The internet has put instant gratification – or at least the ability to be able to buy anything we want at any time that we want – at the tip of all of our fingers, and the logical extension of the “See Now, Buy Now” model is reshaping the fashion industry, although not all designers are thrilled with these changes and some have even decried them as “the death of creativity” for the fashion industry.
A new study from Fashionbi, entitled “See-Now, Buy Now: How Is the Industry Adapting To Fashion’s Newest Movement?” examines how the new trend is shattering the age-old assumption that costumers had to wait at least five or six months or even a year after seeing an item they liked on the runway until they could finally purchase it in stores.
Instead, as the study points out, many designers and labels are trying out a new trend by developing “samples” of their clothes and products to be shown on the runway and at buyer appoints before the collection is mass-manufactured; the “samples” allow designers to receive feedback from retailers, consumers and the media before they go into mass production, potentially allowing a designer to "tweak" a product even after it has appeared on the runway.
“A new sensation has emerged in the industry of fashion and luxury and the opinions are split between excitement and skepticism,” the study points out. “See Now Buy Now is the ‘Pretail’ model where what's on the runway is immediately made available in stores - closing the gap between the catwalk and retail.”
Many designers and brands are eagerly embracing this new approach, such as Burberry's CEO Christopher Bailey, who welcomes “See Now, Buy Now” as helping to build a stronger bond between consumers and the brands that they purchase.
“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,” Bailey is quoted in the study as saying.
In order to adopt to the “See Now, Buy Now” trend, Burberry has shifted the schedule of its fashion shows to match the season, and it also allows consumers to purchase some items immediately after they appear on the runway and ships them out several weeks later.
DVF is another brand experimenting with this new approach, according to the study. The brand offered several pieces from its upcoming Fall 2016 collection immediately after unveiling the collection at a fashion show in mid-February. A black and white slip dress worn by Gigi Hadid on the runway that day was made available to purchase for $428, and DVF publicized the availability of the dress through its various social media accounts, linking back to the page on its website where the dress could be purchased whenever possible.
Other brands who have adopted some form of the “See Now, Buy Now” model include Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Madewell and Rebecca Minkoff.
But, as the study notes, not all brands and designers are fully on board the “See Now, Buy Now” bandwagon.
“Traditional French and Italian houses argue that the instant purchase policy will pose as death of creativity and kill the concept of desirable luxury,” the study notes.
Karl Lagerfeld calls the “See Now, Buy Now” trend a “mess” and says the rushed process and product will not equal a quality product.
“The reality is that you have to give people the time to make their choices, to order the clothes or handbags, and to produce them beautifully so that editors can photograph them,” Lagerfeld is quoted as saying. “If not, that’s the end of everything.”
Other designer labels reluctant to jump on board include Dolce&Gabbana, Lanvin and Loewe.
Another positive that brands who have adopted the “See Now, Buy Now” approach tout is the ability to avoid fast-fashion copies or knockoffs of their clothes from hitting the shelves in the year or so it takes to take them from the runway to mass production.
Whether or not the “See Now, Buy Now” trend sticks around or ends up being just another fashion fad remains to be seen, but it is already empowering consumers and energizing and enraging certain luxury labels.