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Luxury Brands Break Away From Binary Runway Shows

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Burberry and Vêtements take on a gender-fluid approach and combine their womenswear and menswear shows.

In fashion, rules are meant to be broken, and that is exactly what Burberry and Vetements are doing. The two brands recently announced they will be adopting an immediate see-now, buy-now model for their new collections. In addition, Burberry and Vetements will be combining their menswear and womenswear shows, and will only be showing twice a year as opposed to four.

"Showing men's and women's at the same time connects us to real life," Vetments creative director Guram Gvasalia toldVogue. "Today, men wear womenswear and women dress in men's clothes. Gender is not a given fact anymore; a person has the right to choose one. Times change. Splitting genders in two is against the natural flow of today's reality."

The move not only breaks down traditional barriers, but also strategically saves Burberry and Vetements money. Instead of having to stage four expensive and time-consuming shows a year, designers can reduce that number to two and focus more of their time and energy on actually making the clothes.

As a result, the brands are doing away with the traditional four-month lag between showings and the time their collections hit retail stores. This makes sense in the Internet age, which has accustomed fashionisti to instantaneous pleasure, and other designers, like Tom Ford, are jumping on board.

In a statement to WWD, Ford elaborated on the fast-changing economics of luxury fashion: "We spend an enormous amount of money and energy to stage an event that creates excitement too far in advance of when the collection is available to the consumer," he said. "Showing the collection as it arrives in stores will remedy this, and allow the excitement that is created by a show or event to drive sales and satisfy our customers' increasing desire to have their clothes as they are ready to wear them."

While all this appears to be great for consumers, it suggests that designers are attempting to regain some control of consumers' shopping habits. As Gvasalia told Vogue, "Luxury, which once meant scarcity, has become 'a bargain.' Reducing the number of collections means reducing the supply curve, and in this way, increasing the demand."

You got it: Removing the wait between runway and store will allow designers to make the most of our impulses, sell out more, and drive up the lust value of their brands. Only time will tell if the new schedule will bear its fruits.

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Andre Wheeler