Digital has irrevocably transformed fashion weeks, is it finally time to change the model?

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Over the past few weeks and months, fashion brands Matthew Williamson, Hunter, Rebecca Minkoff and Thakoon (to name a few) have made strategic decisions that will not only redefine their business models, but impact the fashion industry as a whole.

Each of them has opted to either withdraw from participating in fashion week, or make their fashion week endeavour a more consumer-facing experience.

At the heart of such plans lies the challenge that social media has presented. As Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion and store presentation director at Bergdorf Goodman, told WWD: “We give [the customer] shearling coats in June when she’s just starting to think about shorts. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to create excitement and buzz for beautiful products and brand image with runway shows, allowing fast retail to copy it within weeks, while it takes us five months to get deliveries to her. By then, she’s tired of it because it’s been seen in too many posts and images. If you described the fashion cycle from a marketing, seasonality, desire/fulfillment perspective to anyone with any common sense, they would look at you like you were crazy.”

Needless to say, the industry is slowly but surely feeling the need to do something about it. Read the full in-depth story via Forbes, where experts weigh in on whether shifting to a direct-to-consumer model is something that makes sense across the board, or a fit for more contemporary, commercial brands compared to their heritage, Paris-based counterparts. One thing’s for sure, it’s a debate that will take some time to resolve.