Digital fashion shows take over the runway

With physical fashion weeks on hold, the niche world of digital fashion is being gradually catapulted to the mainstream.


We know how Covid-19 has forced all kinds of events to take the digital route. From music concerts, award shows, literary festivals and even fashion shows; digital has become a  collective refuge and often the first response. 

Talking of fashion shows, while no one predicted a near-complete halt that the industry has witnessed globally; eventually, it became so. Forced by this crisis, fashion experts and curators began imagining newer formats to stay relevant. And the result was the rise of virtual events, which have now become mainstay if not mainstream.

Haute Couture & Covid-19

The world’s first entirely virtual fashion week--Shanghai fashion week, was recently streamed online.  According to its organisers, this week-long event generated $72 million in online sales and garnered a total of 11 million livestream views.

As per some reports,  Shanghai fashion week organisers are now planning to host a physical format too,  from October 8 to 16. It must be mentioned that while the last season drew more than 150,000 visitors including fashion shows, trade fairs, forums, parties and other events, very few overseas media, buyers and brands are expected to attend this time around.

Talking of virtual events, even the popular Moscow fashion week chose to go digital this time and had over 830,000 people streaming it. Now, Milan Fashion Week is combining physical and digital with Prada pushing the hybrid format to the next level. 

According to Sanjoy K Roy, MD Teamwork Arts, an online pret show is an extension to the online session mania and should work well.

“Fashion exists in a visual spectrum, with fashion shoots and enhanced imagery, be it against a heritage backdrop, a street scene, an over the top set or well-appointed backdrop. The photographer, model and the clothes, Work as a collective to create an image which is desirable.  The only issue is that front benchers won't get to flaunt their cash by showing off their couture.”

Online Mania

According to some experts, because of the lingering effects of the pandemic, digital will continue to remain an integral part of fashion shows across the world.

While a virtual fashion week could never really rival the old standard, however, the use of evolved technology is making virtual shows look equally impressive.  Show curators are using green screen, augmented reality and visual effects to create an illusion of a near real event.

“World over from Milan to New Newyork Virtual Fashion Shows are happening since this is the new normal and believe it is working really well, and I firmly believe it's here to stay for now”, adds Sonal Jindal, Fashion Designer and Founder-Director, MEDUSA

With physical fashion weeks on hold, the niche world of digital fashion is being gradually catapulted to the mainstream. As we move to a pandemic with no near end in sight, digital fashion shows could become even more immersive and hi-tech as the discipline evolves.  

Some reports also suggest that 3D avatars wearing digitally created clothing, real models’ faces beamed onto 3D bodies and real models wearing real or digital clothing are all options that might dominate the world of online fashion sooner than we imagined.

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