Yesterday morning, every fashion outlet in my Twitter and Instagram feeds were buzzing with the breaking news that Burberry is planning to align its runway and retail calendars. This was a huge deal to myself and my colleagues, but it might not be apparent what it even means if you’re not familiar with how the fashion cycle works. Here’s a snippet of the article I wrote for Stylight.com about why Burberry’s decision is important for the future of fashion week.
Like many other big-name brands, Burberry has typically hosted biannual menswear and womenswear shows at the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter London Fashion Weeks, resulting in a total of four shows per year. At these shows, designers send clothing down the runway that won’t be available for another six months.
This way of doing things made sense in the early days of fashion week, when it served as a way to privately show press and buyers design samples before they had been produced in bulk for the public. But the advent of the Internet has rendered this approach increasingly unwieldy. When collections are hyped online six months prior, consumers get bored by the time the clothing is finally available.
This is why Burberry’s move—to present runway shows that are shoppable the instant they finish—is a smart one. It allows for the brand to capitalize on the buzz created by the shows, and caters to customers who want to shop immediately. Additionally, Burberry is terming the two collections simply “September” and “February,” which removes the awkwardness of pushing an “Autumn/Winter” collection that may debut in 90-degree weather in parts of the global market…
So what does this mean on a practical level? For the fashion-loving public, it means a lot more intuitive timeline—you’ll see Burberry clothing on Instagram about the time of year that you’re hankering to buy it, rather than half a year before that. For buyers, it may mean viewing the clothing prior to the public in a more low-key way, without all the spectacle and fanfare that accompanies a runway show. Other industry professionals may be affected more negatively, like those who work at print magazines and require press samples six months ahead of the shopping cycle for editorial purposes.
Right now, these runway reforms are only being carried out by a small handful of brands. But if the model proves an effective one for major players, it won’t be surprising if the idea catches on. And if it does? Maybe all of NYFW will open to the public rather than being an invite-only affair, a la Givenchy in 2015. The CFDA has already been looking into the idea, and it’s not hard to imagine it coming to be.
Read the full article here.