Burberry have released a preview of their see-now-buy-now ‘seasonless’ collection. Not only is it unusual for a brand to release new collection teases before the official show during fashion week, it’s also big news for the industry; marking a definitive shift in the fashion calendar.
It’s not a surprising move. It’s been talked about for seasons, with Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger having announced their intentions to follow the new model and the likes of Moschino, Michael Kors and Prada having already done straight-from-catwalk releases. It’s also an answer to the issue of the high street producing knock offs before the real thing has even hit the rails. Ever since fashion week transformed from an industry event into a public spectacle, high fashion has become more accessible than ever as the trickle down effect has reached warp speed. Great for those on a budget, not so great for those selling the original designs 3 months after they’ve graced the rails of Topshop.
Burberry’s collection, combining menswear and womenswear, will launch in store on the same day that it hits the catwalk. I completely understand the move. It’s arguably the only way to beat the highstreet and it plays into the immediacy of modern marketing and social media. It’s understandable. Necessary, even. But waiting for something makes it all the more tantalising and removing that wait extracts a part of the magic.
As a child, some time around mid November, you would write a letter to Father Christmas. In my case, I would trawl through the pages of the Argos catalogue and list whatever it was my heart desired that particular year. The wait was what made the whole thing exciting. The six week long anticipation allowed my level of yearning to reach boiling point, so that by the time Christmas day came round I could barely contain myself when the time came to tear open the wrapping paper.
The see-now-buy-now model will rob consumers of that giddy, delicious anticipation and the weeks or months of imagining all the ways that a particular dress, coat or bag will wildly enhance their lives. I’ve scanned magazines and dreamed of an entirely new life that would be bestowed upon me if only I could own a particularly dramatic skirt or a heavily embellished blazer. I’d be the type of person who does yoga before work, who always carries cash and who has a signature scent. If I could go and buy that magical garment on the same day I saw it, I’d know within 24 hours that, actually, an extra hour in bed always trumps feeling ‘centred’ and that my only scent is whatever deodorant is on offer in Wilko’s.
Not only does waiting build excitement and prolong preposterous dreams, it also avoids those big mistakes. “Yes, my wardrobe is all black but think of all the ways I can wear this lime green sequin jumpsuit!”, you think as you hand over your debit card, mere minutes away from buyer’s remorse. Hours of listing unworn, ill-advised purchases on eBay has taught me that a little time between initial lust and parting with your money is necessary when deciding how much you truly love something. I’ve saved a sizeable chunk since implementing this rule and excited, sweaty palmed fashion fans may do well to remember that the latest thing ≠ the best thing ever. Impulse buying is the stage for regrettable purchases.
So, yes, it seems as though the see-now-buy-now may be the logical conclusion brands are coming to in order shake things up and drive sales but I will argue that incredible fashion is always worth the wait and, in fact, the wait makes it even sweeter.