LONDON, United Kingdom — The fashion industry’s “see now, buy now” experiment is underway. Over the last few weeks, brands including Tom Ford, Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren staged their first shoppable runway shows, enabling customers to buy their collections immediately after they debut on the catwalk, with the aim to translate the interest and excitement generated by runway shows into sales.
“We had our largest Tom Ford day of the year immediately following his New York show,” revealed Joshua Schulman, president of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus Group International. “Typically, these sales would be spread over many weeks as the deliveries arrive piecemeal. The immediacy of being able to buy immediately after the show, combined with the impact of seeing the whole collection on the floor at once, gave our customers a sense of urgency to buy now.”
In turn, the new Burberry collection — which showed at London Fashion Week on Monday — sparked “an instant uplift in sales,” according to Michael Kliger, president of MyTheresa.com.
“People seem to be gravitating towards the very decorated, ceremonial jackets, which surprised me as they are very extravagant jackets… I was kind of surprised how quickly those are being bought,” Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer and chief executive officer of Burberry, said in an interview on Tuesday, following Monday’s show. He added that customers were also gravitating towards the pyjama- and bathrobe-style womenswear pieces, and the ruffled shirts for men.
Data from Edited confirmed that Burberry’s $5,249 Cavalry jacket — a deep red wool jacket with military-style braided regalia — and its $723 panama stripe silk shirt are among the best-selling items since the show.
Meanwhile, Bergdorf Goodman reported “a strong halo effect across the [Tom Ford] brand including women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, accessories and beauty,” said Schulman. “What surprised us was how the event spurred awareness of the brand to a wider audience, including those buying beauty or eyewear for a piece of the dream.”
But while the “see now buy now” shows had an immediate impact on sales for some brands and stores — especially those like Burberry and Rebecca Minkoff, which hosted events for customers in in their physical stores during the shows — the real test will be in the coming months, to see if sales tail off, if the brands and retailers replenish items that sold well right after the show and if “see now, buy now” leads to higher sales for the full retail season.
BY KATE ABNETT
SEPTEMBER 22, 2016