The health risk posed by the devastating COVID-19 virus and the disruptions that followed brought the entire world to a standstill—including the fashion industry. With social distancing, masks, and travel restriction being the ‘new normal’, countless fashion shows had to be cancelled or postponed.
As retail stores closed their doors, financial concerns skyrocketed, and the public continued airing apprehensions over the environmental sustainability of conventional fashion shows, brands had to adapt! The solution to this dark cloud of uncertainty in the fashion industry? Digital events!
Digital Fashion Shows in Nutshell
So, what exactly are digital fashion shows? They are basically a tech-inspired alternative to traditional fashion shows – i.e., audience-free presentations that are experienced via live stream. For example, instead of traveling to New York, London, Milan, and Paris for the coveted bi-annual fashion week, fashion aficionados attend the events virtually from the comfort of their homes.
It’s a way of leveraging inevitable technological advancements/digital innovations to reshape the fashion industry. This may include the use of visual effects, augmented reality, green screens, or even 3D avatars modeling digitally created clothe designs.
Are Digital Fashion Shows the Future of Fashion Week?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government-imposed social distancing regulations, it’s impossible for the fashion week to exist as it has for several decades. This makes digital fashion shows the most logical way to circumnavigate the current obstacles.
The inevitable leap from analogue to digital was first taken by the British Fashion Council when it announced a virtual gender-fluid event for the London Fashion Week June 2020. Since then, countless Fashion powerhouses have followed suit by sharing their creative content online.
But are digital fashion shows a temporary solution to social distancing restrictions or are they here to stay?
In a way, the pandemic seemed to merely escalate an inevitable wave of change in the fashion industry. Cyberspace has dramatically transformed people’s lifestyles and consumption habits. With everything else going online, it’s only natural that fashion shows evolve in tandem. Besides, virtual events are more accessible to users (i.e., no need of traveling to fashion capitals), ecologically viable, and they open a world of endless opportunities for designers.
But the lingering question in most people’s mind is; “Can virtual fashion shows replicate the same ‘Great-Gatsby-like’ flair, electric excitement, and unhinged opulence that has characterized live events since the dawn of time?” The short answer is, not yet—but we’re getting there!
Seeing designer clothes from your favorite fashion brands via a screen just doesn’t strike the same blissful nerve as a physical event. Sure; the sustainability, accessibility, and health-consciousness perks cannot be ignored—but neither is the missing magical ‘oomph’ factor.
Whether it will be a case of ‘out with old, in with the new’ or a cohesive merger of both worlds, one thing is certain...it is an exciting time as the fashion industry continues to evolve.