Six months after showing his first in-season, see-now-buy-now collection, Tom Ford has announced plans to return to a system of see-now-buy-later. After impressing his audience and reviewers with his AW16 collection shown in New York last September, the instant buy model seemed to be destined for the same success enjoyed by brands such as Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren who adopted a similar model and seem to be sticking with it for the time being.
However, having withheld his collection from buyers until the day of his show, Ford lost selling time. Previously, collections shown in February would be available for buyers to purchase in late July or early August. The new model, though, demanded snap decisions from buyers with little time to process the collections and contextualise them alongside trends and the rest of their stock. So not only was an entire month of buying lost by not showing anyone the clothes until September, but the pressure was also heaped onto buyers forced to make quick decisions on a collection.
The likes of Burberry and Ralph Lauren of course sidestep this issue by largely selling their wares through their own global network of stores. This, of course, is not the case for the prestigious but smaller brands like Ford’s.
If one thing is for sure, though, it’s that the system is broken and smaller brands’ inability to join the bigger houses in the see-now-buy-now category surely puts them at a further disadvantage when it comes to achieving growth and success. Perhaps even more radical steps are required to adjust the fashion calendar?