Runway to Retail in Seconds

See-now, buy-now is the concept of being able to buy clothing right after a fashion show ends. Major fashion icons, such as Tommy Hilfiger, are participating in this revolutionary trend.

Imagine that fashion week collections were available for purchase just seconds after the final model stepped off the runway. Instead of waiting endlessly for boutiques and online stores to stock your favorite looks, the see-now, buy-now model gives you that instant gratification.

In the past few years, this radical trend — arguably pioneered by Tommy Hilfiger — has been embraced by designers from major fashion labels. Technology has both modernized and reshaped the world, and the fashion industry has certainly not been immune to these changes. While this new direct-to-consumer marketing trend has shaken things up within the fashion community, it has also revolutionized the way that brands connect with their customers, breaking decades of industry-wide operating procedure. With each fashion week, more brands are changing the way they sell just to fit the see-now, buy-now model.

Last September, the Tommy Hilfiger brand rolled out a huge Tommy Pier installation in New York City for its show at fashion week. The show took place on the Pier 16, and every item on the runway was immediately available for purchase online. The following day, the runway pieces were available in 280 Tommy Hilfiger stores in over 70 countries.

The label continued this trend with its latest TOMMYxGIGI line, a collaboration with supermodel Gigi Hadid which also follows the direct-to-consumer model. All collections are available for purchase both online and in-store, with prices ranging anywhere from $100-$1000.

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Early last year, both Burberry and Tom Ford declared that they would also follow the see-now, buy-now model. Both companies canceled press previews for their Fall 2016 collections in favor of showcasing the full collections in September and making items immediately available. All collections are accessible online and in-store, and the prices are typical for luxury brands. Both brands have continued this model for their latest collections. Following suit, Rebecca Minkoff just showcased a SoCal-inspired collection at The Grove in Los Angeles. The collection is now available to purchase both in-store and online, and it is the most affordable out of the bunch, with prices ranging from around $50-$500.

While the trend is still young and in its experimental phase, it is safe to say that it has certainly changed the way that labels understand the traditional methods of marketing. Removing the typical four-month waiting period allows customers much earlier access to the designs and makes it harder to create knockoffs of the newest collections. Although the see-now, buy now model completely defies fashion industry norms, it will be interesting to see how it develops in the future.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 21 print edition. Email Thomas Chou at [email protected]

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