See-Now Buy In Six Months (Or Not)



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Looks from Burberry (left) and Tom Ford’s (right) First Ever See-Now Buy-Now Shows


Every year at this time, the biggest names in fashion are hard at work telling us what we will be wearing in six months, but it seems more and more likely that this will become a thing of the past. In February, Tom Ford cancelled his show and announced that he would be showing the fall line that would have been shown in February in September: the same month it would come to stores. Thus, the much talked about concept of see-now, buy-now was brought to high fashion. Now, that seems pretty simple, but it is in fact quite revolutionary. Consider, when you read a fashion magazine at home, you are seeing the months of work of editors have put in in choosing the best of the best to be presented in their glossy bibles; not to mention the pages and pages of advertisements that had to be shot before those magazines came out. It’s necessary for the pieces to be shown months in advance, so that those who work at magazines, who publicize the collections, have time to create spreads, edit, re-do, re edit, and finally publish. In short, the process takes time, lots of time. Therefore, any sort of instantaneous process all but destroys the traditions of the fashion world, so why is it possible? Why would designers give up the advertising of the magazines, and the careful professional editing of advertising? There seems to be one simple answer: they need to.

We live, and no one more so than the fashion industry, in a world reformed by social media. Bloggers sit front row, take pictures of the shows, and post those pictures on their websites (as do magazines); it doesn’t take much time for a photo to reach the internet. Online editors of all varieties can do what traditional magazines need months for within a week or two. Therefore, in order for pieces not to be forgotten or become irrelevant, they need to be put on sale a lot more quickly. If the people we care about don’t care about the clothing any more (i.e. don’t post about it anymore), why should we? It’s becoming more and more obvious that we are a culture obsessed with instant gratification; we send texts instead of calling, we cannot stand for a web page to load for more than ten seconds, and thousands of people have Amazon prime. We have literally forgotten how to wait. As a result, clothing coming out in six months no longer interests us. What’s the point of something being in style if no one can wear it?Therefore, Tom Ford, along with Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren are leading the rest of the fashion industry with bringing instant gratification into the fashion industry.

So what are the results, and will other brands begin to do the same thing? The answer seems to be more and more likely in the affirmative. Burberry has done spectacularly well with their first see-now, buy-now collection, with some styles from the show running out by noon on the day of the show. Tom Ford did similarly well at the Neiman Marcus and Bergrdorf Goodman stores:

“We had our largest Tom Ford day of the year immediately following his New York show,” revealed Joshua Schulman, president of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus Group International. “Typically, these sales would be spread over many weeks as the deliveries arrive piecemeal. The immediacy of being able to buy immediately after the show, combined with the impact of seeing the whole collection on the floor at once, gave our customers a sense of urgency to buy now … Bergdorf Goodman reported “a strong halo effect across the [Tom Ford] brand including women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, accessories and beauty,” said Schulman. “What surprised us was how the event spurred awareness of the brand to a wider audience, including those buying beauty or eyewear for a piece of the dream.” Via

However, one interesting piece of that quote is the idea that “these sales would be spread over many weeks,” we don’t know yet, if as more inventory is brought in, the sales will somewhat continue to stay as high as they are now, or if we are now living in an era where rather than having constant sales throughout a year, there is a high peak following a show, and lows for the rest of the season. In regards to the Tommy Hilfiger x Gigi Hadid show, similar results to the Burberry and Tom Ford shows were reported:

“Later that same day (of the show), several of the under-$100 pieces were already sold out online. Now, a solid portion of what’s on is either sold out entirely or only available in very limited sizes.” – Via

Ralph Lauren had similar success, with high sales, though not as high as Tom Ford or Burberry.

Brands who have already experimented with the idea of see-now, buy-now, including Rebecca Minkoff and Topshop Unique have also done quite well, indicating that perhaps the hype of the idea of see-now, buy-now, was not the only driving force behind the sales upticks, but perhaps that see-now, buy-now is the new way to shop and that it is here to stay. A large question the fashion industry once again has to discuss is the relevence of print magazines, many adore them, and vehemently argue that they are a necessity of the fashion industry, but do they still fulfill their objectives, or will they have to come up with a new purpose?

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