Zara, H&M + the internet have killed the catwalk.
Why? Because there’s a lag – of up to 6 months – between the showing (fashion week) and buying in luxury fashion. This gives fast fashion the ability to copy straight from the catwalk – viewed online- and have the goods in store, at a lower price – quicker than the true fashion innovators showing at Paris, NYC, London or Milan Fashion Week.
The pressure Zara and H&M have placed on traditional luxury brands has been most felt by their creative directors. The most outspoken being Raf Simons, who recently left Dior, and said: ‘ there’s not enough time for creative enterprise’.
The fashion world has been grappling with this problem over the last couple of years – and it seems it’s finally willing to try new ways of working. First off the list is Burberry and Tom Ford, who both plan to show their mens and womens collections at the same time in September and have the clothes ready to purchase immediately after.
As the legendary designer Tom Ford put it:
‘(the see-now, buy-later model is) an antiquated idea that no longer makes sense…Our customers today want a collection that is immediately available. We spend an enormous amount of money and energy to stage an event that creates excitement too far in advance of when the collection is available to the consumer. Showing the collection as it arrives in stores will remedy this, and allow the excitement that is create by a show or event to drive sales and satisfy our customer’s increasing desire to have their clothes as they are ready to wear them’.
Just another example of how businesses models have to adapt in this new era of internet-enabled retail.