Paris Fashion Week came to a close recently and for the first time, they used a digital format since physical shows were out of the question. The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode’s first ever digital fashion week that showcased couture and menswear for SS21 and has received praise from all over the world. The governing body for French fashion is now set to be followed by Milan’s take on a digital fashion week, which is packed full of creative talent. However, it has been confirmed that physical runways will be returning to fashion weeks in September.
Laura Hériard is the founder and creative director of luxury of The Webster and has spoken about how “the digital format allows designers to tell their story differently and explore their DNA and be better equipped for a world where social media is predominant.” Having a digital event can be equally as powerful as having a physical event, the fashion industry could have decided to take a step back this season, whilst we are in the middle of a global pandemic as well as a global civil rights movement with Black Lives Matter. Some people in fashion have felt that the clothes were subsidiary to the digital event. However, the overall consensus has been positive, since it has given young designers a whole new platform that they can express themselves on and can offer a wider a wider range of editorial content.
Measuring social media attraction is also key. Whilst there are no specific statistics for Paris Fashion Week yet, however the way digital fashion week was marketed, it attracted a large audience. Louis Vuitton’s video starred cartoon characters called ‘The Adventures of Zoooom with his friends by Virgil Abloh’ had gained 2.8 million views in under four days, as well as an extra 1.2 million on IGTV. In addition to this, London Fashion Week’s digital platform had over 166,000 views and 61,000 unique visitors during June. The teaser video from Virgil Abloh is one of the most popular videos created in the history of Louis Vuitton.
Creativity has been under constraint for the past few months down to lockdown. Loewe had created a new solution for these difficult times, Johnathon Anderson created the show in a box, along with M/M, that was inspired Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise. Loewe sent out over 2,000 boxes to people in the fashion industry that had all the details about the show, including the set, music, patterns, the materials that were reconstructed and Johnathon Anderson talked through the ideas and showed the editing in online videos, which creates further engagement.
The new format has led to a new kind of coverage. Despite having more coverage online, in the press, there is fewer pages written about it, since there are fewer items in a collection due to covid. However, having the shows online is even more powerful when it is shared online with social media. With the spread of social media, more people will see it, even if they are not interested in fashion.
We now know a digital format was successful, but what will happen when physical shows return in September?