Burberry has become the leading industry player in taking risks. Today, Burberry became the first major brand to announce changes to its current fashion-show model. The British fashion house revealed that it intends to scale back and combine its women’s wear and menswear shows as of September this year into two annual, seasonless, shows.
“The changes we are making will allow us to build a closer connection between the experience that we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves,” Burberry’s chief creative and chief executive officer,Christopher Bailey, told WWD. “Our shows have been evolving to close this gap for some time. From live-streams, to ordering straight from the runway, to live social media campaigns, this is the latest step in a creative process that will continue to evolve.”
In addition Bailey revealed that Burberry will present seasonless collections, which will clear up any confusion for the Burberry customer, meaning they can buy what they want, when they want, wherever they are in the world – and in the process make it easier for his own team’s workload. They’re calling the new format “seasonless, immediate, and personal,” adding that the two shows–one in September and one in February –will be available to purchase in-store and online immediately following.
“I told the teams that we can’t expect a customer to understand our timings because, I mean, it’s silly, which is why we did runway made-to-order collections,” Bailey continued. “You can’t talk to a customer and say, ‘We’re really excited, we’re going to stimulate you and inspire you, but you can’t touch it or feel it for another six months.’ In fashion we talk about ‘a moment’, and what feels right for the moment. And I’ve always battled with that because the moment is when you’re showing it, but then you’ve got to kind of say is it the right moment five or six months down the line?”
Burberry’s announcement comes as the fashion industry is facing a major shake-up following the departure of key designers from major fashion brands, as well as the CFDA’s announcement that it has hired Boston Consulting Group to look at the different options designers have to make their fashion shows more consumer facing. The CFDA’s motivator being the multi-billion dollar knock off industry. CFDA chairman Diane von Furstenberg said the new system could prevent fast fashion knock-offs, as with the current calendar “the only people who benefit are the people who copy it.”
Burberry’s ahead of the game, perhaps it won’t be long before other brands follow suit.