See Now/Buy Now Splits Fashion Industry

In the age of fast food, fast consumption, fast technology and fast fashion, a significant part of the luxury industry has been exponentially gaining momentum as well. That bit of the luxury industry is undergoing a massive makeover that has left the rest of the landscape in a state of flux. It hasn’t escaped our notice at Fashionbi that the values of what “luxury” is for today's consumers are also changing. Yes, luxury is about the exquisite, the sumptuousness, the exclusivity and everything that’s served with the metaphoric sparkly garnish on top to please the luxury consumers, but in the age of speed, the luxury industry can no longer escape this effect and the values of specific “seasons” could probably diminish eventually as with the pace it has already picked up, it seems inevitable that they will run hand-in-hand with the rest of the world. This change has been named as the See-Now-Buy-Now movement.

Brands: To do or Not To Do

While brands like Vetements, Tom Ford and Burberry are front-runners of this movement and will present a See-Now-Buy-Now collection coming September 2016, Alexander Wang (for his Resort 2017 collection) and Brioni (for Spring 2017 collection) have also jumped on the bandwagon. Wang, however, will take a different approach to this model where if you have the access to the lookbook, you can’t write or talk about it until it hits the stores in November and the rest of the world will see some of the resort pieces on the Spring 2017 runway. And the only thing it does for the consumers is shorten the timeline between seeing the collection and buying it as he says “that it creates a sense of immediacy and generates excitement.”
Speaking of unique takes on the See-Now-Buy-Model, Thom Browne is adjusting this model to a more bespoke kind of a service where his made-to-measure business will assimilate the model as a “see now buy now” event where the customers can “see now, try now, adjust out to their size, buy now and get it in 12 weeks.”
Balmain 's Olivier Rousting cites similar positive attitude towards the movement, and Diane von Furstrenberg, Prada and Michael Kors have also joined the club by making a few of their accessories and apparel ready for sale after their upcoming fashion shows. Paolo Riva, chief executive of DVF says their way of fitting into the See-Now-Buy-Model will be by backtracking and doing it the traditional way. The brand should have “a serious presentation” for the press and buyers and a different “moment” for the consumers that will have the “social media buzz, celebrities and influencers,” etc. He calls it “power to the brand.” And why not? Where fast fashion brands can mimic the collections within three weeks’ time from the moment it hits the runway, it is definitely a power grab by the luxury brands for retaining the values of creativity and owning a luxury product instead of knock-offs.

On the other side of the wall are the French Federation of Couture and French luxury houses like Chanel, Hermes and Christian Dior that stand firmly against this novelty. For them, this model not only leaves little time to produce quality creations but also democratises these famous fashion powerhouses. Gucci doesn’t seem ruffled with this and will continue to follow the old format, even though the brand was one of the first to implement a co-ed show. Coach also refuses to mould itself into this movement, but mainly because they are trying to revamp themselves into a more high-end and exclusive label, and believes that the See Now Buy Now movement will only dilute and make the repositioning unsuccessful. They also believe that this movement is “not realistic as the industry needs to be organised where [all] parties [involved] should come together, whether its trade or press.” So at this point, the different point of views are not really an indication of chaos in the luxury industry, but shows individual thoughts on how the model could fit or not fit into their business model.
The Media, The Internet & The Social Media: Food for Thought

With the See-Now-Buy-Now model being splashed across various notable sites like Business of Fashion, TheGuardian, elle.com, the influence of media can not be ignored as it acts like a wildfire sparking the interests and curiosities among not only other existing brands, making them rethink their business models in changing times but also the consumers who are influenced into rethinking about their preferences and opinions. Social media will play a huge role as it is the arena of the entire industry, and we will not have to just twiddle our thumbs and watch it all unfold because there are many questions that need to be answered right now.
How will the value of “exclusivity” remain for the luxury products if everything will be ready to be sold on the brands’ websites? And if they were to remain exclusive, is it a medieval business strategy to not mould into the changing times that prevent quicker consumption? Do consumers really want to purchase items the moment they appear on the runway or is it all just a hype? What about media, influencers and social media? What role will they play since this industry is so tightly inter-connected?
An in-depth research report, from not only businesses’ point of view, but also the consumers’ point of view and how the digital world will affect this, thoroughly researched and analysed by our team of analysts at Fashionbi, is available for download. Click below to read more, then grab your own copy of the research!