Fast Fashion Meeting High Fashion

10:19 AM


Huge announcements were recently made from mega brands Tom Ford, Burberry and Vetements. Instead of following the traditional fashion calendar they will be adopting a "see now - buy now" approach to compete with that of fast fashion. It makes sense on multiple fronts. For years now when friends of mine see me gear up for women's Fashion Months, schedule and notebook in hand, pouring over images, examining details, they often ask me: "Why are they showing swimsuits in September? Or why do they have fur coats on the runway when Spring is just around the corner?" 

The fashion calendar is confusing. The shows are designed to be show a season before they are actually intended to be worn. Spring/Summer collections are shown in the September, Autumn/Winter collections are shown in February. We're always looking ahead, instead of in the moment. Essentially, designers are predicting fashion trends before they even happen. This was also done to give buyers a chance to decide what they wanted to stock and give the labels time to put the orders in production so that it can hit stores up to 4 months later. 

Before fast fashion, this model worked. However shoppers now have been in the mindset of see it now and want it now. Luxury designers simply cannot complete with fast fashion retailers like Forever 21, H&M, etc that are looking over the same images as me and are able to create copies for a fraction of the price in a fraction of the time, and fashionistas are able to purchase it while it's still fresh in their memories. 


In a great interview with Guram & Demna Gvasalias of Vetements his statements mirror that of Raf Simons when he announced stepping down from Dior:

 "Designers are human beings who need to have some spare time to get rest and gather strength. Instead, designers are put under enormous pressure and insane schedules.The industrial machine sucks out their creativity, chews them up, and spits them out. Once a genius, the designer is left behind incapable of being creative."

 Vetements will now be showing Spring/Summer in January for it to hit stores by February. Production will be be pre-produced, stock will be limited, and there will be no restock - reclaiming the term luxury. Tom Ford plans to make his collection available immediately online and in stores the same day as the runway show. And Burberry will combine both it's men's and women's shows together creating two annual events that are "seasonless" which like Ford will be available for purchase online and in stores following the runway shows.


Personally, I find this to be a great shake up that the industry needs. The fashion world is no longer hidden behind closed doors, and by showing collections months in advanced luxury labels can't keep up with the instant demand that eventually wanes when the real thing hits brick and mortar stores or online. Perhaps soon we'll not only be seeing NYFW in real time, but able to purchase it in real time as well, and then my not as fashion obsessed pals can stop bugging me about why there are so many shorts on the runway for Fall.

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