Will ‘see now, buy now’ become mainstream with the fourth industrial revolution?

According to Pascal Morand, executive president of the Féderation française de la couture, des couturiers et des créateurs de mode, the ‘see now, buy now’ movement is already history. The fourth industrial revolution is to be sought elsewhere.

Is 4.0 technology making ‘see now, buy now’ possible?

‘See now, buy now’ is a deceptive transcription into the fashion world of the digital consumer's attitudes regarding consumer goods. It can’t be applied to creative brands. Fashion is not merely a question of need, but of desire, and the cult of instant gratification is irrelevant with desire. Creative fashion relies on a trio: quality, creativity, and time. It takes two months to create a fabric, and between four and five months to produce a model, from the beginning to the end of the supply chain.

The ‘see now, buy now’ mantra had the looks — and only the looks — of a trendy buzzword that took into account the latest and greatest new tech. As I had the opportunity to state on behalf of the federation, we believe on the contrary that ‘see now, buy now’ does not take tech into account. Some players, such as Tom Ford and Thakoon, tried their luck but soon gave up. At some point, brands face the harsh reality of deadlines. The model isn’t viable except with basic or lifestyle clothing, and capsule collections to a certain degree.


So how will the fourth industrial revolution impact the fashion industry?

With 4.0 technologies, there are more possibilities than ever before. These technologies will allow for traceability all along the value chain, push the evolution of information systems forward and find new playing fields with wearable technology. During the production process, there is hope that robots will eventually become able to sew flexible materials – something that fashion players have so far been unable to tame.

Progress in the field of artificial intelligence raises all sorts of philosophical questions in the creative industries. As with music, it will be possible to properly reproduce the creativity of stylists, but can this be qualified as substitution? In my opinion, it will never compare to the effusive artistic talent of human beings.

All in all, fashion is in the midst of incredible technological change brought about by digitalization. A myriad of technologies are being invented and combined. The paths to explore are endless.