In the beginning there was Burberry, followed by Tommy Hilfiger and others. Those brands have announced to democratize the runway as part of their strategy and keep the consumer at the center of their business. The brands will redirect the classic runway investment to align with the retail calendar. The collection will be immediately available after the catwalk show to purchase across all sales channels, including the business’s global retail network. Also London Fashion Week has announced to start with public viewing to get closer to the customers. It's the latest in a series of announcements from companies big and small on how they are responding to the rise of fashion immediacy.

In order to find out more about how these announcements of change might affect also the international landscape of sportswear, denim and streetwear Sportswear International asked several brands for their opinion. The response to our survey shows a wide range of opinions. While some totally refused to comment on that topic, brands' answers range from incomprehension to total agreement. Though everybody in the business knows that the fashion industry is changing and brands have to reach out to their customers, the brands have different strategies to aim this: Reducing vs. increasing number of collections.

So, will the fashion cycle really see a change? Sure, it will. It has already started. The discussion is on: Read here, why brands would like to follow the path of Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger and why some prefer to remain true to their strategy offering more collections.

Oliver Frielingsdorf, Gaastra
Oliver Frielingsdorf, Gaastra
Oliver Frielingsdorf, Gaastra:

“Burberry’s and Tommy Hilfiger’s decision to show only two collections per year and bring them directly into retail from the catwalk is the right step. For me this is the way forward and the best option to get closer to the customer. If a brand meets the requirements both from its processes and its system, I think it should go this route in the future.”  








Tanja Nedwig, Cross Jeans
Tanja Nedwig, Cross Jeans
Tanja Nedwig, Cross Jeans:

“The market is changing; trends need to be implemented in the short term that is what customers require. This development affects also other sections not only the fashion industry. Cross delivers small collections at short term. Our design team is very fast in terms of reacting on new trends coming up. With this we want to ensure to deliver a timely and wide range of current trends.”








 Kathleen Horsch, Mavi
Kathleen Horsch, Mavi
Kathleen Horsch, Mavi:

"We will maintain our collection cycle and continue to offer three collections per season for pre-orders. The current changes in the fashion business promote manufacturer for fast reactions. We counter this trend, in addition to the pre-orders, with our so-called "extra items" that are prefabricated and can thus be delivered directly. "








Barbara Grotto, Gas
Barbara Grotto, Gas
Barbara Grotto, Gas:

“[…] I am absolutely charmed from the potential of the digital world and all that sounds exciting and thrilling. BUT I also think that the fashion system has its own rules. Orders need time to be placed, quality garment need time to be produced… I also wonder if it makes sense to sell SS 16 runway collection in February 2016… My opinion is that this kind of action is more a marketing activity made to shock than an affective change of these rules that will last.”






Marco Tiburzi, Jacob Cohen
Marco Tiburzi, Jacob Cohen
Marco Tiburzi, Jacob Cohen:

“We agree with these brands’ recent choice - at least for a good part of our market, target and products. The market has faced a strong speed-up recently especially because of the high sophistication of media - especially digital ones. Therefore it is normal also for fashion – at least when it comes to prêt- à- porter and luxury – becoming conscious about the need to become coherent with this evolution. […] Though I think there will always be a niche of products aimed at a specific target who will continue appreciating waiting for products that are worth the wait because built through a slow path characterised by desire and making. For this kind of consumer not only the product but also the sensation of exclusivity that comes from the ritual of the waiting is a fundamental component in the purchase decision process.”

Adriano Aere, Imperial
Adriano Aere, Imperial
Adriano Aere, Imperial:

"What is happening makes us understand how fast fashion's perception has changed in recent times. Right now fast fashion is registering interesting growth numbers despite fashion is generally suffering. Working according to fast rhythms and offering collections on time can satisfy clients' requests and anticipate their tastes and needs. On the contrary, designer brands have moved always farther from consumers in the last years. Though this detachment has become a distance that cannot be changed anymore in such a negative economic situation. The decision to sell collections right after a fashion show is an actual way for getting closer to consumers at real time again."

Manuel Canova, ImjiT350
Manuel Canova, ImjiT350
Manuel Canova, ImjiT350:

“ImjiT35020 is a niche denim brand all manufactured in Italy in the Due Carrare manufacturing district. For dimensions, product type and concept our brand has developed very similarly to this concept because we present our collections and we can already produce a few days after orders. We answer our clients' delivery requests and at the same time follow our working system.
Our jeans and jackets have a strong craftsmanship content, though they don't follow trends or seasons. We rather focus on timeless high-quality unique products.
Our research remains a constant aspect of our work. This way the client that appreciates ImjiT35020 looks for culture and at the same time not necessarily fast deliveries.”

Jason Gallen, Victorinox
Jason Gallen, Victorinox
Jason Gallen, Victorinox:

“The strategic shift to use runway shows to drive immediate revenue at the consumer level highlights the complexity of the business climate we all face. The emphasis on less seasonal product is something we have been focusing on, as we see the climate and economy impacting the way the consumer chooses to invest in clothing. We definitely are opening up our previews to the consumer this season also. We are hosting an installation during NY fashion week and one day of the two day event will be open to the public. We are evaluating the availability of product for the next season.”


Pascal Gerstenlauer, Defanzy
Pascal Gerstenlauer, Defanzy
Pascal Gerstenlauer, Defanzy:

“For us two collections per year are the maximum because we work more and more with fast fashion to offer our customers weekly "fresh" styles and to be closer to the trend in the market. The production periods and capacity need to be very well prepared and blocked to be able to react very fast on top sellers that should be brought to the sales floors in a short term. In itself this change is a logical step but it will bring massive changes in the sales processes for the B2B sector.”





Edwin de Rooij, PME Legend
Edwin de Rooij, PME Legend
Edwin de Rooij, PME Legend:

“It looks like a logical step given the fact that they have fashion shows for a big audience via internet and also offline media so it’s directly consumer oriented in a way. They are facing a gap between the online/offline exposure and retail availability which they felt the need closing. Brands like us who have no online/offline consumer exposure half year in advance of deliveries, but only trade exposure don’t face that gap as for instance Burberry and Hilfiger do. It’s definitely an option we have to look into. What is more important if the Trade shows will change their seasons as Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger will follow the retail calendar with their shows which means in June / July the Trade shows need to showcase Winter collections instead of Summer collections and in January the Trade shows need to showcase Summer collections instead of Winter collections.”

Raimund Berthold, Berthold
Raimund Berthold, Berthold
Raimund Berthold, Berthold:

“The concept is a curious one in my opinion. The fashion industry has been struggling to deal with its own timeline for a while, and change can be a good thing as it forces us all to consider what we are really doing. However, the move to coincide retail availability with the showing season is a dangerous one. Sure, it might make shopping better; it might make it easier for people to get things when they want them, but I worry that it will also inevitably encourage people to throw things away faster. If “luxury” fashion gets faster, then will the high street speed up, too? Just where will it actually end? For huge conglomerates who mostly sell through their own stores – like Burberry and Hilfiger – this move makes sense. They will end up making more money. But for labels of my size and the fashion industry at its purest level, I don’t really know how to begin approaching this shift. We mainly rely on wholesale accounts, meaning that it is difficult to predict what stores and customers want from us too far in advance. Of course, I know what works for us – outerwear is strong, for example – but does that mean I shouldn’t try and reach into new territories? Will my experiments get lost? I am not in the financial position to blindly produce stock in the hope that it will sell. Am I meant to sit out a season now to get ahead? Generation Z designers will be more attuned to this model of fashion but for us in the here and now, it’s going to be a steep learning curve.”

Mirko Fontana and Diego Marquez, au jour le jour
Mirko Fontana and Diego Marquez, au jour le jour
Mirko Fontana and Diego Marquez, au jour le jour:

“We think this is an ambitious plan. Have immediately after the show the collection available to buy via the company’s retail stores and e-commerce, as well as through the wholesale partners, implicates a big upfront investment in production and a great coordination of all the suppliers. But this is, for sure, the best answer to the modern and, everyday faster, fashion era. It would be great to have the strengths and the economic power to follow the path. At the moment, we are focusing on the brand’s market positioning and we are working on the development of the supply chain. After having consolidated those assets we could consider to do the next step.”

Klaus Hämmerle, Timezone:
Klaus Hämmerle, Timezone:
Klaus Hämmerle, Timezone:

“I don’t understand the decision of Burberry – especially as Timezone currently goes straight into the opposite direction.”











Outlook: Of course, changing the strategy by making the collections immediately available after the catwalk show to purchase across all sales channels, including the business’s global retail network does also mean an enormours challenge in terms of manufacturing speed and licensing agreements.
Read more about this topic in the next days here on www.sportswear- international.com.