Last week, during an interview with Business of Fashion, Christopher Bailey, Chief Executive and Chief Creative Officer of Burberry has informed one important news, which then was thought to make a change in fashion world, which was about the fact that Burberry will no longer do two separate runways for men and women, but combine men and women’s collections into two fashion shows a year called February and September (There’ll also no Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter anymore). And people/fashion lovers can buy the clothes right after the show, not waiting for months for those to “come out of Burberry’s closet”. The reason that led to this decision was the declining in sale in Asia (China, to be specific), but also because it was so different in a way of producing a runway show then run the sale these days than before. And what’ve caused that was the social media, and the Internet.
Let us not talk about how effective has social media been in pushing sale over these years, but focusing on the transition that social media has caused in this fashion world.
In the book entitled “The end of fashion”, the author Teri Agins said “Everyone who attended the show back then know the rules. Fashion show guests were allowed to take discreet notes, with stubby gold pencils that were handed out with the printed programs. The members of the press agreed NOT TO circulate photos or sketches from the shows until after the “official release” date ONE MONTH later.” This not only would make the fashion industry more…let’s say mysterious, because not everyone can get access through the doors to see the runway. But this also drive those “fashion addicts” crazy since they only got to see/touch the clothes once they were on display in the store months after that. That was the beauty of it, I’ve got to say.
Now, thing has changed. “In recent years, the rise of digital media has put tremendous pressure on this model, as runway shows — now instantly shareable on the internet — have morphed into powerful consumer marketing events, leaving brands ill-equipped to convert buzz into sales for collections that have yet to be produced.” (Business Of Fashion). Bailey gave an example of how the runway used to run, and how they have changed. He 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. Was it that moment, or was it the moment at the show that felt really right?
You create a lot of energy when you do the shows, and the broader these have become — whether it’s livestreaming, instagramming, or showing online — 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.’ And then you’ve got to create that energy again.”
This might sound like a good consumer PR and a brilliant marketing move, when they finally figured out some ways to help pushing up the sale and taking back what they’ve lost, but by combining the runways, and also eliminate their three ranges (PRORSUM, BRIT, LONDON) last year, I think they just put an end to their brand’s personality.
Book: The end of fashion – Teri Argins (1999)