Burberry, Vetements and other fashion heavy-weights break away from the traditional runway calendar and launch ready-to-buy collections. Democratic, sustainable–or just facilitating fast shopping?
Last week, big news were dropped from some of fashion’s heavy-weights. Starting of, Burberry revealed that they will start presenting mens- and womenswear in the same shows, resulting in two annual ready-to-wear presentations instead of four. The clothes will also be made available straight after the show, both online and in stores. The collections will be ”seasonless” rather than marked autumn/winter and spring/summer.
Later the same day, one of the most talked-about brands at the moment, Paris based Vetements revealed a similar strategy. Like Burberry, Vetements collection will be available straight after the show, thus showcasing their collection closer to the relevant season. Demna Gvasalia, Creative Director at Vetements, says there are both business-driven and ethical motifs behind this disruption of the current fashion system. In an interview with Business of Fashion, Gvasalia argues that the situation for designers today is unbearable, He, like so many fashion heavy-weights before him, says the industry sucks the creativity out of designers, demanding a too fast-paced fashion where brands have to produce insane amounts of clothes every season – clothes that people do not have the need for.
On the other hand is over-production and copyists, resulting from consumers need for instant gratification. Through holding their runway presentations closer to the actual season, and making the clothes available straight after, these labels invent a way to cope with bigger chains copying their designs. Vetements also reveal that they will produce more scarcely, returning to the original concept of luxury: the idea of scarcity and increase in demand.
So, what does it actually mean that some of the world’s biggest fashion houses decide to showcase their collections on-time for the current season, and comprising four shows into two? Lately we’ve seen a vivid discussion about overproduction and the downsides of the ever-increasing tempo in fashion, reaching its peak when Raf Simons left Dior. It seems, pre- and resort collections, ready-to-wear and couture collections have finally taken its toll, with designers feeling left out of their own industry. As Demna Gvasalia so accurately puts it there is a lack of communication and understanding between the commercial department and the creative department. As they are heavily dependent on each other, this of course is an issue that needs to be dealt with.
And the fast pace of course affects the whole supply chain below the creative directors, right down to the raw materials and sourcing phases. Both people and planet seem to have reached a tipping point, and the changes announced by Burberry and Vetements, as well as Proenza Schouler, Tom Ford and many others, shows on the need to change the system. And if changing the runway-calendar ultimately means less clothes (instead of the instant gratification that high street retailers offer) and designers having the time to be creative, it’s a step in the right direction.
Photos from the Vetements spring 2016 presentation.
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