Text: William Defebaugh
Fashion brands Tom Ford and Burberry have announced today that they will be switching to a more consumer-focused format for fashion week. The luxury labels will now be taking a “see it now, buy it now” approach to runway shows, making their looks available for purchase online and in-store immediately after the collections go down the catwalk.
This is, perhaps, not too unexpected from Tom Ford, who has been experimenting with show format quite a lot in the past few seasons (he debuted his fall 2015 collection in Los Angeles last year, and his spring 2016 collection in a music video with Lady Gaga). In an official statement, the designer said: “We have been living with a fashion calendar and system that is from another era. Our customers today want a collection that is immediately available. Fashion shows and the traditional fashion calendar, as we know them, no longer work in the way that they once did. We spend an enormous amount of money and energy to stage an event that creates excitement too far in advance of when the collection is available to the consumer. 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."
Burberry has also announced that it will be showing its men’ s and women’ s collections at the same time (in February and September respectively), bringing their total to only two shows a year. In a statement on the changes, Burberry chief creative and executive officer Christopher Bailey said: "Our shows have been evolving to close this gap for some time. From livestreams, to ordering straight from the runway to live social media campaigns, this is the latest step in a creative process that will continue to evolve."
While these changes may seem revolutionary to industry insiders who are used to being seasons ahead of shoppers, this new format might just make fashion more accessible and easy to understand for the average consumer. A fall 2016 collection being shown for the first time in fall 2016? It’ s sounds so crazy, it might just make sense.