The Advent of DIGITAL or VIRTUAL FASHION SHOWS - are they here to stay?
In the past year, the landscape and the trajectory of life in itself have taken a 360-degree turn. Right from the entire ‘work from home’ culture and social distancing norms being followed, we all have slowed and eased down in many ways. At the same time, one fad that has made its presence felt in our lives in a big way and is in all certainity, here to stay is the digital or virtual age. Apart from various businesses and the education sector going online, one major industry that has followed the bandwagon is FASHION industry. With brands and designers monetizing on the same with various style statements, to the fashion forecasts adapting to this new reality, this is an industry that has definitely marched ahead to the beats of this new rhythm.
How has the FASHION industry adapted to this new trend of VIRTUAL FASHION SHOWS ?
Talking of fashion weeks, the Paris Fashion Week this year definitely changed the game. Taking place for a little over a week, from the 28th of September- 6th October, 2020, this intrusion from dealing with a global health crisis was transformed into an inspiration, and the world of fashion truly shone and bedazzled. The traditional format of the ramp walk, with the who’s who of the style icons flocking from across the world was changed – the over lit atmosphere with thumping and vibe-inducing music was extended to us, dreamers too. The rebel and the rule-breaking movement are definitely calling for a revolution- a change of sorts.
Top executives of most luxurious brands such as Hermès, Gucci, and Saint Laurent have ubiquitously implied that this change, however bizarre and anxiety-provoking is great. Chanel, Dior’s Men, and Couture, as well as Valentino’s going ‘rogue’ collections amongst others were all live-streamed for the world to see. And masks, which have been pretty synonymous with the Coronavirus pandemic, turned to beautiful accessories and fashion statements too. Around eighty-eight brands showcased their collections, with heavyweights such as Louis Vuitton, while dropping teasers in advance to tickle our curiosity and anticipation, and creating an irresistible hype.
Various International Brands took the trend in their stride
Taking the adage, ‘Go Live or Go home’ a bit too seriously, some fashion houses decided to sit out this season and not stage their spring/summer 2021 (SS21) collections too such as Off-White, Celine, and Alexander McQueen. We’ll hopefully see them return soon enough. With TikTok live-streaming two fashion weeks a day, it was a visual delight for many sore eyes. Brands like Balenciaga and Kenzo were a retreat to our fashion deprived hearts, but we missed seeing Saint Laurent participating last year. Taking the safety regulations and their social responsibility a tad bit seriously, they decided to use this time and reinvent themselves too, just to be back with a bang soon.
The Milan Fashion Week, which was slated for a little earlier pre-decidedly took all safety measures, while trying to strike a balance between the live and closed-door events. The earlier editions of both these fashion weeks had created quite a stir and panic too as this pandemic was just setting in. From Prada to Versace, these heavyweights have all outdone themselves during this year against all odds, with an optimistic outlook towards the same.
Indian Designers too embraced the new normal of Virtual Fashion Shows
Closer to home, India’s Lakme Fashion Week, which took place over five days in October 2020 went digital too. Using this opportune moment, they used this platform to promote the concept of inclusivity and sustainability in fashion. Beautifully and intricately portraying our culture, while keeping the 21st century generation at the forefront, our designers pushed the benchmark this time around. An amazing amalgamation of the Gen Next designers and established names in the country, the outcome was a wonderful cacophony of sorts in the design world. It was the perfect merging of ideas, innovation, and creativity, whilst promoting our artisans and our cultural roots that stole the show. Right from Punit Balana to Amit Aggarwal and Jayanti Reddy amidst much another extraordinary talent, it was a proud moment in the history of Indian Fashion.
Now, folks, the takeaway in this one year, which has been nothing short of a rollercoaster of sorts in all spheres of our lives, has been thought-provoking, to say the least. As a lover of all things fashion, we feel that this changing phenomenon, where this parading is not only restricted to the elite few but entirely to the world too, can work wonders. Even though weddings or other social gatherings were banned or discouraged to get a grip, the online sales grew steadfastly over time, and these shows played their part too. With local artisans going out of work and support flooding in, this can be accounted for some teething problems when a change is made.