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​the cfda are looking into switching to a buy-it-now fashion schedule

With many designers moving to subvert the format of showing collections 6 months before they hit the stores, the US fashion council are investigating a different model.

by Charlotte Gush
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16 December 2015, 12:05am

Proenza Schouler

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA -- the US equivalent of the British Fashion Council) have enlisted Boston Consulting Group to look into what has been described as "a broken system," where designers show their collections 6 months before they are available to buy, which potentially means consumers lose the intention to buy the clothes by the time they hit stores and gives high street retailers long enough to make cheap 'versions'.

The Boston Consulting Group will investigate whether a consumer-focused model, where clothes are available to buy as soon as they are shown would be beneficial for designers. It is a model that Proenza Schouler have already embraced -- they will present their collection to press during fashion week, but have banned photography and reviews until the clothes hit the stores. "We're just looking at our own situation and trying to find something that makes sense for us," designer Jack McCollough said at the time of the announcement, adding, "We're not [instigating] this whole industry-wide shift. It makes sense to release a collection closer to when you can buy it. It's as simple as that" -- however, it seem their decision did, if not instigate a shift, then come at a time when others were also seriously thinking about the same issue.

"We have designers, retailers and everybody complaining about the shows. Something's not right anymore because of social media, people are confused," chairman of the CFDA Diane von Furstenberg told WWD, explaining that consumers see a design online or on Instagram, but cannot buy it for 6 months after that. "We have some ideas. Everyone seems to feel that the shows being consumer-driven is a very good idea," she adds.

"The only people who benefit [from the current model] are the people who copy it," von Furstenberg continues, adding that, "It's very confusing. Everything needs to be rebooted. We're making this proposal and people can do whatever they want. I have a feeling people will be showing what's available closer to what's in store. I don't have all the answers, otherwise we wouldn't be hiring [BCG]".

"Ninety-five percent of the people I've spoken to say, 'Amen'," adds CFDA president and CEO Steven Kolb, who also reveals that he has been speaking to his counterparts in London and Italy.

BCG will begin work in the new year, with one possible solution being to keep the schedules as they are in February and September for womenswear, but to show spring/summer in February and autumn/winter in September. The BCG assessment will not affect the upcoming autumn/winter 16 season, shown in February.