Thought the buy-now-wear-now conversation had gone quiet for the moment as the fall season winds down? Wrong.
It’s many vertical retailers’ turn to show their collections and Madewell is getting in on the schedule shift. The company’s fall press day tomorrow is for long-lead purposes only. WWD was invited, but just to browse, and all editors are asked to take a scout’s honor approach to refraining from social media.
“The team and I have been watching the industry evolve into a ‘buy-now-wear-now’ environment where immediacy is more and more important to customers,” Joyce Lee, Madewell’s head of design told WWD. “With that in mind we’ve decided to hold the release of our fall collection to the public until the product is available in stores. With this shift, we’re allowing our customers to both be involved in the excitement that surrounds the release of a collection and to shop it, all at a time when the clothes are seasonally relevant.”
Lee was appointed to her post last June, amid a series of job cuts and design team changes at Madewell’s parent company J. Crew Group, and presented her first collection for the label in October. At the same time, Lee’s predecessor at Madewell, Somsack Sikhounmuong, was promoted to head of women’s design for the J. Crew brand, which had suffered from lagging momentum and decreased sales. Madewell, meanwhile, has been a steady source of positive growth for the company and is especially strong in dresses and denim. Last week, J. Crew Group reported a 26 percent sales increase fourth-quarter sales increase to $92.5 million for Madewell. J. Crew sales decreased 3 percent to $604.5 million.
J. Crew presented its fall men’s and women’s collection during New York Fashion Week last month, per the traditional fashion schedule. No word if the buy-now-wear-now press strategy would extend to J. Crew going forward.