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Editor's pick Events technology

7 tech activations that stood out this fashion week season

Brands are constantly evolving their approach to tech during fashion week. This season we saw designers reinvent the show space yet again by using tools including artificial intelligence, LED sets and mixed reality powered by 5G to create memorable (and shareable) experiences for their guests.

Here are seven of the most interesting ways brands did so…

Rag & Bone’s AI guest
Rag & Bone’s “The Last Supper”

Rag & Bone decided to throw a fashion week dinner with one very special attendee: an artificial intelligence system designed by artist and creative technologist, Ross Goodwin. At “The Last Supper”, guests sat at a U-shaped table while their conversations and actions were filmed and analyzed by a series of cameras. Towards the end of the event, the guests were treated to a video that showed the AI’s view of their dinner party interspersed with models wearing Rag & Bone’s new collection.

Central Saint Martin’s mixed reality show powered by 5G
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show

Mixed reality animations illuminated looks designed by MA students from Central Saint Martins university for their annual showcase during London Fashion Week. Imagine lightning bolts, skulls and even tiger heads beaming/ moving around the models. The university teamed up with mobile network, Three, and creative agency, Rewind, to bring the animations to life. 10 attendees, including Jourdan Dunn and Natalie Dormer, sported Magic Leap’s One mixed reality headsets, while others could see the animations on screens around the catwalk. “The future of design and fashion is intrinsically linked with the evolution of tech and we are seeing more and more disruptive and innovative technologies shaking up the way the design and fashion industries operate,” said Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins.

Gucci and Saint Laurent’s LED runways
Gucci’s Fall Winter 2019 Fashion Show

LED bulbs decorated the runways of two major shows: Gucci and Saint Laurent, this season. As an experiment in futurism, both hosted mirrored LED runways that further illuminated their colorful garments. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele installed more than 120,000 LED bulbs to cover the walls around the 100-meter long circular runway for his Milan fashion show. The kaleidoscope of lights created a dramatic and theatrical experience for show-goers. Meanwhile, Anthony Vaccarello turned the Saint Laurent showspace into a runway rave in Paris. Wearing glow-in-the-dark shoes and garments, models strutted down the catwalk alongside hundreds of pulsing bulbs and infinity mirrors.

Real-time shopping at 11 Honoré
11 Honore fashion show
11 Honore NYFW show

There are always new ways to innovate even when using long since established technologies like QR codes.The luxury, size-inclusive ecommerce retailer, 11 Honoré, created the ultimate see-now-buy-now experience for its New York Fashion Week debut, enabling guests to shop the runway through a lookbook distributed to them containing QR codes. Using their phone to scan the codes, attendees could then purchase looks in real time. This was part of a partnership with Shopify, which wanted to showcase yet another functionality for mobile shopping.

Christian Siriano’s crowdsourced feedback
Christian Siriano RTW F19
Christian Siriano RTW Fall 19 show

To make fashion more accessible, designer Christian Siriano decided to take advantage of crowdsourcing and let the audience vote in real time on the looks on his New York runway. To do this, he partnered with SAP technologies to create an app that allowed both attendees and remote viewers to select if they “liked” or “loved” the looks. Powered by machine learning, the app was able to identify looks regardless of show order changes because the design team had uploaded stock images of each one into the app prior to the event. This created a more direct connection between the customers and the designer. According to WWD, the SAP runway app was previously piloted by Badgley Mischka, and there are potential plans for further rollout during September’s fashion week season.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Instagram Stories templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates

Tommy Hilfiger partnered with mobile app Unfold on an Instagram Stories template collection that was released during the brand’s show for Paris Fashion Week. To spice up their Instagram Stories, users could choose from 15 limited-edition templates when uploading photos and videos. Designs included variations of the Tommy Hilfiger logo, as well as colorful prints exclusive to the Tommy Hilfiger’s spring 2019 TommyXZendaya collection, which features 22-year-old actress and singer Zendaya.

Rebecca Minkoff’s audience-driven social campaign
Rebecca Minkoff Runway SS19
Rebecca Minkoff Spring/Summer 19 show

With social sharing front of mind, Rebecca Minkoff’s New York show saw guests able to be part of a digital collage created by artist Rosanna Webster, who designed the brand’s female empowerment campaign “I Am Many”. As a way to incorporate them into the campaign, guests took selfies with a camera that worked as a portable photobooth. These photos were then worked into a collage that appeared in a mini-video inspired by Rebecca Minkoff’s brand campaign. The experience was meant to promote brand awareness and generate ROI. According to the designer, fashion shows aren’t just about posting pictures, but also a way for the consumer to embrace the experience. “Today, the [fashion] landscape isn’t about commerce; it’s about experience and standing for what you believe in; consumers want to be in a tribe,” Minkoff herself said.  

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more. 


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business Editor's pick Uncategorized

H&M forgoes fashion week for three-day immersive theater format

H&M is set to introduce its SS19 Studio collection on a three-day trip to the desert in Sedona, Arizona, forgoing its yearly Paris Fashion Week show. The collection, launching on March 11, will be unfolded in front of key influencers and members of the global press through a series of immersive events taking place during the trip, casting guests as active participants. 

“H&M has always been an innovation-led company and we are proud to launch the H&M Studio SS19 collection, with this new format,” said Kattis Barhke, H&M’s head of creative marketing and communication. “We hope that our guests will have a unique experience, partaking in the immersive theatre set-up and narrative we have devised, and that our customers will in turn be able to see the new collection, which combines practical utility pieces with glamorous after-dark options, in a context of wanderlust.”

The Swedish brand worked alongside London-based creativity agency Sunshine, creative and production agency PRODJECT and creative consultant Connie Harrison to develop the experience.

“Many fashion brands are moving towards creating fashion shows that are more experiential, but this is the first time a brand has fully embraced theater and invited guests to come along with them,” adds Keith Baptista, co-founder and managing director at PRODJECT. “We have devised a fictional narrative with multiple layers, so that participants can engage with the story on either a basic or much deeper level. Above all, we want to celebrate the spirituality, beauty and sense of exploration connected with Sedona, Arizona with an event that is truly unique.”

H&M’s move further questions the once-unanimous importance of the official fashion week calendar, which has been losing strength year after year as brands release collections beyond the traditional bi-seasonal model and consumers become more accustomed with see-now-buy-now. Tommy Hilfiger is another great example of a brand that is launching its collections by creating unique moments beyond the noise of fashion week. So far, its TOMMY NOW catwalk experience has traveled to New York, Los Angeles, London, Milan and Shanghai.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns Events technology

Victoria Beckham to livestream LFW show on Piccadilly Circus screens

Victoria Beckham will be livestreaming on Piccadilly Circus
Victoria Beckham will be livestreaming on Piccadilly Circus

Victoria Beckham is set to livestream her A/W 2018 London Fashion Week show on Piccadilly Circus’s iconic digital screens as part of the label’s 10-year anniversary celebration.

This occasion also marks the first time that the Piccadilly Circus 4K advertising screens, known as Piccadilly Lights, will be streaming live content.

This Sunday (September 16) at exactly 9:25am, the screens will light up with a video celebrating Victoria Beckham’s 10-year tenure in fashion, after which at 9:32am the show will be broadcasted live from its location at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac gallery in London.

For the past week, the brand has been teasing Piccadilly Circus pedestrians with a rotation of three images showing Beckham inside a shopping bag, paying homage to a 2008 Marc Jacobs ad where she did the same. The images are all part of the brand’s upcoming advertising campaign.

Beckham’s intention behind the live show is to connect with her audience in a whole new way. That is also why she will be spending quality time with customers on a one-to-one basis at her Dover Street flagship after the fashion show.

A selection of this season’s accessories, jewelry and shoes will be exclusively available for purchase on Saturday, one day ahead the show, on VictoriaBeckham.com as well as at the Dover Street and Hong Kong stores. Customers will also be able to purchase a t-shirt featuring a campaign visual.

Are you thinking innovatively enough? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick Retail technology

Mulberry focuses on omnichannel experience with new London flagship

Mulberry's new London flagship
Mulberry’s new London flagship

British luxury label Mulberry is introducing a connected retail experience at its new London flagship store, as part of a wider strategy focused on customer experience.

The brand is working with payments platform, Adyen, and mobile assisted selling platform, Tulip, to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. In store, this will include mobile checkouts and an endless aisle feature, where customers can purchase items that are out-of-stock in-store, online. Additionally the store will also feature click-and-collect and two-hour same-day delivery across Central London.

Using Adyen’s platform, Mulberry will also be able to offer overseas shoppers their preferred local payment methods.

“I’m excited to be opening our new global flagship at 100 Regent Street where we have created a rich and vibrant store concept that brings to life all the elements of British landscape and architecture that inspire us,” said Johnny Coca, the brand’s creative director. “The pace and energy of Regent Street captures the spirit of Mulberry and is the perfect setting to unveil this new chapter of our brand.”

In celebration of the launch and London Fashion Week commencing, Coca and Stephanie Phair, chairman of the BFC, will be co-hosting a supper club this Friday (September 14).

On Saturday (September 15), the brand is inviting customers in-store to enjoy cocktails and become a #MulberryMuse for the AW18 campaign through a bespoke interactive studio that creates customized portraits that are played onto the store windows.

The London flagship launch comes following Mulberry’s major push in Asia earlier this month, through a four-day event in Seoul called “Mulberry x Seoul”. The initiative featured a series of events including a runway show at the K Museum of Contemporary Art showcasing the AW 18/19 collection, which was also broadcast live across social media.

Mulberry’s new London flagship

For the remaining days the same venue also hosted a gala, while customers could further discover the brand through a pop-up store, a selfie studio and films. The initiative also gave brand fans the chance to win gifts and buy a limited edition handbag, which was only available in Korea for two weeks.

“Korea was the second [biggest] country in terms of revenue so it was important to be part of that expansion and to communicate more about the brand and its heritage to the Korean customer,” said Mulberry’s creative director Johnny Coca about the event.

Luxury labels are increasingly looking to diversify their storytelling strategies, and over the past few years this has included taking the brand on the road to markets it has a solid customer base, or a huge potential in. Last week, Tommy Hilfiger hosted its Tommy Now runway event in Shanghai, China. The event acted as an anchor to a content ecosystem that helps customers – who are often new to the brand – better understand its DNA. This strategy and more was the subject of our latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast, featuring Tommy’s chief brand officer, Avery Baker.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick social media technology

Prada enlists computer-generated influencer to promote Fall 18 show

Lil Miquela for Prada Fall 18
Lil Miquela for Prada Fall 18

Prada has worked with Lil Miquela, a computer-generated virtual influencer, to promote its Fall 2018 collection via animated GIFs on Instagram Stories.

To announce the partnership alongside the label’s Milan Fashion Week runway show, Miquela posted a series of short Instagram videos featuring the GIFs, and invited her followers to head to Stories and play. The call to action read: “Go off!! #pradagifs are live in stories! Start posting and tag me.”

Over on Prada’s account, the CGI avatar gave followers a mini tour of the show space, a new Rem Koolhaas venue, while flying a drone around, which she controlled with her phone.

GIFs ranged from inspiration of Prada’s current collection, as well as nods to more archival pieces such as the SS10 flame shoe and the SS11 banana print.

Lil Miquela for Prada Fall 18
Lil Miquela for Prada Fall 18

Miquela Souza, or Lil Miquela, is a virtual version of a 19-year-old Los Angeles based influencer, who boasts over 600k followers on Instagram, and whose creators remain purposively elusive.

Speaking to the Business of Fashion in February, Miquela explains her success: “Initially, it probably stems from curiosity. I think people stick around because they end up learning more about themselves through the questions they’re asking. I love being able to communicate, learn and talk to everyone from all corners of the world. There is a sense of community to it as well, the people who follow me end up being friends with each other and the communications that it opens up is inspiring.”

Since “launching”, the influencer has been seen wearing the likes of Vetements and Proenza Schouler, while her music track “Not Mine” has been played over 100K times on Spotify.

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Editor's pick technology

Dolce & Gabbana’s drones stunt sends flying handbags down the runway at MFW

A drone flies down the runway at Dolce & Gabbana FW18
A drone flies down the runway at Dolce & Gabbana FW18

Dolce & Gabbana staged a tech-filled show in Milan on Sunday as it sent drones down the runway donning next season’s handbags.

One of the biggest marketing stunts of the season so far, the affair kicked off late while the brand waited for all of its 600 guests to turn off their WiFi, indicating in advance that it had a special surprise up its sleeve.

A handful of drones then opened the show by flying along the catwalk from a heavily adorned faux-church facade, each carrying a new color of next season’s bags and guided by assistants in white coats – presumably in place in case anything went wrong. They hovered in place, rotating on the spot, before returning backstage and letting the real show begin.

The label is no stranger to tapping into tech to engage with a millennial audience, with whom it is increasingly turning its focus to. In 2015, it sent models down the runway taking selfies. It has also long focused on enlisting a series of young royals, influencers and famous celebrity heirs to promote the brand through collaborations and runway shows.

This season also marks the second time the label hosted an additional ‘secret’ fashion show, with the aforementioned millennials playing leading roles. On Saturday night at a downtown party spot, the “Secrets & Diamonds” show featured models and selected influencers donning evening wear, including 20-something-year-old members of the British aristocracy, who the next day then watched the drone spectacle from the front row.

Dolce & Gabbana is not the first luxury label to deploy drones to ignite a conversation that one could argue deters from the actual fashion taking place. In 2014, Fendi worked with Unit9 and Google to live-stream its AW14 runway show by using drones that shot models from above. The role of technology as gimmick continues to rule the runway, it would seem.

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data mobile

Badgley Mischka teams up with SAP to launch live NYFW app

Badgley Mischka SS18
Badgley Mischka SS18

American label Badgley Mischka is partnering with enterprise software company SAP to launch a live and interactive app for guests of their upcoming show at New York Fashion Week.

The partnership aims to highlight the evolving relationship between fashion and technology, and how designers rely on the latter to quickly understand and respond to consumer needs.

Available from today (February 9), the app will enable audience members to interact in real-time with the collection, as models walk down the runway. The app will feature details on each look as they come out, with users able to vote whether they ‘like’ or ‘love’ it. All data is relayed live to the designers backstage, and after the show will help inform production and design decisions.

“Fashion is a fast-paced industry — not just during fashion week, but year-round,” said Mark Badgley, co-founder and designer of Badgley Mischka. “Through our work with SAP at New York Fashion Week, we are excited to be receiving real-time insights about our collection from industry insiders and consumers, which will ultimately help us bring these looks to market.”

Following the show on February 13, SAP will host a panel, titled “Demystifying Digital: The Future of Fashion Is Now”, which will discuss how the intersection between fashion and technology will help more effectively reach digitally-connected consumers.

“How brands connect and engage directly with consumers creates the greatest opportunity for business in the 21st century,” said Jen Morgan, executive board member of global customer operations at SAP. “SAP is at the center of helping companies meet this challenge, and we’re thrilled to partner with an iconic brand like Badgley Mischka to showcase how our innovations are shaping the future of retail and connecting businesses, consumers and designers alike.”

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mobile social media technology

Henry Holland’s LCM show instantly shoppable thanks to augmented reality app

House of Holland's augmented reality shopping app in action
House of Holland’s augmented reality shopping app in action

The shoppable runway took on new meaning at House of Holland’s London Collections Men presentation this weekend past, with garments available for purchase straight off the back of models thanks to augmented reality.

The initiative was the result of a partnership between Visa Europe Collab and visual discovery and augmented reality app, Blippar.

Users (in this case Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw and model Rafferty Law) were able to hold their smartphone in front of the desired garment and tap the screen to activate AR technology that would pull up imagery and information about it. They were then able to instantly check out using a pre-registered and prepaid debit or credit card.

“Being able to scan garments through Blippar and purchase them pretty much off [the model’s] back is an amazing technological development and one I have dreamt of as a consumer and a fashion business owner,” said House of Holland founder, Henry Holland.

Visa Europe Collab co-founder Hendrik Kleinsmiede, commented: “Augmented reality has the potential to be transformative for the retail industry. Imagine a future where you can point your phone at a friend’s new outfit with their permission, only for the app to recognise and source that outfit in your size, and give you the option of having it sent straight to your home.”

Indeed, that idea of being able to capture anyone’s outfit and pull up information about where it’s from has long been an appealing one to shoppers. This aims to take that one step closer to reality (albeit a simpler version by being preloaded with truly accurate data thanks to the fact it’s focused on one brand’s products).

The launch at this point is just a proof-of-concept one – meaning it only existed for the moment of the LC:M show – but the aim is to make the technology available to other retailers on a wider scale later this year. Kleinsmiede added that he hopes this virtual shift in traditional shopping behaviour is something we’ll see on the high street very soon.

This was the second time Henry Holland and Visa Europe have worked together. The two collaborated on a wearable technology project in September 2015 that saw items purchased from the brand’s womenswear show during London Fashion Week using a payment ring.

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business Comment

What is going on in Paris with this whole #seebuywear strategy?

Models present creations for fashion house Gucci during the women Spring / Summer 2016 Milan's Fashion Week on September 23, 2015 in Milan.  AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI        (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
Gucci, spring/summer 2016, Milan Fashion Week (Photo credit: TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

If you don’t already subscribe to FashionREDEF, and Adam Wray’s witty commentary that comes atop its newsletter everyday, you absolutely must.

On news that Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of Gucci-owner Kering, poo-pooed the see-now, buy-now model because “waiting creates desire”, Wray responded that desire follows from waiting for lunch, or a long-distance relationship, and not in the same way for luxury goods. “Desirable products create desire. Effective marketing creates desire,” he wrote.

“If you build a consistent, legible, aspirational brand image, you don’t need a six month media blitz to warm consumers up to a new collection – they already know what they’re buying into. If Saint Laurent – a Kering brand – hit the runway and the shop racks simultaneously, it would sell briskly, and Pinault knows it. His comments indicate a cautious approach to a complex, risky restructuring more than philosophical position,” Wray continued.

He ended on the idea of Pinault wanting to learn from others’ mistakes, a move all too evident from the luxury industry’s initial lack of willingness to embrace all the challenges (and opportunities) the digital era has brought. I have consistently heard – even with every new social media platform – the desire to first know which competitors are already on board before many of them have also opted to take the leap. It comes as no great shock that Burberry was one of the first major players to announce its move to an in-season consumer calendar; it has long been the first on all of these fronts, from its early uptake of all things digital, to its more agile supply chain system influenced heavily by CRM data.

Unsurprisingly over in Paris however, Pinault is not the only one thinking otherwise. The Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode is sticking by its guns and will shun the consumer-show shift too, reports WWD.

“As far as we are concerned, the present system is still valid,” said federation president Ralph Toledano.

He previously commented: “The fashion industry is a huge success, our companies are growing very healthily and business is excellent… We are not going to be ruled by technology.” Indeed, let’s not forget that for many brands in Paris, while technology is surely a consideration, such steps into embracing digital have, to this day, still fallen short of actually launching e-commerce; and this is in spite of the fact we know that digital today now influences 60% of all luxury purchases.

The thinking around whether or not to adapt Paris Fashion Week was also taken to a board of broader industry players off the back of the CFDA’s announcement in the US that it had hired the Boston Consulting Group to look into whether to make New York Fashion Week a consumer-facing affair. They included Dior CEO Sidney Toledano, Chanel’s president of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky, Saint Laurent CEO Francesca Bellettini, and Hermès executive vice president of manufacturing division and equity investments Guillaume de Seynes.

Sticking with the status quo is now also being backed by brands including Nina Ricci, Chloé, Agnes b., Issey Miyake, Isabel Marant, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Leonard, Dries Van Noten, Maison Margiela, Paul Smith and Kenzo.

To be fair, Ralph Toledano does go on to list a multitude of reasons why such moves are so complicated (understandably), and thus at this stage deemed unnecessary – from managing the supply chain and its purposeful scheduling, to balancing embargoes with press and buyers (although that latter part seems very do-able frankly, especially if they’re used to it in other cities).

There is no one-size fits all solution, that’s for sure. And truthfully I stand by my earlier thoughts that the industry is ripe for division into new categories, rather than all of ready-to-wear being lumped into one, as those more agile shift to a more “mass luxury” appeal.

But, it must be said, and as Wray essentially pointed out, this does also feel somewhat like another case of Paris lagging behind its counterparts, as it has done with so much of digital. The issue is, the case of waiting for the right “me-too” moment may at some point finally catch up with some of these brands.

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business e-commerce Editor's pick social media

UPDATE: Your guide to all the strategic changes happening around fashion weeks

gigi_tommyNEW

We know fashion weeks are changing radically around us. Numerous designers have opted to shift from producing shows intended for trade, to ones that actually resonate with the consumers they’re ultimately supposed to reach.

For many, this means creating collections that can be bought in-season: a see now / buy now strategy, as it’s largely being called. But others are doing something different again: some stepping out of the fashion week race altogether, others merely changing the time of year the collections are shown instead.

At this point, the result is a bit of a muddle – a variety of strategies that may or may not work. Safe to say, where leaders including Burberry, Tom Ford and Rebecca Minkoff are stepping, numerous others are waiting in the wings to see what sticks before figuring out if they too will join the (r)evolution. The question is, will the traditional Parisian houses go there?

Here’s a round-up of all the changes so far:

UPDATE FEB 19: Mulberry

Mulberry is the latest to outline its plans to more closely align runway with retail deliveries. Ahead of its return to the London Fashion Week schedule with new creative director Johnny Coca this Sunday, the brand announced it will showcase part of its Fall 2016 pre-collection on the catwalk to tap into the idea of providing product that can be bought much sooner – it will drop in stores in April. CEO Thierry Andretta said the move will short-circuit the production of cheap high-street copies, allow retailers to sell original designs at full price and give customers quicker access to new products.

UPDATE FEB 12: Tommy Hilfiger

Hot on the heels of other big name brands listed below, Tommy Hilfiger has also announced a direct-to-consumer shift. It will kickstart such plans with its TommyXGigi collection, with supermodel Gigi Hadid, in September 2016, before moving to a full in-season and shoppable consumer show in February 2017. As BoF highlights, this is no small undertaking for a brand with over 20,000 points of sale, more than 1,500 stores and distribution in 115-plus countries. In fact, 60% of the company’s sales come from wholesale. It will accommodate those lead times with private appointments for trade in September. “When the collection is on the floor, there is going to be an incredible amount of excitement that normally happens six months earlier,” said chief marketing and brand officer, Avery Baker.

UPDATE FEB 12: Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler will make eight of the looks walking in its New York Fashion Week show next week, available to buy in its own store in Manhattan within 24-hours. Clients will also be able to pre-order other pieces. The designers call it an experiment as this point, in that they’ve manufactured limited quantities in advance, but something they’re looking to expand on. “We’ll see how this performs and take it from there,” said one half of the duo, Jack McCollough. “If it’s sold out a week after the show, then we’ll definitely push it further.”

Burberry

Burberry is shifting its fashion week calendar and supply chain so it shows in-season in both February and September (starting September 2016), and its collections are available to buy “immediately” after they’ve appeared on the catwalk, both online and in-stores. Chief executive and chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey, said: “There’s just something that innately feels wrong when we’re talking about creating a moment in fashion: you do the show in September and it feels really right for that moment, but then you have to wait for five or six months until it’s in the store… You’re creating all this energy around something, and then you close the doors and say, ‘Forget about it now because it won’t be in the stores for five or six months’.”

Tom Ford

Tom Ford originally cancelled his fashion week show in favour of one-on-one appointments with press and buyers this season, before opting to shift the entire plan to September when he will present both women’s and menswear for autumn/winter 2016. It will also be available to buy on the same day. “In a world that has become increasingly immediate, the current way of showing a collection four months before it is available to consumers is an antiquated idea and one that no longer makes sense,” Ford said. “Showing the collection as it arrives in stores will remedy this, and allow the excitement that is created by a show or event to drive sales and satisfy our customers’ increasing desire to have their clothes as they are ready to wear them.”

Rebecca Minkoff

In a bid to capture consumer appetite and enable immediate purchases, Rebecca Minkoff (as pictured) will show her spring/summer 2016 collection during New York Fashion Week this month – that’s the same one (plus a few extra pieces) that she already put out in September. About 30-50% of the audience will be comprised of “everyday” consumers too. This catch-up season will then enable her to continue on a direct-to-consumer model with her autumn 2016 line. “Now all of a sudden, the Super Bowl [of shows] twice a year actually becomes an actual buying and retail celebration and festival, versus just a big tease,” CEO Uri Minkoff said.

Misha Nonoo

Misha Nonoo hit the headlines last season for her “Instashow”. While she has something similarly different up her sleeve for this coming week, she is otherwise also following suit and skipping a traditional show format until September 2016 when she will begin to show in-season for consumers to view and shop.

Hunter

After just four seasons showing as part of London Fashion Week, Hunter is stepping away from the catwalk entirely this season, and instead focusing wholeheartedly on exploring and amplifying its music festivals opportunity. It will hold multiple global customer-facing moments during 2016, according to a statement. Detail is yet to emerge, but safe to say real integration with festivals, as well as shifting the model in terms of when and how consumers have access to product will be the priority. “Continuing our commitment to innovate, now is the time to push things further. At this time within our industry, the moment is right to change things up and, as a brand, Hunter can do just that,” said creative director Alasdhair Willis.

Matthew Williamson

Matthew Williamson left London Fashion Week earlier in 2015 to move to a new model of six collections a year to suit what it calls the “buy-now-wear-now mentality” of its consumer. It closed its flagship store and opened a showroom in its place to operate as an appointment-only boutique for online shoppers. Business director Rosanna Falconer says it was a move that made enormous sense for shoppers. She was frustrated by the fact she used to be presenting images on social media fit for spring and frequently receiving comments back from fans referring to the fact it was cold outside, for instance. “It was so simple for the shopper; it just didn’t make sense. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re pushing something onto a consumer that they’re not ready for.”

Vetements

One of the latest announcements comes from Vetements. In a slightly different move, it will show (and produce) just two collections a year, and will do so in January and June, rather than in March and October (as Paris Fashion Week falls) to coincide more closely with pre-collections. The intention of doing so is to align with the fact a bigger portion of retailer’s budgets are spent on such lines, and they get more time on the sales floor before being discounted. For now it will still operate on a long lead-time of circa six months but the plan down the road is to swap the seasons over and deliver product by February for instance. “To reach this result, the whole production will have to be pre-produced. It means each piece in the collection will be part of a limited edition. No restock. One delivery. The true definition of luxury is something that is scarce. It would be nice to give luxury back its true meaning,” said CEO Guram Gvasalia.

BONUS: Karl Lagerfeld

In conversation with WWD, Karl Lagerfeld said he’s not against changes to the fashion system “if the future goes in that direction”, but that he would never do it the same way. He said companies that produce complex garments and use special materials would need to “make two collections — one immediate, and one available in six months. It’s a way to do the future and the present. It’ll just mean a little more work, ha ha ha”. He also noted that delivering clothes several months after their unveiling is not necessarily a bad thing. “There’s also the excitement of waiting for something,” he said.

And so the conversation continues…