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Burberry shakes up catwalk format to see now, buy now

Lauretta Roberts
05 February 2016

Burberry is leading the charge for a much-anticipated shake-up of the international Fashion Weeks by announcing will no longer show its collections six months ahead of time.

Furthermore it will no longer separate men's and women's shows and it has ditched the denominations of Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter in favour of naming its collections February and September to reflect the time when they will hit stores.

In a statement chief executive Christopher Bailey said: “The changes we are making will allow us to build a closer connection between the experience that we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves. 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.

Burberry has led the way in terms of consumer engagement with its catwalk events. Last September in an unprecedented move, it previewed its entire SS16 collection on Snapchat 24 hours before it was shown on the catwalk. It was also the first brand to take a channel on Apple Music so it could stream live music performances from its shows and had previously been the first to live Tweet and live stream it shows to the public.

The move will no doubt prompt other brands to follow suit as the traditional season structure is seen as increasingly anachronistic and out of step with the consumer. The role of the catwalk will soon shift to becoming more about marketing to the consumer than about previewing collections for press and buyers.

To this end New York Fashion Week recently appointed Boston Consulting Group to assess the option of shifting the event to become more consumer focused and show fashion that can be bought at the time it is shown, while London Fashion Weekend recently announced that some high-profile designers, such as Mary Katrantzou and Emilia Wickstead, would be using the event to stage consumer-facing shows.

Burberry currently shows its women's collection at London Fashion Week and its men's collection at London Collections Men. The new approach to shows will take effect from September this year.


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