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“I think this is a start of a new era and we will never go back to the way it was before,” says Alexandre de Betak, founder of Bureau Betak, production agency behind shows of labels including Christian Dior, Saint Laurent, Kenzo, Michael Kors, Rodarte and Gabriela Hearst and high-profile events such as the LVMH Prize.“The time to change what we do has finally arrived and that excites me. The fashion weeks were a very old machine. That is ending. Not dying — but reborn.”

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What may have been happening in the future is happening now. This year will be the year of change for the fashion industry. New digital alternatives are coming out and designer are changing their priorities, the summer fashion shows have been called off and looks like the September fashion weeks won’t take place. But there is a silver lining at the end of this whole situation.

Fashion shows will probably go digital, Betak is already figuring out shows and presentations that will rely more on digital technology and less on who is seated in the audience. At least for few years, looks like we are not going to see any more any kind of overcrowded fashion shows.

It looks like there will be a new schedule in the fashion industry, according to Betrak, if fashion shows will return they will be more likely Jacquemus SS20 fashion show in Provence, where only the 20% of guest were fashion professionals the rest were family and friends of Simon Porte Jacquemus, in total there were no more than 500 people present.

Designers like Giorgio Armani and Vetements have been calling for a change. They want to produce less and less often, as well they want customers to buy at full-price and that retailers should realign the sales calendar in order to let them start at the end of each season, rather that start sandals sales in June, they want them to start in September. Dries Van Noten stated that there won’t be fashion shows in June or September, and that he wants collections to be aligned when consumers want to wear a specific item, and an end to early discounting.

Designers are exploring new ways to obtain imagery. Photoshoot are taken through video calls. Jacquemus did its photoshoot with the model Bella Hadid though facetime and later posted it on Instagram. Savage X Fenty is experimenting with photo shoots conducted by model-brand ambassadors in their own homes, self-styled and directed remotely, augmented with artwork by the mixed-media artist Rafatoon.

The digitalization of plenty aspect of the fashion industry is the new normality and everyone is adapting to it, as Betrak said “My gut feeling is that the full international events will not return until there is a vaccine” and predicts that “fashion shows are going to go from 100 per cent digital (this summer) to a hybrid, maybe one-quarter live, by the end of the year”.

By Alice Del Rossi

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