LONDON — Mulberry, which had already drastically reduced the time between showing and selling its runway collection, will take the plunge into see-now-buy-now fashion starting in September.
The brand said Friday it plans to host appointments for press and buyers to view its spring 2018 collection in September in London and Paris.
The full collection will then be shown during London Fashion Week in February 2018, and be shoppable in real time in what Mulberry is calling a “global consumer experience.”
The sales model is similar to that of Burberry, which now stages coed, see-now-buy-now shows two times a year, in February and September.
Thierry Andretta, Mulberry’s chief executive officer, said the company “has always been focused on offering a real and accessible lifestyle. The shift enables us to continue to drive engagement and increase our relevance to our customers.”
He added the brand’s “strong omnichannel, retail-led business” makes it well placed to align its collection launches globally and support “growing consumer demand for immediacy.”
Caroline Rush, British Fashion Council ceo, said the industry is going through a period of change, and the BFC welcomed Mulberry’s decision to “focus on a strategy that puts customers front and center.”
Mulberry has long been working toward this latest move: The brand’s fall 2016 collection, which showed in February 2016, began dropping in stores in April, weeks — rather than months — after it appeared on the runway.
Earlier, Mulberry had made a deliberate decision not to publicize its fall 2016 pre-collection. It kept the collection under wraps for as long as possible so that it could the gap between show time and deliveries.
Last year, Andretta said he was hoping to short-circuit the production of cheap high-street copies, and allow retailers to sell original designs at full price and give customers quicker access to new products.
He said it made sense for companies such as Mulberry, which is positioning itself as an accessible luxury brand, to make the changes. “I think everyone has to adapt their way of working and communicating. It was something we were really thinking about — and we didn’t want to wait,” he said.
Mulberry was also in a position to make the changes quickly. It owns its own leather goods factories in Somerset, England, and has a licensing deal with Onward Luxury Group in Italy to manufacture and co-distribute its ready-to-wear and footwear collections.
The British brand has also been exerting a tighter grip on distribution. Last year, Mulberry announced it was taking direct control of its Asia business via a partnership with its owner Challice Ltd., a division of Club 21. The new deal will initially see four stores, a wholesale and omnichannel network — including a Mandarin Chinese web site — in local currency.
London has been at the forefront of see-now-buy-now and alternative sales and marketing models, such as coed runway shows, in a bid to capture the consumer’s attention and drive sales.