We’ve all found ourselves—either sitting at fashion shows or clicking through the runway photos later—looking at the featured designs with a cocked head. The looks shown on catwalks are notoriously funky. Not funky in the, “Oooh, how eclectic” way. Rather, funky in the, “Who the hell would actually wear that?” way. Such has been the typical discourse around high fashion for decades. Designers would make impossibly intricate or just plain un-wearable items. Who were they creating these pieces for? Why were these extreme looks even being tolerated? Did people actually like these garments?
Do a quick Google search on the term “high fashion,” and all the articles are titled something like “Why Is High Fashion So Ugly?” or this Buzzfeed article, where a reader asked “why are designer runway clothes so ridiculous?” And rightfully so. If designers want people of prominence to buy their luxurious fashion lines, wouldn’t those fashion lines at least have to appeal to those buyers? This conundrum has been common in the fashion world for far too long.
But there has been a recent shift in the way things work. Before, there were couture or runway collections, and then there were separate ready-to-wear collections. What you saw on the runways at NYFW would not be able to be purchased until the season it was shown for. However, fashion week is morphing into something much more inclusive than it ever has been. Many major designers said nah to the traditional lights, camera, catwalk, this year and instead held fashion presentations of sorts. It’s known as the “see now, buy now” business model. You can read more here about some of the designers who chose this model from this past NYFW, those of which included Rebecca Minkoff, Tom Ford, and Michael Kors.
Of course, not all designers have adopted the change coming to the fashion industry. Many bigwigs still believe that exclusivity is what makes high fashion so… well, high. Luckily, e-commerce is also playing a part in revolutionizing availability. Luxury fashion sites are making high fashion accessible to anyone—just take a look at Lyst’s Bvlgari collection, for instance. Having big-name brands at your fingertips is a new opportunity for shoppers who don’t have access to luxury brick-and-mortar shopping, and it’s really paying off for the designers. Their products get much longer shelf-lives and are much more widely available than ever before.
Whether it’s because of the shift in consumer activity or simply because designers are shifting their own views on the high fashion market, the overall status depicts that luxury items are becoming much more wearable. Now, that’s not to say you still won’t see some wacky creations boldly strutting down the runways, but there will certainly be less. Thanks to both e-commerce and the “see now, buy now” business model, designers are viewing runway fashion in a much more practical manner. Because let’s be honest – no one’s going to buy the ridiculous looks called out by the Huffington Post.