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Burberry is Making the Change to a Consumer-Facing Fashion Week Format

The British label has adopted the "see now, buy now" model for its future runway shows.
Burberry spring 2016 runway finale. Photo: Burberry

Burberry spring 2016 runway finale. Photo: Burberry

Burberry announced big changes to its fashion calendar on Friday: Beginning in September, the British brand will only feature two runway shows per year (as opposed to four), combining womenswear and menswear in September and February. Since Burberry will no longer stage a separate menswear show during London Collections: Men, the brand is currently figuring out a way to still participate in the men's fashion calendar in some significant capacity.

Burberry's new format for shows is specifically tailored to its consumers around the world and will follow a "see now, buy now" approach. Once a collection has made its debut, pieces will immediately be available for purchase both online and in stores, along with window displays and marketing materials aligned with the new collection. Versus Versace follows a similar model as its retailers promptly offer items for sale after a runway show, sometimes holding viewing parties for customers as well. Thakoon, who was acquired by Hong Kong's Bright Fame Fashion at the end of 2015, has overhauled its business model for a "show now, see now, buy now and wear now" strategy, too.

"Our shows have been evolving to close this gap for some time. From livestreams to ordering straight from the runway to live social media campaigns, this is the latest step in a creative process that will continue to evolve," said Christopher Bailey, Burberry's chief creative and chief executive officer, in a statement.

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Burberry has certainly kept up with the times: The brand has focused on increasing its digital marketing presence with campaigns on both Instagram and Snapchat, along with a channel on Apple Music. In November, the label announced plans to consolidate its diffusion lines (Burberry Prorsum, Burberry London and Burberry Brit) under one label in an effort to adapt to the new, "more fluid" behavior of the luxury customer. 

The British label joins the growing list of designers who have decided to eschew the traditional fashion calendar, either opting out of runway shows or making them more consumer-facing events. (The CFDA is currently holding an extensive study to rethink its Fashion Week format.) Considering that Burberry is one of the bigger fashion brands to do so is a bold move, especially among its luxury peers. We're looking forward to seeing how this transition plays out come September — and who else might follow suit.

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