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Burberry AW16
Burberry SS16Photography Chloé Le Drezen

In a radical move, Burberry scraps existing fashion calendar

The brand will show twice a year, mixing men’s and women’s collections and making them available to purchase immediately

This morning, British label Burberry has done something radical: scrapped the existing model of fashion presentation. Instead of showing four times a year (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections for both men and women), the brand will show twice, with “seasonless” collections entitled “February” and “September”. And, instead of a six-month wait subsequent to these shows, the collections will be available to purchase in store and online immediately.

“The changes we are making will allow us to build a closer connection between the experience that we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves,” said Burberry chief creative officer and chief executive officer Christopher Bailey. “Our shows have been evolving to close this gap for some time. From live streams, to ordering straight from the runway to live social media campaigns, this is the latest step in a creative process that will continue to evolve.”

Burberry’s announcement comes at a time when more and more people are questioning the current model. “The problem is not only that we are going very fast, but also that we are communicating first and then delivering later,” said The Business of Fashion founder and CEO Imran Amed in an interview with Dazed. “We are simply creating way too much product. I think it will be hard to slow down the communication as we are all operating at the speed of digital now, but we could be a lot smarter about how we do things.”

“You create a lot of energy when you do the shows...and then you close the doors and say, ‘Forget about it now because it won’t be in the stores for five or six months’” – Christopher Bailey

Making products immediately available makes a lot of sense. “You create a lot of energy when you do the shows,” said Bailey, in an interview with The Business of Fashion, “And the broader these have become – whether it’s live-streaming, Instagramming, or showing online – you’re creating all this energy around something, and then you close the doors and say, ‘Forget about it now because it won’t be in the stores for five or six months.’

Helmed by Bailey, Burberry has been at the vanguard of other important shifts in the industry, including the adoption of social media – most recently the brand shot its SS16 campaign live on Snapchat. With this in mind, it’s highly likely that the rest of the industry will follow its example in some way. Who knows, maybe fashion week as we know it will soon become a thing of the past.

Watch Burberry’s AW16 menswear show below: