The recent autumn/winter 2016/2017 fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris have seen designers divided over moves some labels are adopting, to put their items immediately on sale after their catwalk presentations. In an age of social media – where shows are streamed online – and competition from high street retailers regularly updating their collections, Britain's Burberry and designer Tom Ford announced new "see now, buy now" strategies last month.
"If we are Instagramming, live-streaming and showing the collections, we can't expect a customer and a consumer to tie-in with a traditional kind of calendar," Burberry Chief Executive Christopher Bailey said. "So I do think we all need to evolve and change but I don't think that there is one rule that fits everybody."
Other labels Prada, Diane von Furstenberg and Monique Lhuillier have made similar moves even if on a smaller scale, selling a select few items.
"I realise that when people see an image they want it right away," Lhuillier, who put five looks immediately for sale after her New York show, said. "This is the way we're experimenting to see if this is how we want to show."
Buyers are welcoming the fast fashion initiative, namely when designers have customers living in different climates. "I think the changes have been a long time coming," Ed Burstell, managing director of Liberty store in London, said. "No one can understand now when they see something 'why do I have to wait six months to buy it'."
Ken Downing, of US luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, agreed. "I think that the pattern changes of the climate are very real. It is not winter until January, February and sometimes March and it's important that designers are thinking about what they're designing and when it's being delivered into stores," said Downing. "The reality is that the customer does not shop early anymore, they buy now to wear now."
However, opposition remains from those who say collections need time and consideration to be made. "When you want to make a collection creative, you need the time, you need to study the fabrics, specific research," Carlo Capasa, head of Italy's national chamber of fashion, said.
At Chanel, creative director Karl Lagerfeld said the brand had already been putting up for sale fast items from its pre-collection – which precede the main line shows.
"We have even two shows which are in the shops the day they are shown, the pre-collection of the main collection. We do that for years that's why for me this whole dialogue, I don't even understand it," he said.
"If a small company does that, they will go out of business because they don't know if they depend on multimark stores who will buy what. I don't know. So we do that for years. So for me it's not even new. I have a feeling they made such a fuss because they had no other news to deliver."