See Now Buy Now or See No Buy No?

The See Now Buy Now model is quickly becoming an effective marketing strategy for some designers, yet industry leaders are still unsure about fully embracing the new model. Fashion is built on innovation, but recent talk of changes to the industry model has created two sides of an evolution coin—those in favor of change and those opposed. To better form an opinion about the fashion industry’s future course, it is necessary to understand what changes are taking place and why they are crucial to our time.

The traditional fashion calendar has been in place for decades—designers present their collections and several months later they hit stores for us—the public—to purchase. However, this Fashion Week system has proven to be inadequate. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) just released the results from the Boston Consulting Group’s study of the direction of the fashion industry. In short, it says members of the fashion industry agree that the See Now Buy Now model is the logical next step. Adopting this model means collections would be on the market as soon as they hit the runway.

Designer Azzedine Alaia publicly rejected the model, believing the fashion industry is moving too fast. He does not intend to change his fashion calendar, insisting that quality takes time. Alaia’s opinion aligns with Karl Lagerfeld’s; however, fashion houses like Tom Ford and Burberry are welcoming of the change.

Ford, who previously disapproved of globally broadcasted shows, announced his embrace of immediate fashion this past February.

“Our customers today want a collection that is immediately available,” Ford said. “Fashion shows and the traditional fashion calendar, as we know them, no longer work in the way that they once did.”

Like Burberry, Ford will debut his fall 2016 women’s and men’s collections this September, at which time they will be sold in stores and online.

A major reason in deciding to change the model is our reliance on social media. More brands are using social networks as their platform for success. A prime example, Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing has used Instagram and his Kardashian connections to create his #BalmainArmy. Unheard of before, Burberry shot an exclusive campaign on Snapchat before its fashion show, which was live-streamed on the app as well.

In a statement, Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative and chief executive officer, supported fashion’s use of technology.

“From live-streams 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,” Bailey said.

Advances in technology are a constant norm across all business types. Thus it is no surprise that the fashion industry is negotiating a compromise with this new form of marketing. What many may fail to realize is that despite the new model’s accessibility, aesthetic and artistry will stay at the fashion industry’s core. The new fashion calendar does not sacrifice these principles; rather, it simply expands the industry’s appeal and reach. 

Medardo Perez is a staff writer. Email him at violetvision@nyunews.com.

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