The fashion calendar has been under siege for a while now, as industry players question the practicality of showing new collections months before they’re available or seasonally relevant. Most people are in agreement that implementing a “buy now” model (where runway looks are available immediately after they’re shown) would benefit customers and the business as a whole, and Burberry’s adoption of that model earlier this year seemed to confirm that.
But as with most things, it’s not that simple, and an article on Business of Fashion highlights the many consequences (both positive and negative) that the new system could set off. Given that it’s written by Pascal Morand, executive president of the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, we were inclined to take notes, and we’ve rounded up the most important pros and cons of the “buy now” model for you below.
Scroll down to find out how the “buy now” model might affect the fashion industry…
Rather than forcing customers to wait months on end to get their hands on a beloved runway piece, the “buy now” model will allow them to do just that. This will result in an easier shopping experience and a fresher wardrobe.
One of the main reasons “buy now” shopping will be easier is that it requires less forethought. Because runway looks will debut and go on sale in-season—rather than months before they’re weather appropriate—customers will no longer have to plan their seasonal shopping ahead of time.
In the interim period between a runway look’s debut and its actual sale date, many fast-fashion stores work to churn out cheaper renditions of the look to appease customers’ desires. Some people believe that if you take away this production window, there will be less copying done overall, since the fast-fashion products may be off trend (or out of season) by the time they’re produced.
One result of the “buy now” model is that consumers are given immense control over what’s created: The pieces they like instantly will be produced in bulk and likely re-created over time, snubbing out any trends that may take longer to appreciate.
As Morand explains, “Interacting more closely with consumers is clearly an imperative for brands of all kinds, but at a certain point the idea of being ‘consumer-driven’ undermines the kind of ‘creative push’ approach that leads to genuine innovation. This is because consumers typically favor smooth and incremental change.”
He believes that the usual waiting period helps to fuel a greater desire in customers for the more unusual or innovative trends.
The “buy now” model brings with it a lot of financial risk, as it will require preordering stock in bulk without knowing how well it will sell (in the current system, you can get a clear sense of the demand via preorders). Although some of the larger, well-funded brands may be able to afford this, it will be especially tough for younger brands who lack the same cushion.
Are you a fan of the “buy now” model? Sound off in the comments, and be sure to shop our favorite fall runway–inspired bags!
Opening Image: John Phillips/Getty Images
This post has been updated by Michelle Scanga.