Model- Revamping the way today’s Fashion Retail Model works or just a quick Fad?
Is the See Now Buy Now model one of fashion’s greatest upheaval since the era Skinny Jeans and Juicy Couture Jeggings?
The model is indeed forcing retail giants to re-shape their strategy and for luxury/ premium brands to go faster than ever in the history of fashion production.
It’s also hard to say if fashion runways have become an entertainment stunt instead of a media slash commercial activity as more brands are shifting their focus from the runway to private media previews and other channels.
As Alexa Chung stated for Vogue UK, the runway is still important for status and the ego (she laughs), many believe it will lead to new commercial transformations where the concept of showcasing « next season » items will become something of the mere past. « See Now Buy Now » is hitting a seriously boggle-some direction for large retailers who’ve been working with the same logistical processes for more than two decades where now they are forced to seek the quick alternative of having must-have on the runway items available to order in real time.
Balenciaga SS17-Bleggings –Photo from Elle UK
Apart from the more digital trends driving pressure on faster trends, many brands are also merging women and menswear fashion show into one where Balenciaga and social media phenomenon, Vetements, are a few examples of brands doing this. With two collections interacting together, many media forecast more timeless trends to enter the catwalks in order to create a more uniform and coherent visual collection between men and women. That being said, I really hope that we won’t end up seeing too overly commercial pieces dominating the runways as this would leave no room for inspiring editorials and savvy creative trends, making both brands and consumers evolve.
Vetements SS17 –photo from Dazed and NSS
If we look at the traditional and current fashion environment, usually the most powerful luxury brands (who usually do couture) create strong “masterpieces” that end up trickling down to 2nd, 3rd and lower level retailers, it’s the same concept as early adopters and lagers.
For this reason, luxury brands release their collections six months beforehand allowing trends to be digested and accepted by filtering their way through different levels of the industry from editors, buyers, mass brands down to the consumer. On the other hand, this gives fast-fashion retailers a pre-overview on how to copy the same look much faster hindering the opportunity costs of sales for luxury brands (as the modern consumer has no more patience to wait six months when they can buy a cheaper copy-cat while hitting the trends).
To face the challenges, brands even as traditional as Ralph Lauren to uber-sexy Tom Ford, Americana Michael Kors, Thakoon and Rebecca Minkoff have recently jumped into the “See Now, Buy Now” movement. Probably one of the biggest successes this for SS17 was #TommyXGigi ‘s ability to combine both the hefty wallets of Gigi’s +22 million Instafans base as well as creating a commercially superb, immediate to buy, capsule collection through an entertaining show. Adidas Originals X Alexander Wang’s SS17 collection, a twist on sports lux and the 90’s is also selling out already (according to SELF US).
Tommy X Gigi
Alexander Wang X Adidas SS17
But what does this mean for KOL’s?
In the general spectrum of things, other than the fact that the catwalks acting as a trade show – commercial fair has become obsolete; today’s purpose of creating shows is now leaning towards obtaining a wider audience where for Givenchy’s SS16 NYC show, the Maison created 820 seats reserved for the public on a first come first serve basis.
We can also presume that more brands in the future, like Chanel, Moschino, and Givenchy are currently doing, will start opening their shows to the public (either physically or virtually). The need for media and public attention for shows has become more important than ever before in order to create immediate conversion. Hence, brands really need the support of KOL’s and digital media in order to positively impact and influence at a fast rate the public where timeliness’ will become crucial.
If the industry will go forwards with this direction, I believe that a mix of the public’s opinion towards the collection and who can amplify best their brand with the shortest time frame will become key ingredients to prosper this new retail upheaval.
Article created for FASHION STATEMENT ASIA