NYFW SS17 has come to a close and I’ve got to be honest Voyeurs, was a little underwhelming *sadface*. There was a time that NYFW was regaled as the mother of all Fashion Weeks and the barometer for those that follow, but now? Not so much, and I’m not the only Fashion Influencer to feel this way.
I was however, intrigued to hear that Tom Ford would be showing during NYFW this season after a last minute cancellation in February, albeit shunning the traditional and expected format and showing a “See Now, Buy Now” collection during the FW16 season (including cosmetics and skincare). Let me explain - The fashion industry is set up to make you feel that there are two seasons: Spring / Summer (SS) February to September, and Fall / Winter (FW) October to March. We all know that fashion is cyclical but the idea of funding these multi million dollar campaign is that after one season (6 months) a person will shun the current “trend” and move on to the next season, buying items from the next collection to tap into the next “trend”. Since the first NYFW in 1943, this has always been the case and designers have shown a season ahead in order to allow time for manufacturing and creating garments to sell “on season.” Hence, you see the FW collections in February / March and the SS collections in September / October.
With me so far? Ok, now I’m going to scramble your brain a little more - I am of course, assuming you don’t already know this, I’ve had a lot of emails over the last two weeks from Voyeurs asking what the difference between “on season” and “off season” shows is, and although I’ve replied to all of them, this might help a little and give you something to refer back to, or even share with your friends and future Voyeurs.
Ok, now you have a very basic concept of Fashion Week as a ‘thing’, let’s fast forward to 2014 - Blogging was becoming serious business for the fashion industry, with Conde Nast representing some of the biggest names at the time including Bryan Boy and Susie Lau and Bloggers were taking their place on the Frows of huge shows. This is when came the shift; the difference between Blogs and traditional print media is that magazines are also cyclical, printing once per week or once per month meaning you have to wait for your fix, but Bloggers make it instant, with content produced immediately and shared immediately, readers, fans and followers get a glimpse of the collections in real time. Sure, Fashion Editors of your favourite magazines have been doing this for years, but not everyone follows or even knows who these Fashion Editor are, Bloggers have become known, recognisable and now, marketable.
People often ask me about the difference between blogging and fashion journalism, as you know I do both and there’s one clear difference to me and that’s The Voice. Let me break it down; when you buy a magazine, you buy a piece of journalism, a feature that someone has written about a topic they’ve been asked to write about, the account is factual, and delivers a point. Sometimes, in the case of a column, there will be added elements of humour and sometimes not but when you’ve read it, you’ve left with more information than when you started. Blogging however, is conversational. Sure we’re sometimes paid to write features but ultimately a blogger writes about whatever they want, they have full creative control over their content and frequency of publication. When I’m writing for you guys, I’m writing as I would talk, it’s light, it’s fun and it’s sometimes not politically correct but the only person accountable is me. Remember, it’s immediate and when I’m showing you those covetable items from Fashion Week, they’re not available to view or buy for another six long months. Got it?
Ok, where were we? Ah yes, the shift in the fashion industry….
Sooooooo, in February 2015 Burberry announced that it would shift to a “See Now, Buy Now” format which sent ripples across the industry. The naysayers gasped, saying it would never work and was a crazy idea, and anybody in fashion manufacturing quaked in their leather rider boots at the thought of prepping an entire saleable collection pre-runway show.
Basically the concept of “See Now, Buy Now” is simple: In September / October when an SS show would normally be shown, Burberry will show a season appropriate collection for FW, the season we’re actually in and the collection will be shoppable immediately. Simples. When Tom Ford announced plans to follow suit, people sat up and took notice. Ford has the ability to pack out a show space like no other, the Grand Master of fashion with a legion of celebrity disciples so this idea must have legs, right? Sure enough, this season alone Rebecca Minkoff and Vetements have announced their intention to follow this model along with smaller labels.
Never one to sit quiet on a subject so prickly, Karl Lagerfeld proclaimed “Its a mess, the reality is that you have to give people the time to make their choice, to order the clothes or handbags, and to produce them beautifully so that editors can photograph them. If not, that’s the end of everything.” Not a supporter of the See Now, Buy Now movement then eh Karl?
With huge slumps in sales, mega discounts offered in outlet malls and the rise of fast fashion and runway reproduction on the high street, it’s no secret or surprise that the luxury fashion houses have been hit hard. With ‘micro trends’ (think glitter roots, perspex heels, fur slides) on the rise due to online influencers, we’re seeing a new mini trend every fortnight and as a result, the designers have become the outsiders. Now that NYFW SS17 is over, it’s time for those fashion houses to take stock; Tom ford showed an awesome See Now Buy Now collection with a whole marketing campaign designed around the very concept. Although Calvin Klein, didn’t show this season the brand plans to emerge in February under the creative leadership of ex-Dior front man Raf Simons, and Michael Kors has unveiled his plans to show See Now Buy Now in February.
It’s clear that there are huge and exciting changes afoot for the fashion industry and although NYFW SS17 has been mediocre as best, the most memorable shows of the season are the ones which adopted a See Now, Buy Now format (I’m looking at you Tom Ford).
Over to you London….