The Blog

October 03, 2016


From Runway to Retail and The Power of Influencer Marketing

This Season was not the first time designers decided to use the See Now-Buy Now model. Yet it was the most talked about topic (other than Bella Hadid falling on the catwalk) because, in contrast to previous seasons, a vast majority of designers embraced it – in their aim to close the gap between the visibility of their fashion show and the moment of purchase. Among the designers experimenting this season with the model, were Alexander Wang x Adidas, Michael Kors, Topshop, Burberry, Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren.


Those of you who are confused and think we’re talking about a runway model you’ve got it all wrong! Although your confusion is understandable, Model… Fashion… we get it! But what the See Now-Buy Now Model actually means is that designers show their collections to buyers, months before the live catwalk shows. Buyers make orders for their favourite pieces, so that they will be available in stores and online when the public sees the collection for the first time live on the runway. Making the designs on the catwalk available to buy as soon as they hit the catwalk. It’s in the name, once consumers have seen the collections they are able to buy them immediately!


The idea follows that by limiting the time-lag of six months between the catwalk and purchase, it should create a sense of urgency, inspiring shoppers to buy the clothes at that moment in time.


But did the See Now-Buy Now model actually prompt shoppers to buy what they saw? Well the actual sales figures aren’t out yet, but we can tell you that designers’ PR teams pulled all the strings to at least try and make it a success. Just like every season much attention was paid towards the presentation of the collections. But much more thought was put into the front row, and in particular, the specific influencers that were invited to each show. This season, influencers are to be a vital part in the collection’s success. Not only will they be introducing new looks, they will hopefully compel consumers, prompting instant sales.


For the first time, instant gratification will be an option. Consumers can get their hands on the newest trends and won’t have to wait six months to steal the looks of their favourite bloggers. Shoppers will be able to buy clothes, but will also immediately buy into a desired lifestyle, lived by influencers and magically staged by the catwalk show. The impact  of influencers during this Spring/Summer 17 fashion season should  be immense. The See Now-Buy Now model, means that apart from the influencers who attend the all-important fashion shows, the ones who wear the new collections to market them on their social media, should lead to direct sales.


That’s why the importance and power of influencers this season is heightened. The choice of influencers should and would determine this season more than others, the kind of audience and shoppers who will buy from the new collections. The influencers who are assigned to instantaneously share their attendance at the shows on their social media platforms should influence their audience who constitute the perfect consumers for the brand  and will in turn make purchases.


Much consideration went into each and every catwalk, controlling who will attend each event and the kind of consumers who would want to purchase the new collections. Tommy x Gigi was one of the first shows we saw influencer marketing in full action, staging a carnival to showcase the affordable shoppable daywear collection. Gigi opening the collection, and the presence of her bestie Taylor swift sitting in the front row, wearing pieces from the collection and sharing snaps of the event with her 91.2 million followers, meant that  most of the $100 pieces were sold out online on that same day! And if you look now, most pieces are sold out.


For Tommy, it’s fair to say that this season, he got it just right. Using an influential supermodel, with the even more influential best friend along with the runway to retail show, was the perfect equation for sales. And according to the Digital Engagement Rating Tommy was the top digital brand of NYFW; generating over 411K engagements a 36% increase increase over the year prior.”


The Michael Kors show, also saw an influencer invasion, with Kendal Jenner and Bella Hadid strutting down the catwalk and bloggers Olivia Palermo, Leandra Medin aka Man Repeller and Chiara Ferragni aka the Blonde Salad in the front row. Tom ford presented his collection at a private dinner, with celebrity front row guests Rita Ora, Hailee Stanfield and Uma Thurman who documented the event, live on their social media platforms. British designer Julien McDonald, chose Hailey Baldwin to open his  runway and Invited fashion blogger and Londoner Rosie Foresecue, who no doubt was posting live on her social media, sharing the collection with her 500k followers.


But unlike Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors, and just like Tom Ford, Julien’s collection is much less affordable, and commercial. With plunged necklines, heavy beading, cut outs and thigh-high slits, sequins, tweeds, furs and exotic fabrics. So until we see the sales figures, it’s not known whether the presence of influencers, combined with the See Now-Buy Now model, worked as well for less affordable and commercial collections.


For now all we have are predictions based on what we know. And although as human beings, we have the tendency to See Now, Like It and want to Buy It immediately, especially if we have the means. We also have the tendency to consume for our immediate needs. So though we may have seen a spring summer garment on the catwalk we liked and want, upon entering the store we are more likely to purchase the clothing necessary for the current season. As we don’t tend to plan six months ahead.