With New York Fashion Week soon approaching (September 8), we’re ready for the onslaught of designer shifts that accompany it. Misha Nonoo is already ahead of the crowd. After staging an “Insta-show” on Instagram last year, she’s skipping the runway format once more in favor of a Snapchat presentation, according to Business of Fashion (BoF). But wait, there’s more: The designer is ditching her wholesale business and selling directly to consumers via her website, mishanonoo.com.
“This new model allows me to continue to leverage technology and innovation to interact with my customer directly,” Nonoo said in a statement. “We can now better meet our customer’s wardrobe needs wherever she is, and continue to dress her for every intention.”
The switch from wholesale is a major move, one that other designers may soon follow. There’s been grumbling in recent years (and it’s growing louder) that the current fashion calendar makes no sense. The timeline to show the clothes and get them in store is months long, and consumers want instant gratification (sometimes via knockoffs if they’re available sooner).
Famed style critic Suzy Menkes likened the fashion schedule—usually two ready-to-wear collections a year, plus haute couture, menswear, resort, and pre-fall—to a “fashion treadmill,” back in 2013. She argued that the schedule was the reason so many designers were burning out. "If we accept that the pace of fashion today was part of the problem behind the decline of John Galliano, the demise of Alexander McQueen and the cause of other well-known rehab cleanups, nonstop shows seem a high price to pay for the endless 'newness' demanded of fashion now,” she wrote in T Magazine.
She’s not the only one who’s questioning the calendar. Public School designers, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, decided to ditch traditional shows. Instead of adhering to the standard schedule, the duo decided to do two shows a year—one in December and one in June—that combine men’s and women’s collections.
Burberry has already shifted to a direct-to-consumer model. Even Diane von Furstenberg, head of the CFDA, noted to British Vogue, "We have designers, retailers and everybody complaining about the shows. Everything needs to be rebooted."
All of this means Misha Nonoo is moving in the right direction, and we expect even more designers to follow her lead. Like Public School, she’s combining the seasonal collections, offering up to three a year: Fashion Essentials, Fashion Specialty, and Evergreen Essentials (the latter will be offered year-round). And unlike her last show, which allowed consumers to preorder an item, they can now buy it instantly. Snapchat, she said to BoF, “is more raw and real life. The thing to expect is new uses of native Snapchat functions. It’s experimental, ephemeral, and speaks to this girl where she is.”
The fashion world is changing, and in the end, we’ll all likely benefit from it.