In the era of social distancing, the global fashion industry is forced to accelerate even faster towards digitisation and must rely on innovative alternatives to physical fashion week presentations. This season, in a context of regulated deconfinement, the cities of London, Paris and Milan are opting for an entirely digital Fashion Week. The English capital opened the ball rolling on Friday 12 June 2020 by orchestrating the very first digital rendez-vous dedicated to the presentation of British collections.
For this summers fashion week edition, the British have chosen Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysees to highlight five displays representing the worlds of designers Martine Rose, A-COLD-WALL, Alighieri, Craig Green, Molly Goddard, Rejina Pyo, Rixo, Simone Rocha and Wales Bonner. In the sixth display window never-before-seen images of London Fashion Week live, allowing Parisians to peak into digital private fashion shows. The London Fashion Week calendar features 51 events where designers present their work in the form of films, interviews and podcasts from their offices or from out of office atypical locations. The digitisation of London Fashion Week mixes apprehension and excitement of a new technology.
This gives you a taste of the Paris Fashion Week officially held from 9 to 13 July 2020 and Haute Couture July 6th through 8th. The women’s and men’s collections will be presented at the same time by live streaming (such as Hermes, Balmain, Chanel) and digital showrooms by appointment for professional buyers.
In addition, other content such as, SPHERE – Paris Fashion Week Showroom, dedicated to emerging brands, will take the form of a virtual showroom. This event will be aimed at professionals while being accessible to a very large audience. It will allow to showcase Paris and the creativity of the brands listed in the official Paris Fashion Week calendar and be relayed on the global distribution networks.
To complete the picture, the Italian National Chamber of Fashion (CNMI) has announced that its session will also be held online from the 14 to 17 July. So here comes a season without invitation cards or front row seats, without street style photographers, nor a final salute under the applause. Each brand has to rethink itself, designers have to think about new formats to present their works, casting directors have to make a cross on foreign models who won’t be able to travel. For both Paris and Milan, the aim will be to present the men’s spring-summer 2021 collections and the spring-summer 2021 pre-collections through films and various contents (photos, live-streaming, online seminars, etc.). An initiative that was not easy to imagine just a short while ago.
These digital remedies fit Covid’s current global problematics but do not replace physical Fashion Weeks in the long term. Senses that are necessary like sight, sound and touch in clothing and brand DNA are lost. Hideaki Yoshihara and Yukiko Ode, designers of the Japanese label Hyke, said that:
« the digital experience is no substitute for what we live in real life (…). Unfortunately for the moment, the atmosphere and the general aspect can’t be replicated in streaming. »
The announcement made June 24th by the Federation that September Paris Women’s Fashion Week will be maintainted is a challenge for the actors. The borders of all countries will not all be open, buyers will not be able to travel as they do to every edition. The significant investment in these digital tools must be amortised for the fashion brands, so some of them have already declared that they will continue with a digital presentation in autumn. In addition, many major brands have stated that they do not wish to exhibit their collections in Paris in order not to endanger their staff. How will this all play out?
A few weeks ago, the French haute couture house Saint Laurent revealed that it would no longer present its collections at Paris Fashion Week 2020 due to the spread of coronavirus, while Dior and Burberry are still hesitating to show physically. Other players are investing in more sophisticated venues to receive by appointment and offer a digital experience for those who won’t be travelling. Market players will continue to adapt.
MR Agency assists fashion brands in optimizing the presentation of their collections, whether in a digital or physical way. MR Agency’s premises are equipped to allow you to organize your showroom in the best conditions allowing you to have an original and unique presentation if that be for digital way and/or physically appointments.