See Now, Buy Now: A Guide to Understand the Process

The next São Paulo Fashion Week is just around the corner and we’ll definitely be listening a lot about “See Now, Buy Now” for the following days. But what exactly does that means?  

Some seasons ago we started to hear the brand new expression, and for a generation that’s grown side by side to the immediatism the internet and new medias have brought, it might be hard to understand how the fashion industry has came this far without following the hush standard. However, it seems to had changed, or at least, that’s the track designers are seeking.

For those who are not used to the fashion calendar, here’s an explanation: when a designer presents a collection, the clothes produced for the show are expected to be available only six months after the Fashion Week. When we talk about see now, buy now, everything changes: the minute you spot a fantastic coat on the catwalk, it’s already possible to achieve the piece at the closest shopping mall.

Burberry's RTW Winter 2018 collection. Credits: Fotosite

The debates around the idea had started around 2015, but according to the fashion designer Paolla Muglia, graduated on Santa Marcelina College and Fashion Assistant at Dudalina, the changes on the textile production begun on the 2017 Summer/Spring London Fashion Week, with the brand new Burberry collection. It was September of 2016 and ever since then, designers from all across the globe decided to rethink their way of producing. “This phenomenon emerged as a way to align the experience presented on the catwalk with the final consumers’ buying desire”, Muglia explains.  

As the digital marketing and also the social medias brought some new lifestyles and expectations, the six-months wait could not be that worth for the textile industry - when we’re talking profits -  so, when your collection is available right after the Fashion Week, “you can create this immediate need of consumption and attend to the desire at the same time”, the fashion designer complements.

Talking Factory

So, if now the whole process needs to be faster, how exactly does the industry adapted itself so nothing’s ever off the schedule? According to Muglia, first of all, now designers need to anticipate themselves to create a new collection, because there are some steps on the backstage of the fashion industry, the ones we don’t see, that need to be done way before the models put their feet on the catwalk.

For example, the collection’s showcase has to be ready three months before Fashion Week, so it can be photographed to be distributed to the media. Besides that, the production step is one of the more affected ones, as “now the collection needs to be ready as soon as it’s being presented, a challenge that doesn’t allow delays and mistakes”, Paolla Muglia elucidates.

Dozens of houses around the globe have already joined the “see now, buy now”, team, just like Lilly Sarti, Lolitta, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Laurent. For them, the new process is profitable as it satisfies the customers and keep up with the world’s quickness trend. On the other hand, remarkable brands have stand for the old and traditional model: Prada, Glória Coelho and Reinaldo Lourenço, for example, are not really excited about it, as Tom Ford tried and gave up about the idea.

On The Other Hand

If such an influential group on fashion business is already into the new process, another philosophy seems to be growing alternatively to the fast and furious way of pleasing the customers. “The fast fashion is getting, day by day, more unsustainable as we see base products become trash, methods of production as main polluters to the environment and, also, a lot of slavery-like work to sustain the production chain”, Muglia details.

The True Cost Documentary. Credits: Blog da Pessoa

So, when the see now, buy now is pretty similar to the fast fashion logic, such a new movement into the fashion industry has started, and its called “slow fashion”. The main goal is to create sustainable clothing as it englobes people’s rights being respected, ethical ways to work with nature, decreasing the pollution and trash numbers, and also, as a manifest against the consumerism fast fashion encourages.

Not as small as you might think, the slow fashion has already reached fashion universities and starts to get into buyer’s thoughts. Along with veganism and dozens of new lifestyles to respect our own planet, slow fashion has a great basis to work on, but can we know what the next fashion weeks will provide us?

If a see now, buy now collection is presented right after one that puts the consumerism card on the game - just like Vivienne Westwood has done along her career - we might wait and see what SPFW has to prepared to us.