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Tommy Hilfiger is the latest designer to ditch the traditional fashion calendar for a more consumer-friendly spin: starting next season, the brand will show its collections to the public and put it on sale immediately, as soon as we've laid eyes on it.
The brand announced the news this morning, just a couple days before its own runway show at New York Fashion Week, which is already shaping up to be a very social-friendly show. Hilfiger has designated a specific photo pit for Instagram influencers (called the "InstaPit," unfortunately), and the brand has installed a faster check-in system at the show specifically for Apple Watch users.
The move to a direct-to-consumer runway will start with the brand's collaboration with Gigi Hadid, a collection of fall clothes that will debut in the fall. Hilfiger told Business of Fashion that the hype machine will be out in full force for the collaboration, with Hadid sharing snippets from the collab on Instagram for the next six months leading up to the collection's release. "It's like releasing an album," Hilfiger told BoF. "There are leaks, but the full collection won't be exposed by any means."
A year from now, in February 2017, the brand will have completely transitioned over to a direct-to-consumer runway. Hilfiger will debut spring clothes in February that will go on sale immediately, while buyers and long-lead media outlets will have access to private viewings of the collection beforehand, in September, to accommodate buying and publishing schedules.
"This is the next step in our journey to shorten the development cycle and balance our approach to meet the diverse needs of consumers, buyers and media," Tommy Hilfiger's CEO said in a statement. "We are committed to working in a new way with our business partners and the industry to achieve this goal."
Hilfiger joins an ever-growing list of brands that are moving towards this new, consumer-centric fashion calendar. Most notably, Tom Ford, Burberry, Proenza Schouler, and Rebecca Minkoff have all announced their own similar shifts towards a direct-to-consumer runway.