This New York Fashion Week brought us our biggest taste of the evolving industry yet. Labels such as Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger both brought us the future of buying: the see now buy now model. Instead of a six month waiting period to be able to purchase clothes from the show, collections are available as instantaneously as the moment the look exits the catwalk.
Ralph Lauren’s collection was available online, in stores, and in certain boutiques as soon as the clothes were shown. Even more revolutionary is the concept that since the shows are no longer a season in advance, the collections are for the season that it’s actually becoming. This was the Autumn/Winter 2016 show for many who opted to take on the new form.
Rebecca Minkoff held her show outside one of her locations right on the cobblestone street, and the clothes were inside the store ready to be shopped by all as soon as the show closed. Tommy Hilfiger, to release his collaboration with Gigi Hadid, created “Tommy Pier” at South Street Seaport. A show in conjunction with a carnival that had rides, food carts, and even a tattoo parlor. Even Tom Ford’s collection, while displayed traditionally, was online immediately and in store the next day.
One may assume that this is raising alarm throughout designers, that this may be a pressure they can’t handle. But those assumptions are wrong. Both Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren welcome to trend with open arms. When discussing this change, Karen said:
“In the world of communication today, as a designer and a customer, I was frustrated because I could see the clothes but I couldn’t buy them yet.” -Donna Karen
Her collection Urban Zen has been see now buy now since its conception in 2006. Then Burberry said it would be doing both a coed and see now buy now runway show earlier this year, and the ball started to roll. Now Thakoon and Michael Kors are among other brands who have take the risk.
Even more enthusiastic about the future of this method is Ralph Lauren himself, who said:
“Showing clothes, then delivering them six months later with the Internet, social media . . . you have to change.”
While many look to millennials and social media for the blame, which we;;ll get to, the real mess stem from the rise of fast fashion. Why would you wait six months get new Calvin pinstripe trousers, when we can get almost the exactly same at Zara that same week for cheaper. Priorities are shifting. We want what we want, and immediately.
Power is being brought from the magazine editors and buyers and brought to the consumers and influencers of the world. They are deciding what they want to wear. Bloggers and personalities are bigger than ever. By the time a buyer analyzes trends and forms a comprehensive plan, they are going to be behind on trends that can be there and gone in a second. Likewise, by the time a magazine releases an article telling the top trends of a certain season or event, it’s old hat, completely replaced by something else.
This is mostly an American concept. Yes British brand Burberry is taking part, but none of the Italian or French powerhouses like Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, etc. Many European influences actually want to add more fashion weeks to the official calendar, such as Pre-fall and Resort, instead. But ironically, the European designers are the ones seeing massive overhauls at their houses in terms of head designers and creative directors.
Regardless of these cultural differences, the effects may be this discourse and a shift of power, but the rise of fast fashion is not the only cause. Though it does also reflect our society’s need for instant gratification. Why do we suddenly hesitate to purchase that amazing top we found when we learn we have to order another size? It has free shipping, it’s the perfect top, but, we want it now.
Instant gratification comes in the form of social media. But not in the cheesy “fishing for Facebook likes” way people stereotype it with. We are connected with people, news, culture, dates, and more immediately. We are a people constantly on the move, commuting, hustling, juggling jobs, relationships, internships, school, family, etc. We don’t have six months to wait. That simply doesn’t fit into our lifestyles anymore.
People like Ralph Lauren understand this. Change, while daunting, isn’t a bad thing. We’ve learned that in our social progression, medical advances, basically everywhere. Fashion is simply just catching up with the rest of our lives. And let’s be honest: It’s still a four thousand dollar jacket only a wealthy few can buy, so if anything they’re just getting it sooner, and Zara can’t make any knock offs. Seems like a win-win to me.
Article by Cassandra Gagnon for The Untitled Magazine.