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Retailer insight: Jigsaw chief's secret truth about 'see now, buy now'

Why the shake-up of the catwalk calendar model works for Jigsaw chief executive Peter Ruis

Peter Ruis

Jigsaw made its London Fashion Week debut on 16 September. In so doing, we joined the “see now, buy now” frenzy around fashion weeks by streaming live and launching our product range simultaneously. We were three days before Burberry, which also chose to combine men’s and women’s wear this season. Fantastic global brands such as Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford had already set the ball rolling at New York Fashion Week the week before.

The success is already there to see, in the form of thousands of clicks and immediate sell-outs

I believe it is the right thing to do in a digital world where the consumer is king and nobody wants to wait for anything. Why should they?

The success is already there to see, in the form of thousands of clicks and immediate sell-outs. However, there is a secret we are probably not supposed to share: it is also, by a distance, far easier to do it this way.

In a world where we have so much more to do as a brand, driven by globalisation of markets and rampant ecommerce, “see now, buy now” alleviates a huge amount of process and complexity. Brands like us – and, of course, Burberry and Ralph Lauren – are driven by a direct retail model through our own stores, websites and concessions.

We can now put on to the catwalk a bulk delivery of product that has had all the advantages of an extra six months in gestation. All the kinks and quality issues from sampling are ironed out, and with a perfect trim pack. Furthermore, a complete size set is available to adapt to our model choice and any VIPs we should want to dress at the same time.

For Jigsaw, it ensures there is no “fluff and filler” – bespoke pieces that never find their way to the consumer as their predicted sell-through may be too low – on the catwalk. Everything is now a “commitment” and much better for it, as the impact has to be created with confidence and certainty, not just a nod to a press call-out.

One thing does not change: the product must be amazing. You are so much more visible and “good” just won’t cut it.

One thing does not change: the product must be amazing

Our strategy at London Fashion Week reflects several ways we have chosen to convey the bold new Jigsaw. For me, communication is constantly about the perfect diet of old and new. Most of us still need bricks and mortar – we open our new Emporium at St James’s Market this week – but they have to be experiential and innovative, not just cavernous purveyors of volume.

We need to produce reams of digital and social content, whether prose, photography or film, but we still believe there is a place for old-school media. We recently launched the fourth edition of our Style & Truth glossy magazine, which has the totally self-indulgent touch of real swatches inside. And of course at London Fashion Week, we still believe there is a place for a wonderful catwalk show and a live orchestra, but it has to touch our customers directly through live streaming and social media.

Fashion weeks remain as relevant as ever, more democratic, of course, more multi-faceted, but still a wonderful celebration of our industry and the way we all come together to support it.


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