Runway-to-Retail Changes: Here's What Brands are Doing to Evolve

The past several months have brought tremendous news regarding the evolution of the runway show, and in particular, the current runway-to-retail model. As you may know, the vast majority of brands currently stage fashion shows six months before the corresponding garments and accessories are made available for consumers to purchase. Growing consumer fatigue paired with an increased desire from brands to get a better hold on the sped-up seasonal cycle has resulted in a number of brands announcing a shift in the traditional model, as pioneered largely by British-based house, Burberry.

Below is an alphabetized list of what brands are making changing to their existing runway show model and what exactly they are doing to innovate and further serve the consumer. Stay tuned (and check back regularly) for more updates because it seems that Burberry has started quite a larger movement …

Alexander Wang (5/25/16): Alexander Wang will show his Resort 2017 collection to press and retailers as he usually does in June, but all images and reviews of the resort lineup will be under embargo until the collection ships in November. Moreover, Wang is planning to incorporate the See Now-Buy now concept into his New York Fashion Week show in September; he did so by way of his collaboration with adidas, which was stoppable immediately after the runway show. While he'll still be showing a spring 2017 collection (which won't hit stores until spring of 2017), he'll also unveil a selection of resort 2017 pieces.

Antonio Marras (5/10/16): The house has announced that it is dropping off the Milan Fashion Week men's schedule come September 2017, and will show men's and women's wear together during the b-annual women's wear shows.

Balenciaga (4/21/16): Under the direction of Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga will put on a men's runway show for the first time ever in Paris this June. 

Balmain (4/20/16): Creative director Olivier Rousteing has announced that Balmain will adopt a form of See Now-Buy Now for upcoming collections. The brand will, however, "keep key pieces" to sell later. It's See Now-Buy Now offerings will likely take the form of "seasonal capsule collections, which are relatively affordable, tightly edited and available immediately after the brand's runway shows."

Bottega Veneta (5/6/2016): The label will showcase its men’s and women’s collections together in September 2016 in celebration of the Kering-owned house's 50th anniversary and Maier's 15th anniversary as creative director. No word yet on whether this will be business as usual going forward. 

Brioni (5/9/2016): Brioni has announced plans to host its Spring/Summer men's show in Paris during Paris Haute Couture in July, cancelling its usual men's wear show in June, in Milan. Following the show in Paris, Brioni will offer special runway looks from the collection for sale through a series of private appointments at its flagship stores. All collections will be available for order after the shows and delivered to customers within a few weeks. The Italian luxury brand also aims to combine its pre-collections and main collections, moving away from selling four seasons a year to two.

Burberry (2/5/16), the first brand to announce a significant change to the runway-to-retail model, will combine its men’s and women’s collections together on one runway during London Fashion Week (thereby, limiting the brand’s annual shows to two per year, as opposed to two for women and two for men), it will see the end of the notion of Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter entirely. The collections will, instead, be labeled September and February collections but more importantly, they will be largely devoid of garments tied specifically to one season.

Cedric Charlier (2/11/16) has joined the growing number of designers who are merging their pre-collections to show just two seasons a year. The Paris-based designer will show his bi-annual collections in January and June. 

Calvin Klein (4/19/16): The house has announced it will combine its womenswear and menswear brands under "one creative vision."

Claire Barrow (5/24/16): London-based designer Claire Barrow has announced that she will no longer show as part of the fashion week schedule, or designing collections according to the traditional seasonal model. According to a press release, Barrow has made this decision so she can “focus more intently on her creative work,” which includes her artwork.

Diane Von Furstenberg (5/25/16): Under the new creative direction of Jonathan Saunders, DVF announced that it will forego a full-fledged Resort 2017 collection in favor of a small capsule collection. It will also withhold the corresponding imagery until right before the collection hits stores in November.

Karen Walker (5/6/16): After 20 seasons, the ready-to-wear and eyewear designer announced that she will cancel her upcoming New York Fashion Week show in September 2016 and will release a lookbook of her collection instead.

Marcelo Burlon (2/22/16), who founded the County of Milan label in 2012, canceled the brand’s women’s presentation that was due to take place Saturday during Milan Fashion Week. Instead of hosting a women’s runway show, this season the designer, who presented a large part of his women’s collection on the men’s catwalk last January, will shoot a look book and a video to be sent to journalists and shared on social media.

Michael Kors (5/31/16) - Michael Kors is banning social media from his Resort 2017 presentation. The brand announced it will release just five images on the day of appointments for online and print with the rest of the collection “open to the public” in October 2016. A complete lookbook, for editorial requests only, will be sent to editors the following day. “We feel our clients and fans will love getting a sneak peek of the collection as opposed to inundating them with too much imagery too soon,” Kors explained. “Ultimately, this is all about creating more excitement when the product is available.”

Nonoo: The emerging brand founded by Misha Nonoo in 2011 skipped the runway for S/S 2016, in favor of an Instagram-only show. For F/W 2016, she is showing - by way of Snapchat - in September, which is closer to when the garments/accessories are available for purchase.

Paco Rabanne (3/3/2016): Four looks from Paris-based brand's F/W 2016 collection are available for purchase now at the brand’s 12 Rue Cambon boutique and on pacorabanne.com. The looks are also available for pre-order Barneys.com, and buy them in Barneys stores from mid March.

Paul Smith (2/8/16): British-based designer Paul Smith said he will merge his design teams and (like Burberry) bring all of his diffusion lines into two collections — Paul Smith, and the more affordable PS by Paul Smith. Smith aims to eventually align the production of his men’s and womenswear collections.

Proenza Schouler (2/11/16): The New York-based brand announced that it will launch Early Edition, eight looks from the runway that will be available to purchase immediately after the show.

Public School (4/13/16): The New York-based brand will combine its men’s and women's collections together for two annual shows, which will be staged in December and June. Moreover, it is adopting new, season-less names: rename the collections. No longer ‘A/W’ and ‘S/S’ but ‘collection one’ and ‘collection two.'

Ralph Lauren (9/12/16): The designer has invited retailers, press and top customers to two separate runway shows — 200 people at each show — that will take place on the street in front of the brand's women’s flagship at 888 Madison Avenue. The show will consist of a See Now-Buy Now designer collection featuring 45 new fall 2016 looks.

Tom Ford (2/5/16) revealed plans to switch the presentation of his fall-winter 2016 women’s and men’s wear collections to September rather than doing it on Thursday, Feb. 18, as originally planned, in order to show closer to when the garments/accessories are available for purchase.

Tommy Hilfiger (2/12/16) announced that it will synchronize runway shows with retail deliveries. The brand will start following a direct-to-consumer model with its Tommy X Gigi capsule collection, slated to hit stores in September 2016. The company will also show its spring 2017 collection privately to buyers and editors in the fall.

Topshop (8/31/16): The fast fashion giant will offer select pieces from its "September 2016 collection" for sale immediately after the presentation during London Fashion Week on September 18 right at the show venue, as well as at select Topshop stores around the world and online. The rest of the collection will become available in November.

Vetements (pictured, above) (2/5/16): Beginning in January 2017, Vetements will be mixing its women’s and menswear collections together." The label will stage two shows annually - the collections will consist of women’s and menswear offerings together - in June and January, between the men’s shows and women’s couture shows.

Wes Gordon (2/11/16): Per BoF, “New York-based designer Wes Gordon, whose business relies heavily on in-person trunk shows, will eschew the traditional runway format and instead release his Autumn/Winter 2016 collection on Instagram via a series of short videos at 10am EST on 12 February, Gordon’s scheduled slot in the New York Fashion Week calendar.”