ralph lauren is moving to see now, buy now
The iconic American house is joining the revolution, but doing it in a new way.
Image via @ralphlauren
Ralph Lauren has a message: the tradition of showing clothes that are only available to buy half a year later is over. Today the iconic American designer will show his second fall/winter collection of the year to a select group of retailers, media, and customers over two shows. As soon as they're done, the whole collection will be available for sale through the brand's stores, wholesalers, and online. The designer points to social media and the internet as the catalyst for the change that has swept the fashion world this year, and seen icons like Tom Ford, Burberry, and Tommy Hilfiger change the way they make their clothes available to the public. Speaking to WWD he said, "See now, buy now gives you the ability to be right there where the action is."
The label showed its first fall/winter 16 offering in February, and those 46 looks arrived in store in August. Wednesday's show of 45 looks is said to be an extension of that line that will allow shoppers to top up their cooler weather style as the summer draws to an end. Lauren said he had been asking himself, "Why can't we deliver in the season that they [the customer] want it? She doesn't have to wait, she can go and shop right at the show."
He added that stores had already been pressuring the label to ship collections earlier and earlier, and the label is working on a similar arrangement for its menswear. This will most likely be the only time the label has two collections, as when Ralph Lauren shows its spring/summer 17 collection in February, it would have caught up to the see now, buy now cycle.
The unorthodox way the brand has joined the swelling ranks of designers working to give the world immediate access to their garments shows not only how popular the movement has become, but also how fluid the whole structure of the fashion seasons is in 2016. If something doesn't work, houses are breaking with tradition to find a way that suits it and its fans. It really is a brave new fashion world.
Text Wendy Syfret