Burberry Combines Men’s & Women’s Show; Plus They’re Making Shows Direct to Consumer

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Burberry Prorsum RTW Spring 2016

Burberry Prorsum RTW Spring 2016

Times has changed and so has fashion. Buyers wants clothes sooner, as soon as they get done viewing the collection at runway shows. The industry is currently debating the future of seasonal fashion. Burberry is adopting a “see now, buy now” model.

The brand will combine its men’s and women’s shows together in two annual runway events (February and September rather than Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter) during London Fashion Week, with ‘seassonless’ collections available to buy immediately after the shows.

Immediately after the show, the full collection of men’s and women’s will be available to buy both online and in-store. Window displays in its stores and media campaigns will change following the show as well.

WWD says, “Burberry’s shift could be the snowflake that begins an avalanche of change as designers, retailers and fashion organizations debate the overheated fashion system; the future of shows; social media; the growing move to mobile and e-commerce shopping from brick-and-mortar, and how to energize a consumer who seems gripped with ennui when it comes to fashion.

“The changes we are making will allow us to build a closer connection between the experience that we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves,” Christopher Bailey, the company’s chief creative and chief executive officer.

Adding, “Our shows have been evolving to close this gap for some time. From live-streams, to ordering straight from the runway, to live social media campaigns, this is the latest step in a creative process that will continue to evolve.”

In an interview with WWD, Bailey said the decision had been evolving naturally. “We began live-streaming in 2008-09 and ever since then we’ve been talking directly to a customer about the collections, about the mood, about the music, about the fashion and about the event. But then we’ve also been saying to the customer, ‘You have to fit into the traditional sector thing,’ and it just didn’t feel right and it hasn’t felt right since the beginning.”

“I told the teams that we can’t expect a customer to understand our timings because, I mean, it’s silly, which is why we did runway made-to-order collections. You can’t talk to a customer and say, ‘We’re really excited, we’re going to stimulate you and inspire you, but you can’t touch it or feel it for another six months.’ In fashion we talk about ‘a moment,’ and what feels right for the moment. And I’ve always battled with that because the moment is when you’re showing it, but then you’ve got to kind of say is it the right moment five or six months down the line? I just struggled with it. So it’s just trying to say to the customers: ‘You’re really important to us. We’re serving you and we need to change our ways rather than expect you to do these things.’”

Asked about the logistics of switching to a buy-now-wear-now business and about the impact the move will have on wholesale and retail partners, Bailey said the process will take time.

“We do not have the answers to everything today. It is certainly new behavior for us, and it will mean that we want to build stronger collaborative partnerships with our wholesale partners because it absolutely is a different way of working. We will be doing things where we invite those partners to see the collection, and that will have to be embargoed. It will just mean a different way of working. But what I love about it is our partners can work with it, they can see it, we can create special packages for them, we can then start saying ‘OK, do we do a special event for your customers where they watch the show live, and then they can shop immediately.’ So then it starts to open up actually a whole new, really exciting world.”

He added that Burberry’s twice-yearly pre-collections will be integrated into the runway event. “Pre will become part of the show, and it will also become part of an earlier delivery. We’re just thinking more about what will we have in the store in September, what will we have in the store in October. It will be more of a capsule, creative capsule approach than just two collections per season,” he said.

Backstage at Burberry Men's RTW Spring 2016

Backstage at Burberry Men’s RTW Spring 2016

Photos Credit: Giovanni Giannoni | Kuba Dabrowski

Source: WWD

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Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email don@dmfashionbook.com Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.