London Style Week: Taste able now, no longer later
This year’s London Fashion Week featured snakeskin trench coats, ornate shirts, dazzling metallic dresses – and some hubbub – with Burberry deciding to put its catwalk-inspired styles into shops right away instead of waiting six months to please its fashion-crazed fans.
It was a sartorial move that created quite a stir one at this annual fashion fest, causing consternation among smaller designers that say they’ll be unable to compete with the bigger, more revered names.
Burberry’s daring decision comes as luxury brands are trying to find a way to meet increasing consumer demands. This speaks to our “give it to us now” society, as consumers want everything yesterday, and are unwilling to wait on the traditional timelines (or even tradition, sometimes).
“The whole collection is already lined (in-store) for people to see and touch and feel. And if they want to, they can order it and we will deliver it as quickly as possible,” Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s CEO, told Reuters.
Maybe it’s the Amazon effect. Maybe it’s because retailers have gotten better at shipping and fulfillment.
“Customers buy now to wear now,” Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing told Reuters. “They understand shopping in the moment and those are the clothes that they are looking for, so I applaud these moves. I hope more do it, it’s the future of our industry.”
Of course, this is all a gamble on the big brands’ part. The smaller houses worry that creating products without seeing customers’ reactions could result in less lead time and a lot of excess inventory – which will result in added costs for them to do business.
Jackie Lee, a London-based Korean designer, told Reuters, “As a small, designer brand, we get the orders from buyers, put them into production, wait for the fabric, and deliver” so it needs to time to prepare.
Other designers expressed similar concerns, especially being able to find the funds to begin making the shift to the “see now, buy now” model.
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