How Sharing Runway Pictures Online Is Hurting Fashion

Instant gratification is a blatant side effect of the modern advances to shopping online. Ten years ago, no one would have thought they could order various products on a site like Amazon with guaranteed two-day shipping, but today it’s almost an expectancy. Consumers who see something of interest want to buy it immediately without waiting for it to arrive in stores or on their doorstep a week later.

In numerous instances, this isn’t an issue anymore. Shopping and buying what you want so it can be in your hands within a day or two is no longer a luxury. So, when there’s an exception to the rule, there will inevitably be an effect on consumers who aren’t willing to wait.

Fashion from runway shows is that exception. Typically, it takes within six months for a collection being previewed for an audience to reach commercial availability. A designer will show his or her Fall collection in February or Spring collection in September, and people would wait in anticipation for it to be released months later.


The concept is still sound in many ways, though the shift in patience over time from consumers can’t be overlooked. Fashion isn’t unlike most industries that have to constantly release new products to attract interest. The main difference between fashion’s waiting period and the instant release of some products upon being announced is the viewership they initially receive.

15 years ago, the best chance many people would have to see the newest runway offerings would be published media. That method wouldn’t leave average consumers completely clueless as to what new collections would feature, but many would still find interesting pieces they hadn’t seen until it hit stores. Plus, newspapers and magazines pale in comparison to the details provided by social media.

Pictures will be posted for all to see from those who were there, many of whom probably have substantial followings in the first place.

Above all else, the biggest difference in how people view new fashion on the runway is live streaming. Being at the show in person can’t be beat, but most shows can still be seen in their entirety over the internet. Anyone interested has the opportunity to take a long look at everything a designer’s collection has to offer. There won’t be any surprises come commercial consumption.

Where these changes and differences come to a head is a consumer’s attention. Maybe you’ve seen the entire collection, thinking of how much you want a specific dress before realizing that you’ll be waiting months for it to be in your hands. Waiting patiently isn’t out of the question. However, the one certainty surrounding that idea is that you’re interest will never reach the height of seeing it for the first time again.

<> on September 15, 2012 in London, England.
<> on September 15, 2012 in London, England.


Between seeing it and having it, you may be more interested in something else by the time that opportunity comes. Brands like Tommy Hilfiger have released their Fall collections in September on a see-now-buy-now basis to appease impatient customers quicker. Doing so makes sense until the realization sets in that a lot of designers otherwise aren’t doing the same, leaving prospective consumers of Spring collections still wishing they could have it immediately.

It’s unlikely that runway shows focusing on upcoming seasonal collections will become extinct. Then again, progressively evolving is natural for every industry as the interests of consumers who fuel them do the same.

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