Takeaways From Instant Fashion

Takeaways From Instant Fashion

Monday, November 28 2016

The Sturm und Drang surrounding instant fashion (aka see-now-buy-now) has died down. Now, a month after the season and the hype, what lessons were learned and what worked?

By Sharon Edelson on November 18, 2016; from WWD issue 11/09/2016 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Minkoff jackets.  Robert Mitra

• It’s definitely a New York thing. Most of the hype was focused in the U.S. where Ralph Lauren’s and Tanya Taylor’s runway shows were live-streamed at Saks Fifth Avenue, Tom Ford’s at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman and Burberry’s at Barneys New York.

This story first appeared in the November 9, 2016 issue of WWD. See More.

• Paris didn’t buy into it. Instant fashion seems conducive to the more commercial fashion weeks of New York and London. The time crunch required for the concept is seen as cramping the creative process and the time needed to produce labor-intensive fashion.

• Instant fashion doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Bergdorf’s Elizabeth von der Goltz said a marketing strategy touting an immediately available collection is imperative.

• Logistics are a challenge. Brands must find ways to compress lead times and change the timing of deliveries. Thakoon Panichgul decided to forgo a wholesale business and sell directly to customers through e-commerce and freestanding stores.

• Consumers want to buy some looks for now, and some for later. “We saw a strong desire for instant access to on-trend looks,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “We gained a better understanding of how our customer shops.”

• Separate calendars for consumer events and department stores is key. “We still have private presentations.,” said Uri Minkoff, ceo of Rebecca Minkoff.  “Department stores need to know what will be in the [live-streamed] runway show.”

• You can’t assume anything, because there’s no telling what the consumer will respond to. “We originally thought the [see-now-buy-now] product group would focus mainly on accessories,” said Michael Kors, “but the sprinkling of ready- to-wear that we had for fall 2016 was so well received, we decided to offer a more expansive range of rtw for spring.”

• Instant fashion should be executed on a case-by-case basis. “Each brand has to look at who its customer is and whether this will benefit the customer or be distracting,” said industry consultant Robert Burke. “Are sales improving or just shifting to different times? Customers are getting caught up in the moment. This is very impulsive, which can have a higher return rate.”

• Live-streaming a see-now-buy-now collection gooses sales across categories.
“The evening we live-streamed Tom Ford’s show, we had strong selling in women’s rtw, handbags and shoes,” said Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus. “We experienced a halo in beauty, color and fragrance. It’s proof that when you can excite customers and ignite their imagination and give them a reason to shop, they respond.”

 


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