Rebecca Minkoff is selling the designs right away online. Her hashtag: #SeeBuyWear. Burberry has plans to ditch the time-honored tradition of showcasing clothes six months before the season they are meant for sale. Beginning this fall, it will increase its focus on seasonless clothes and make its designs available as soon as the models show it off. The company also plans to combine its men’s and women’s lines in a single show.
Diane von Furstenberg skipped the runway format altogether, offering an immersive experience that offers a vision of the shape of shows to come.
“This is a huge moment for the industry,” Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency at the London College of Fashion said. “The industry for some time has been moving in this direction.”
The Council of Fashion Designers of America, a non-profit trade organization, has asked The Boston Consulting Group to study the future of fashion shows, “with the aim of fixing what many industry experts consider a broken system that confuses consumers.”
Drinkwater said all sorts of changes are on the table, including the possibility of virtual fashion shows where consumers would be able to digitally try on the clothes.
The changing face of fashion is clear at Burberry, which shows in London on Monday. Christopher Bailey, who is both the company’s CEO and chief creative, announced his plan to slash the time it takes for customers to obtain items they see on the runway.
Designers have broadened the audience for fashion using tools such as “livestreaming, Instagramming, or showing online,” Bailey told the Business of Fashion, a website that covers the industry.
“You’re creating all this energy around something, and then you close the doors and say, ‘Forget about it now because it won’t be in the stores for five or six months,'” he said. “The reality is that, today, we’re bombarded with images, film and music. To try to recreate the energy that you created five or six months ago, you’ve got to just question how relevant it is.”
The clothes in Burberry’s future shows will be immediately available both in store and online. The move into digital has been Bailey’s trademark, and his success or failure in making it work could have big consequences for the business.