Burberry’s Runway Shake-Up Will Make High Fashion More Immediate

burberry fashion show womenswear

by Katie Rosseinsky |
Published on

In an era when we can see a designer’s latest collection on Instagram just moments after it hits the runway, the traditional fashion week model is quickly becoming obsolete. Now, thanks to a game-changing announcement from British super-brand Burberry, a new and more immediate format is set to shake up the way the industry operates.

The London-based fashion house has just announced that it will streamline its show calendar from September 2016, cutting down its catwalk presentations from four to two. Designed with a global audience in mind, this new structure does away with the idea of seasons, instead naming the shows after the months in which they will take place (February and September.) This announcement means that Burberry will no longer stage separate menswear shows at London Collections: Men, as the bi-annual shows will feature both menswear and womenswear.

burberry backstage fashion show models
Backstage at Burberry S/S'16 ©Jason Lloyd Evans

Most exciting, though, is the news that the collections will be immediately available to buy in-store online following the fashion show, a move that drastically cuts the traditional seasonal gap between show and the shop. It’s an extremely savvy business decision. Thanks to the ubiquity of social media, we want to shop pieces instantly – not wait another six months for a collection to arrive on the shop floor, by which time we’re already coveting the following season’s key pieces.

Burberry has been one of the first fashion brands to fully embrace the social media explosion, live-streaming its exclusive shows online, introducing the concept of a shoppable runway and previewing the S/S’16 collection via a Snapchat campaign (shot by Mario Testino, no less.)

burberry backstage fashion show models
Backstage at Burberry S/S'16 ©Jason Lloyd Evans

Burberry’s Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey explained: ‘The changes we are making will allow us to build a close connection between the experience that we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves. […] This is the latest step in a creative process that will continue to evolve.’

This game-changing announcement from a major player like Burberry can only catalyse the conversation regarding Fashion Week’s relevance. Last December came an announcement that the Council of Fashion Designers of America had launched a consultation into the future of the New York event, while The British Fashion Council are thought to be investigating ways to make the London leg of fashion month more consumer facing. Matthew Williamson is another London designer to move off-schedule in favour of working closely with one-to-one clients and delivering collections in-season. As the buzz surrounding the A/W’16 shows gathers pace, it will certainly be interesting to see whether other big names decide to follow in Burberry’s footsteps.

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