The traditional fashion show calendar came under threat this week, as Burberry and Tom Ford announced plans to align their catwalk shows with retail deliveries.
Burberry spring 16
From London Fashion Week in September, Burberry will host two combined women’s and men’s catwalk shows each year. The “seasonless” collections will be available for consumers to buy immediately after the event. The label currently runs four annual shows that fit in with the conventional retail buying calendar.
Tom Ford, meanwhile, has cancelled his next New York Fashion Week show, which was due to take place later this month, and will instead debut his autumn 16 collection in September, when customers can buy it.
It comes after US accessory designer Rebecca Minkoff announced in December that her New York Fashion Week presentation later this month will feature products that are already available to buy, or will be in the next 30-45 days.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, which organises London Fashion Week, has said she expects a number of UK brands to move to a similar model over the next few seasons.
“The BFC executive board has been talking for some time about fashion shows better connecting to consumers and being a direct driver for retail sales,” she told Drapers.
Silas Adler, the founder of Danish contemporary brand Soulland, which shows at London Collections Men, raised questions about how smaller brands could make the change if they rely on wholesale rather than their own retail channels.
“I just don’t see how the logistics can be transferred to a smaller brand, which is very dependent on wholesale. Stock logistics is the main killer of fashion brands and with this new system it will be very hard to control your stock.”
LFW knitwear designer Markus Lupfer said: “I think it is really important that the fashion industry has recognised this shift and is re-thinking its calendar to better align shows and presentations with retail. This is a really exciting time for fashion at the moment.”
Korean menswear designer Eudon Choi, who also shows at LFW, said: “It is an interesting concept as the shows these days are so hyped and I feel like they have a very short life due to internet and social media. I think it is now important to maintain hype around a show when the collection is actually hitting stores.
“I’m not quite sure though if changing the timing of the catwalk shows to be more in line with the retail schedule is the right solution. I’m quite old school so I would hate to think of fashion week changing too much.”