Web Brings Fashion Week Straight to Consumers


Runway looks from Thakoon and Proenza Schouler, whose upcoming collections will be available on Moda Operandi. (images courtesy of Style.com)

Runway looks from Thakoon and Proenza Schouler, whose upcoming collections will be available on Moda Operandi. (images courtesy of Style.com)

Over the past few years, the Internet has made Fashion Week consumption instantaneous in all ways but one — actually obtaining the items being worn down the runway. Now that live Internet broadcasts of runway shows are commonplace, the six-month lag between watching someone model a jacket during a show and waiting to see if it’ll end up on a designer boutique’s racks seems antiquated.

Moda Operandi, the new members-only online trunk show set to launch during New York Fashion Week this February, is hoping to change all that. The web site gives high-end consumers access to shop an entire designer’s collection almost immediately after it hits the runway.

Runway looks from Thakoon and Proenza Schouler, whose upcoming collections will be available on Moda Operandi. Photos via Style.com

Post-recession, store buyers are turning conservative in their buying — and as a result, shoppers don’t have access to a designer’s full collection. By opening the entire collection up to shoppers themselves — particularly those who are unable to attend trunk shows or visit showrooms to place orders — designers can gauge consumer demand and interest immediately, before items go into production. When Burberry sold select items from its Fall 2010 collection online immediately following a live stream of the runway show, traffic increased 30%  over the four days the collection’s selections were for sale.

Moda Operandi CEO Aslaug Magnusdottir recently sat down with BlackBook to discuss her new entrepreneurial venue, and discussed the disconnect between post-show demand and faltering interest by the time items are on store shelves:

There was a study done by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year that showed that on average, in NY, in the 24 hours after a fashion show there were 100% increase in sale inquires due to the buzz the show created. But it leads to zero sales because none of it is available. I think a fashion show can be a huge buzz and press event, but what is missing is how to leverage that buzz into commerce. That’s what we are trying to enable designers to do.

In addition to the immediacy it offers, the site can actually combat knockoffs and looks “inspired” by high-end designers that are quickly mass produced by fast-fashion chains. With its instant accessibility and ability to capture consumers’ interest, Moda Operandi could be a game-changer in high-end retail.


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