LONDON — Mother of Pearl is joining the list of designers and brands adopting the consumer-friendly see-now-buy-now approach to showing new collections.
As of the fall season, the brand will reduce its offering to just two collections per year, with two different drops per season, ensuring that the product available at retail is season-appropriate. In February, the brand will not show on the catwalk to press and buyers, but will instead show the spring collection it showed in September at the consumer-targeted London Fashion Weekend, with that collection available to buy at the same time.
It will then return to the runway in September as most other labels are showing spring 2018, when it will show its fall collection, which will be available immediately.
“We were just so fed up with the rat race of trying to keep up with four collections a year,” Amy Powney, Mother of Pearl’s creative director, told WWD. “We would be dropping one collection into retail and then literally have to start work on the next collection the next day. Moving to just two collections a year will enable us to create really concise, well-researched and developed collections instead of just filling holes for buyers.”
Powney said that this move came after looking at the changing landscape of fashion and the way in which social media has opened up the world of fashion to consumers who, increasingly, want to be able to buy what they see on the catwalk, when they see it. “It’s not fair that [consumers] can see the see the collection but not buy it for six months,” she said.
To support the label’s retail partners and the fashion press, Powney said that Mother of Pearl would produce a look book and samples so that buyers can place their orders in time with their schedules, and stylists can shoot it for long-lead titles. The brand is stocked at over 100 luxury stores worldwide.
This decision coincides with a redevelopment brand’s e-commerce site, which will sell a broad selection of Mother of Pearl’s ready-to-wear collection to reflect Powney’s seasonal vision for the brand. It currently only sells a selection of footwear and accessories.
The label was founded in 2002 by stylist Maia Norman and Sue Foulston, a designer who also teaches at Central Saint Martins. Powney joined straight after graduating from Kingston University in 2006, before the brand’s relaunch in 2008. She has been in the role of creative director since 2015.
“I felt really passionate about the Mother of Pearl buy [for the e-commerce site] reflecting what is shown on the catwalk; that it shows my vision for the season that was shown on the catwalk,” Powney explained, adding that she often felt that stores would be buying into the brand in a way that is different to what a consumer might expect from seeing runway images, often selecting commercial pieces that didn’t even make it to the runway. “It’s not a consistent story and doesn’t represent the brand the way I would. We would get enquiries about catwalk product that might only be available in one store in the Middle East.”
The e-commerce site, which will launch with the spring 17 collection, will sell about 30-40 percent of the full 70-piece range, driven by Powney’s overall vision for the season and bestsellers from past seasons. “It’s a big financial commitment to stock the full collection straight away, and we’re not there yet,” she said.
Following a trend initiated by Burberry, other brands moving to the see-now-buy-now model include Mulberry, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger. And WWD heard from sources that London-based Brazilian designer Barbara Casasola would soon be adopting the model, though the brand declined to confirm when reached for a comment.