How fast is fast enough when it comes to clothes and gratification? How much do you really need that dress or bag or platform sandal?
I’ve been wondering this since last week, when Farfetch.com announced that it would now be delivering Gucci in 90 minutes in 10 major cities around the world. A customer can “place an order and almost before they have hung up the phone, somebody is knocking on their door with a beautiful bag!” the founder José Neves said with great fanfare when I called to ask about it.
I don’t often hear Simon & Garfunkel tunes playing in the back of my mind (unless I am in a Parisian subway and yet another busker is singing “The Boxer”), but now I can’t get the opening line of “The 59th Street Bridge Song” out of my head. “Slow down, you move too fast.” Yadda yadda yadda.
Farfetch, Net-a-Porter, Matchesfashion.com and other higher-end retail sites have been offering same-day service in world capitals and vacation destinations for a while now (and Matchesfashion offers 90-minute delivery in London), but the Gucci deal takes it to a whole new level. And while it is, for now, more of a niche offering than a rule, it’s easy to imagine it snowballing to other brands and platforms, as the Great Race for Retail Domination (and Survival) heats up, online and off.
“Faster fulfillment” is the mantra of the moment, a response by companies to what has been called the culture of impatience. But I can’t help wondering if at least when it comes to designer fashion — the clothes that define a particular moment in time and often filter down to shape the styles of every day — it’s solving a problem that doesn’t exist. And maybe creating a new one.