Iconic fashion brand Burberry has officially waved the idea of seasonal fashion and the extended waiting periods for purchase of their latest lines. Seasonless men’s and women’s wear collections, showcased only twice a year and made available to the public immediately after, are replacing the Summer-Autumn-Winter-Spring calendar and picking up the slow-fashion movement within the industry.
The changes come at a time when the public’s window to what’s new in fashion is as ever changing as fashion itself. Among a myriad of technology-based viewing portals, consumers are able to live-stream the latest fashion shows only to have their excitement extinguished by the usual six-month wait to be able to purchase the collections. Christopher Bailey, the company’s chief creative and chief executive officer, says, “The changes we are making will allow us to build a closer connection between the experience we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves.
“Our shows have been evolving to close the 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.”
Burberry’s collections will now be labelled “September and February” in place of the Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter concept. They will offer up more fluid designs that are suitable for wear throughout the year and eliminate the notion that your outfit must resemble the season. This change highlights concerns about ethical consumerism, which is moving to the forefront of people’s minds.
The slow-fashion movement is taking off within the industry thanks to designers like Carin Mansfield, owner of the London boutique outlet In-Ku. Mansfield has spearheaded the eradication of “fast food fashion” by designing items that are built to last whilst remaining in style. She says that, “you’ve got to be a slight maniac” to create articles in such a work-intensive way. In a world where consumers are purchasing, using up and discarding items so thoughtlessly, though, this is the new direction for fashion.
The adoption of buy-now-wear-now collections and direct-to-consumer shows by big name brands such as Burberry will close that window of opportunity for knock-off reproductions by retailers like H&M, Zara and Forever 21. The hijacking of luxury designs by fast fashion retailers damages the exclusivity and indeed the desirability of what high-end brands are offering. This contributes to the burning-out of their new designs. Bailey says:
“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. We have been living with a fashion calendar and system that is from another era.”
So what does this mean for everyday fashion addicts? Faster access to the latest trends. The exclusive opportunity to be as up-to-date with their favourite designer brands as possible and; the chance to buy items that will last well beyond the seasons.