The designer ushers in his own era at the British brand with some high-end merch—and new way to get customers shopping for it.
Riccardo Tisci’s reign at Burberry officially started when he was announced as the house’s chief creative officer back in March. We got our first glimmer of what the iconic Brit label would look like in the Italian designer’s hands last month, when a new modernized logo and throwback house print—based on founder Thomas Burberry’s initials—were unveiled. Since then, and thanks to the herculean efforts and deep pockets of the mega brand’s marketing team, the ‘TB’ monogram has gone viral. Three-story high inflatable teddy bears canvassed in the orange, white, and khaki print have popped up on city street corners around the world, entire buildings have been wrapped in the pattern, websites have gone glitchy with it, and city buses given the kind a advertising overhaul usually reserved for Tom Cruise movies. It was a lot promotion for a new era—and Tisci’s first runway show on Setpember 17th—but, so far, there was no new era product to buy. Today—and only today—there is.
The first design of Tisci’s to see the light of day is a black “Monogram Motif T-shirt” with a white “TB” on the chest. Which fits: no designer has done more to elevate the humble tee to the extreme heights of luxury than Tisci. And this stark, graphic garment will feel like home to Tisci’s most ardent fans (though maybe less so to Nova Check fanatics). Its $390 price tag is perhaps less democratic than its silhouette, a pseudo-slouchy-but-not-quite-oversized fit that’s in line with the coziest menswear out there in 2018.
What makes this release different from any other first issue is that you can only purchase the piece on Instagram—and as of right now, you only have 15 hours left to do so. We’re officially living in the Age of the Drop and with this T-shirt, Burberry’s upping the ante by opting for a social-first strategy. It’s a taste of what’s to come from the brand; it was also announced this week that a selection of Tisci designs from his first runway show will be available for purchase a mere 30 minutes after his bow. Under Christopher Bailey’s tenure, Burberry positioned itself as a pioneer in the see-now, buy-now space and this recent news indicates they’re doubling down on the business of immediate gratification.
Whether or not the drop method will save retail remains to be seen, but it’s not stopping brands big (Burberry, Nike) and small (Kith, Noah) from working within it. Like many trends in the fashion industry these days (skate style, streetwear silhouettes, all-logo-everything), the guiding principle behind its appeal seems to be “Well, it works for Supreme.” There are many reasons the setup appeals to industry players, from minimizing visual fatigue (once you’ve seen a hoodie 60 times on Instagram, the chances of you copping it dip dramatically) to maximizing gotta-have-it anxiety. The move makes sense when you’re pushing $65 hoodies. But will it when the offering is five times the price? Tisci & Co. might have hit upon an answer—the T-shirt is almost sold out.