The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Online

It’s the question on everyone’s lips: what does the future of fashion look like in the digital age?

For some time, we’ve enjoyed shopping straight from blogs and Instagram through the click of a button (for example, through rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it, respectively). In addition, e-commerce websites continue to pop up in cyberspace - NET-A-PORTER leads the way with the complementary publication, Porter, and Conde Nast has recently launched its new site Style.com - so shopping straight from the pages of blogs and magazines isn’t exactly a new phenomenon.

However, an even newer way to shop has emerged, and September this year saw the game change in a completely new way. Fashion power house Burberry announced that it was cutting its annual shows from four to two, showing both menswear and womenswear together at ‘seasonless’ shows during September and February, with the looks being instantly shop-able from the runway. A move like this is pivotal; no longer do fashion magazines have the upper hand. Now, the clothes shown on the pages of glossies (which work three months in advance just to stay on top of new trends and collections) will be out of date - unless the industry protects the existing working relationship in a new way, one that complements Burberry’s exemplar.

Christopher Bailey, Chief Creative and CEO at Burberry, said that the change will allow Burberry to build a closer connection between the experience of the shows and the moment people can shop. “Our shows have been evolving to close this gap for some time. From livestreams, to ordering straight from the runway to live social media campaigns, this is the latest step in a creative process that will continue to evolve.” In other words, they’re listening to their customer.

Similarly, Topshop launched Runway-to-Retail at London Fashion Week last month, a new initiative that allows Topshop consumers to shop the collections straight from the show. So, when you see that sequin stripe bomber jacket sashay down the catwalk, you can add it to your virtual basket and sling it over your shoulders before you can say, “I need the Topshop jacket Olivia Palermo wore last week.”

Predicting the future of fashion is virtually impossible, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that brands should be paying attention to their customers’ needs – and with online shopping up by 45% in 2016* and Instagram boasting a 300 million daily active users, it’s clear to see the customer is most definitely online.

*according to www.smartinsights.com images via Burberry

Originally published on 02 Nov 16

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Christina is a freelance writer and blogger based in the UK.
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