US designers are adopting the "show-now, shop-now" trend during New York fashion week that allows consumers to buy designs straight from the catwalk. Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger are among those that have followed British fashion house Burberry in making new styles available to buy immediately. Most shows are now live-streamed and featured on social media. That has prompted some labels to show designs for the coming autumn/winter rather than next year's summer ranges. Not having to wait for glossy fashion magazines to feature the latest designs has helped to make consumers less content to accept delays of several months before they can buy them.
Today, in London, the fashion house Burberry sends its newest collection down the runway. Immediately afterward, any shopper with access to a browser (and a few thousand bucks) will be able to purchase what she's just seen. Which is neat, if you're the kind of person who obsesses about clothes--because six months used to sit between you, runway shows, and the mannequins in your local department store. This is the "see-now, buy-now" model, and it--more than any silhouette, textile, or oblique cultural reference--is the reigning innovation of the 2016 fashion season. Ralph Lauren staged his New York Fashion Week show outside his Madison Avenue store, which turned out to be fully stocked with the day's runway designs.
"We're definitely in a new era," says designer Adam Lippes. As fashion month kicked off in New York on Wednesday, Lippes is participating in this new era of which he speaks as the latest designer to jump on the see-now, buy-now trend. See-now, buy-now is a new concept where the consumer "sees" the clothes come down the runway and can purchase them immediately after. As such, one look from Lippes' eponymous line will be available immediately for purchase after his Fashion Week presentation tomorrow via a video created with the e-commerce site, Farfetch. The video will be distributed across both the designer's and the e-commerce site's digital and social platforms.
And then there were four. Of the five major brands that have beat the drum for see-now-buy-now within the last 12 to 18 months, one has drastically shifted course from the strategy in the last two weeks, specifically Tom Ford. That leaves Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry and Rebecca Minkoff as the main poster children for the movement. The industry at large was never wholly sold on the idea of see-now-buy-now, so how does Ford's defection bode for it? Ford alone might not be enough to scare off the power brands that have embraced the concept, but there is a growing sense that the momentum that drove see-now-buy-now into the zeitgeist for the September 2016 shows has dwindled. For now, all of the remaining designers who have implemented see-now-buy-now fashion shows are planning to go forward with them, at least in the short term.