When it comes to the pioneers in fashion, we typically focus on the creative artistry associated with the world of fashion, with its fashion mavens and archdiocese of style worshipped by every fashionista nipping at the heels of these designer collections in rabid fervor just for a glimpse of what we will be wearing, but we tend to forget about the inner-workings of the fashion industry, the people behind-the-runways that pioneer in other ways, like the recent announcement made by Burberry during the recently wrapped Men’s Fashion Week. Dalys 1895 looks at why Burberry’s new business model is set to change the future of the fashion industry.

Burberry at Mens Fashion Week 2016

Burberry at Men’s Fashion Week 2016

The classically stylish and renowned British design house Burberry, which earned $3.6 billion in 2015, made headlines this week when they announced that they would be changing course with an innovative new direct-to-consumer (D2C) distribution model that the brand believes will empower consumers, save the brand money, and create a new business strategy that pushes the industry forward. This is not business-as-usual, and the announcement has piqued the interests of many in the fashion world, much to the chagrin of some industry veterans. Fashion icon and chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Diane von Furstenburg, recently told WWD that “because of social media, people are confused” but “[W]e have some ideas. Everyone seems to feel that the shows being consumer-driven is a very good idea.”

 

As the world of fashion evolves, so must its business models. Burberry made a well-placed bet that selling its line directly to consumers would first, empower the consumer. This direct connection builds trust with the brand itself, and consumers can feel exclusive, which results in greater brand loyalty. They are consolidating their men’s and women’s collections into two seasonless runway shows. Gasp! Outlandish? Not at all. Austere? Perhaps Burberry saw an opportunity to trim some fat off the books. Not only does this show cost-effectiveness, but also reveals that men’s and women’s fashion are at a crossroads that is beginning to converge with the new sensibilities of the fashionable Millennial set.

What the Future Holds for Burberry

This upcoming Fall will be the final seasonal show for Burberry. There are currently four shows each year (one for each season) so consolidating their collection into two shows annually, called September and February, will expose a greater number of pieces to consumers, who will now have direct access in “buy-now-wear-now” shows, where designers will make everything on the runway available for sale to consumers.

What the Future Holds for Burberry

It’s a brilliant move by Burberry, who ostensibly understand their audience and its use of social media and modern technology as well as are trying to design a platform to meet the brand’s future needs. This is truly pioneering because those running the shows are acknowledging their consumers in an unprecedented way, and are embodying the spirit of what designer fashion represents—to rebel and establish a new, as tastes are fickle like the passing seasons.

 

What do you think of Burberry’s pioneering foray into the direct-to-consumer (D2C) market? Was Men’s Fashion Week the best place to announce their plan to shake up the foundation of designer fashion? What are the reactions of of those in the industry to the news? Will this idea change the future of fashion?