Why are autumn campaigns already releasing? The fashion industry needs a rethink

When did ad campaigns for autumn/winter start launching in May? I returned to my desk today after a couple of weeks travelling to see notifications about ads released from Marc Jacobs, BOSS by Hugo Boss, Roberto Cavalli, Isabel Marant and Mango, to name a few. That’s far earlier than normal. Late June used to be the first release, and it would tend to be from Burberry.

Ciara-Roberto-Cavalli-Fall-Winter-2015

Ciara for Roberto Cavalli A/W 15/16

In some instances, those already out seemed to have been leaked, but in others, these have been legitimate announcements. Perhaps it’s indicative of a certain number of designers trying to beat the rest of the industry to the punch – after all, there comes a time each season when yet another campaign story across blogs and social media is incredibly tiresome. (Mind you, do read this great post from Lou Stoppard of SHOWstudio last season).

But as a larger issue, this is emblematic of a fundamental problem with the fashion industry, its complicated seasons and their even more confusing timelines.

It is now just June (and may I add the sun has finally started to shine). Spring collections are in-store but heavily on sale, and pre-fall is waiting in the wings, if not already on the shop floor.

Cher-Marc-Jacobs-Fall-2015-Ad-Campaign

Cher for Marc Jacobs A/W 15/16

It goes without saying the majority of consumers are not yet in the mindset for buying winter-wear. Cher in a full-length black embellished skirt and gloves for Marc Jacobs (as above) might turn heads, but unlikely directly impact a sale. Even if it wanted to, it couldn’t yet – that product is not available.

And that’s the point. If fashion weeks are so far off store deliveries as we know (resort collections are coming out thick and fast at present just to confuse matters even more), shouldn’t we be trying to utilise the hype our marketing can also generate to actually lead to conversions. The power of social media would be far better leveraged if the items on show could be clicked and bought – that’s not possible from the catwalk in the majority of cases, but it is from ads. For once we might actually be able to make sense of the lines and when they’re released if so.

At the very least, let’s take these high profile campaigns, their celebrity signings and big production values, and team them up directly with current stock. That would be significantly better than just wistfully hoping a release might drive traffic by association.

Edie-Campbell-Hugo-Boss-Fall-2015-Campaign

Edie Campbell for BOSS by Hugo Boss A/W 15/16

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs