Luxury fashion heading for a digital future

Fashion, like every sector in today’s world, is changing at a swift rate. In the age of Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, designers are able to showcase their latest collections on the runway to the public at breakneck speed. The only downside to this, however, is that consumers expect to be able to actually buy the items as soon as they hear of or see them; the thought of waiting several months for items to be available in-store, just isn’t viable anymore it seems.

Speaking to, Andrew Hall, a retail consultant with Verdict.retail, says: “There’s been a general view that the way fashion shows have operated has become increasingly outdated, especially with fashion shows more open to the mass market on [social media].”

Yet there are many brands experimenting with a fast transition from runway to consumer. Rebecca Minkoff and her #SeeBuyWear campaign, for example, essentially allows shoppers to search for items mere moments after they’ve appeared on the runway. Burberry, who already utilise technology with their Beauty Box store in London, are aiming to focus less on promoting items way ahead of the intended season, and instead put more effort into seasonless clothing ranges and, like Minkoff, give consumers the chance to purchase modelled items they have seen on Instagram, Twitter, etc.

READ:  Luxury brands eye Snapchat as a productive medium

It’s also not like customers or the fashion stores themselves would be averse to the idea of the latest collections being available to purchase online earlier than normal. If anything, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for fashion houses to sell their designs to the public straight from the runway, considering that retail ecommerce from apparel and accessories reached $52 billion in the US alone in 2014. Long-standing fashion stores like Peter Hahn, a company that’s been selling online since 2001, has clearly known for a long time that selling apparel online was always destined for success. Other than having solid reputation for trading clothes with 100% natural fibres like these items, Peter Hahn and many other online sellers have simply been ahead of the digital retailing curve for a long time, compared to catwalk brands.

How the fashion industry will harness technology in the future is an increasingly interesting debate, and there has even been much chatter about the possibility of trying on clothes in a virtual changing room. Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency at the London College of Fashion says: “This is a huge moment [for fashion]. The industry for some time has been moving in this direction.”