lincoln Center. Rather than having one fashion show hot spot, more and more, designers are opting to show their collections at a number of venues, and at various locations, which can make getting from one show to the next quite challenging.