tom ford is ditching the see now, buy now system

The designer reveals the business model actually lost him sales. Are we witnessing the first cracks in the instant shopping trend?

by Wendy Syfret
17 March 2017, 3:09pm

Last fall Tom Ford joined the scores of designers and houses dipping their toes into the "see now, buy now" experiment. At the time, he reflected that the existing fashion week schedule and system was "from another era," and did not connect with the reality of consumerism and fashion in the 21st century.

But now, after just one season, the designer and director has decided it's not for him, and will return to the traditional calendar for spring/summer 18. Reflecting on the move to WWD, he admitted that he still believes a faster approach to fashion and retail is the future. But the shift hadn't been successful for him because "store shipping schedule doesn't align with the fashion show schedule."

While the move was supposed to reduce the time between clothes appearing on the catwalk and being available to buy, shipping complications meant they lost a month of selling because they had to hold putting the fall/winter 16 collection in store until after it had been seen on the catwalk. He also added that while the change initially drove business, they felt the loss of the long-lead press time.

His reasoning mirrors that of Thai-American brand Thakoon, which also recently announced it would be walking away from the new format, noting the "business model is ahead of the current retail environment" and hence not yet fully workable.

Not that things will be returning to business exactly as usual. Rather than showing his women's collection in London — where he's previously been based — Tom Ford is looking for a permanent place on the NYFW roster. The famously early designer mused he was after a spot early in the week. "I like going first, when everyone is still in a good mood."


Text Wendy Syfret
Photo via Wikipedia

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