Creative Director Christopher Bailey takes the iconic British heritage brand Burberry gallantly into the future.
By Max Berlinger
Despite fashion’s obsession with the new, in many ways, it can be an industry that is cautious about trying new things. Take, for example, the fashion calendar, which dictates that brands show their collections to press and store buyers a full six months before they’re available to customers. It’s been this way for the entirety of the modern fashion era, and the timing made sense to give labels time to take orders and then fill them. Those days are gone. Thanks to the Internet, average fashion fans are now able to access the images at the same time (if not sooner) than magazine editors and store buyers. Blogs are able to report on the season before traditional media is able to. Buyers, quite frankly, are bored of the clothing they saw six months ago by the time they land in stores.
There’s a reason that fashion is reluctant to change: it’s hard. Huge corporations can’t easily reimagine the logistics of a supply and demand chain they’ve relied on for the sum total of their existence. And yet Burberry, despite its enormity as a company (not to mention cultural presence) is dedicating itself to adapting, as it has since the dawn of the digital age, thanks to its Creative Director Christopher Bailey.
Despite its heritage and its size, the company has been quick to embrace technology to help spread its message. It was one of the first brands to livestream its runway shows, starting back with its Spring-Summer 2010 show, and to offer customers at home a chance to purchase pieces they see on the catwalk from the comfort of their own home, just click and go.
This season, Burberry made a huge leap, and decided to close the six month gap between the unveiling of its seasonal collection and selling it, adopting a nascent business plan in the industry called by many, “see now, buy now”. During September, when many other brands were showing their Spring-Summer 2017 shows, Bailey showed his Fall-Winter 2016 collection, which was made immediately available via its own stores across the globe and selected retail partners, like Barneys New York in the United States, and MR PORTER online.
“For an industry that loves moving forward - that’s about newness and inspiring people -how can we not be excited about the thing that has changed every one of our lives?” – Christopher Bailey