Why The Fashion World May Never Be The Same

Raf Simons recently left Dior after a little more than three years at the house. Photo: David X Prutting/BFA.com

When Raf Simons and Alber Elbaz announced they were leaving Dior and Lanvin respectively within one week of each other, the fashion world began to buzz about designer longevity, unrelenting schedules and the future of brands. Since then countless other rumors have been circulating—from Hedi Slimane potentially leaving Saint Laurent to Phoebe Philo exiting Celine. All of this seems to point back to a certain fatigue permeating the fashion world from the designers all the way down to the consumers. That—coupled with declining sales—has caused a few key designers to react and make monumental changes to their Fashion Week plans.

Tom Ford, for one, plans to present his Autumn/Winter menswear and womenswear collections together in September, rather than in February at Fashion Week. Once the collections are shown they will become available immediately in store and online. Burberry’s Christopher Bailey similarly decided to hold only two runway shows a year, also merging his men’s and women’s collections and making them available for purchase immediately after they come down the runway.

Models on the Burberry and Tom Ford runways. Photos: Courtesy

If all of this sounds vaguely familiar it’s because Moda Operandi launched its business in 2010 based on a similar concept, allowing shoppers to pre-order clothes right after they were seen on the runways. It seems almost six years ago Moda was already onto something the fashion world has yet to understand the true value of: immediacy. Of course while Moda allowed consumers to purchase the looks immediately, they didn’t receive them until months later when the collections became available. That could all change now if other houses follow Ford and Bailey’s lead.

Similarly, Proenza Schouler and The Row decided not to release pre-fall images and instead make the photos available only when the pieces actually were for sale. All of this makes perfect sense if you think about the instantaneous satisfaction society has become accustomed to, buying clothing with the touch of only a few keys on your keyboard or even fewer steps on your phone. Like something on Instagram? It can be yours with just a click.

Moda Operandi allows shoppers to pre-order looks right after they come down the runway. Photo: @modaoperandi

With the way shopping habits have changed and sped up, it’s no surprise the major designers are starting to feel the pressure to follow suit. If things continue on this trajectory, will Fashion Week go away entirely? Or perhaps it will just make a permanent shift, meaning we won’t be looking at spring florals before we've even survived the first snowfall or ogling fall’s tweeds and chunky sweaters months and months before we can get our hands on them. We could soon be looking at the new trends at the same time we can have them in our closets.

These changes could turn the fashion world as we know it on its head, which is perhaps the point. Given the recent revolving door within design houses and the fact virtually every other business has been revolutionized and modernized by technology—from cabs to hotels to the flower business—maybes it’s time the fashion world evolved a bit too. What this all means is that you soon may not have to covet next season’s must-haves: As soon as you see them you’ll be able to own them, which—if you ask us—is a fashion girl’s dream.

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