Fashion Goes Season-less

Backstage at Burberry Prorsum Spring 2016

Back stage at Burberry Prorsum Spring 2016

By Anh Nguyen

For decades the fashion industry has been working in a Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer calendar. Every February and August in New York, Paris, London, Milan and other fashion capitals around the world, the fashion weeks showcase new collections that are set out to be in stores four to six months later. This custom allows sufficient time for designers and buyers to work together and make necessary changes to the collections before sending them to production. However in the recent years with the surge of fast fashion and consumers being more tech-savvy, the new demand is to have products available to customers in the shortest time possible.

Knowing that being first in fashion is the key, Burberry took a leap in what could possibly change the face of the entire industry. Early February 2016, the brand announced its new See Now-Buy Now system where there Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections will be replaced by the February and September shows, respectively. In addition, Men’s and Women’s will be combined in one show; and the collection will be available in stores and online immediately after the show ends. In other words, for Burberry, starting September 2016 the six-month lead time between show and sales will be hours.

In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Christopher Bailey, chief creative and executive director of Burberry, said: “The changes we are making will allow us to build a closer connection between the experience that we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves.” This major adaptation is sure to have started with a deep concern for consumer’s demand, but it is also a sign that high-end brands are strongly reacting to fast fashion. Companies like Zara are threatening luxury brands with their ability to quickly adopt designs from the runway, put into production and ship to stores within four to six weeks, before the designer brands even start production. With See Now- Buy Now, Burberry is catching up with the speed of Zara and H&M, hence preserving the collection from “copy cats,” and at the same time get closer to their customers. Drastic change across the industry is not happening overnight, but with other brands such as Mulberry and Tom Ford joining the movement, new habits are promised to take shape.

While immediate availability makes perfect sense in the current discourse of the industry, making it happen is not going to be easy. Brands that either have in-house production or work with factories in close proximity are much more likely to follow this step than those that outsource their products. Additionally, the big question for brands that wholesale to department stores and retail outlets besides having their own stores, is that how do they avoid discouraging buyers because of the risk and hastiness of See Now-Buy Now.

In the end, it is up to the consumer to decide the fate of this movement. We are eager to see what comes next, who will follow Burberry’s lead and what impact this change will make on the fashion industry as well as the shopping habit of men and women.

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9 comments

  1. What Burberry is doing is incredible. The way they are producing their shows is a great way to get their customers to buy their clothes. Once the show broadcasts, people fall in love with the clothes. It’s just a shame they won’t go on sale for another six or so months. Now that Burberry is doing the See-Now Buy-Now system it will definitely change the game. I think it will benefit Burberry because of the high demands of the products and how most people run to Zara or H&M to get the runway clothes before the designer even sells their own. Hopefully this is a trend that other designers will catch on to.

  2. I actually watched this incredible show in my fashion class a few weeks ago and we talked about this a lot. It’s crazy that one brand can possibly change the entire fashion system. The idea of seeing what you are going to buy the next day on the runway is revolutionary, but also extremely confusing. It goes completely against the projection of the next seasons trends, but maybe in a great way? Things change and there have been collections that have failed because their trend prediction was a bit off. Now what you covet and die to wear while seeing it on the runway, can be yours a lot sooner than the usual 6 month waiting period. I commend Burberry, especially Christopher Bailey for taking this bold step and hope that other brands move in this direction!

  3. I love what Burberry is doing! Changing the way they produce their shows and sell their clothes is a good way to get more consumers and a good marketing strategy for the brand. Now that Burberry is doing the See-Now-Buy-Now system, they will catch up with the fast-fashion brands, like Zara and H&M and avoid “copycats.” Customers have been leaning toward fast-fashion brands to get the latest runway trends without waiting the usual 6 month period from designers. Burberry is changing the game in the fashion industry and I hope other brands will follow in their direction.

  4. I think this is the future of high fashion, and its consumers. Who doesn’t want what they want, when they want it? Customers of these designer labels will most certainly purchase as soon as they can, and the sooner the better. With knocking copy cats like Zara and H&M out of the lead to get fast fashion out, the industry will produce even more revenue. I think more and more labels will catch on and follow in Burberry’s foot steps.

  5. I think this is a really interesting movement that Burberry has started. The whole See Now-Buy Now process is very interesting and something that could either work or simply just not. The whole idea of knocking out the “copy-cat” products that Zara and H&M produce is somewhat disappointing news just for people with lower incomes who love the inexpensive, trendy fashion that they offer right away. Although it is definitely something that can boost revenue for the high-end brands and is huge for the fashion industry.

  6. I think the movement Burberry is starting has the potential to be very successful. With the sales starting up directly after the show, the consumers with still be happy and excited from watching the show and want buy the things they saw and buy them from the actual designer. With the way fast fashion works, consumers see what has been showcased in the fashion shows, but don’t want to wait to be able to buy them, so they go to stores like Zara and buy the cheaper “Copy Cats”. If high end designers catch on to this movement it has the potential to slow the profit of fast fashion stores and bring more profit for them selfs.

  7. It amazes me how one designer has the ability to make such a huge change to the traditions of the fashion industry. What Christopher Bailey is doing with Burberry is something that other designers surely considered, but never thought it would be able to be done. What is most exciting to see is how Burberry’s designs will influence the trends of the season. Normally, the line comes out months after the show, but now with this new process, it is Burberry’s trends that will be seen on the streets first. I don’t think that this new method will stop the fast fashion stores from making their copies, because there will always be a market for high end designs for people with low end budgets. Regardless, Christopher Bailey and the brand are making a difference in the industry and only time will tell how it turns out.

  8. Within the past year, Burberry has really been showing other companies up with their innovative ideas. They have taken over social media in an incredible way to be able to gain new customers and keep the old customers interested. The company’s new See Now-Buy Now system will completely enhance their sales. Customers will be able to buy the outfits they see on the runway hours after the show ends. This new system competes with fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M. It will be interesting to see how a higher end brand’s version of fast fashion will compare to lower end brands.

  9. This is such a big step in the fashion industry because fast fashion stores like Zara and H&M have been recreating designs right after they get off the runway and then selling them at a much lower price for very long. This has obviously been affecting the fashion designers but it seems now there is a way for them to get back. It will be incredibly hard for stores like Zara to compete with their new See Now-Buy Now system of starting sales only hours after the runway. This is a big change in the fashion industry and places will be effected.

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