Fashion is one of the most heavy-impacted industries due to COVID-19 pandemic. They close fashion stores. People lockdown transportation and logistics. As a result, fashion weeks around the world are postponed or even canceled during this period. Therefore, famous fashion houses have to find a solution, called fashion week online.
Late spring and early summer are when designer labels show their spring-summer collections. However, because of COVID-19, the most anticipated events of the year can not be taken place.
Seoul Fashion Week, which was planned to be held from March 17th to 21st was postponed because the number of COVID-19 cases increased dramatically in South Korea. Similarly, Gucci Cruise 2021 in San Francisco, Fall-Winter 2020 Collection by Ralph Lauren in New York, as well as dozens of other fashion shows around the world.
Besides, the cost of organizing offline fashion shows really matters. Expenses for costumes, accommodation, and travel expenses for guests, models, organizers, cost a lot. Plus, perform clothes are not reusable or sold. This contributes to exacerbating environmental pollution issues in the fashion industry.
One of the pioneers in solving these problems is London Fashion Week. On June 12-14, they will merge womenswear, menswear, and gender-neutral fashion into one single digital event called fashion week online. They will show their new designs through virtual showrooms, videos, lookbooks, and digital exhibits. Moreover, not only will professionals, celebrities, and influencers but also everyone can get access to the show since it’s public. Like London, Shanghai and Moscow also organize fashion week online.
Long before the public health crisis, there are some tech-savvy brands that started to coordinate technology with fashion to release their collections towards virtual space through fashion week online. Danielle Guizio, who dresses “It” girl such as Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, BlackPink’s girls, has released her Spring-summer collection at last September’s NY Fashion Week towards virtual spaces. Firstly, she projected video footage of models wearing her new clothes to invite-only guesses. Then, she live-streamed for her 333,000 followers on Instagram. Moreover, last year, she modeled Miquela Sousa for her athletic wear. Miquela Sousa is an AI musician existing in the digital world.
Last February, when Milan became a ghost town after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy, Giorgio Armani released their collection in an empty room. With the help of digital media, this “haunted” showcase became a fashion week online that all of the audience can easily get access to. Besides, Saint Laurent announced on their Instagram that they will launch their collections “following a plan conceived with an up-to-date perspective”. Facing the same problem, Vogue Italia did a FaceTime photoshoot with Bella Hadid. They claimed it was the first of its kind, but won’t be the last.
In fact, many fashion professionals believe that digital fashion like fashion week online will replace the traditional one. Fabricant, a self-appointed “digital fashion house” believes that “clothing doesn’t need to exist physically”. He’s producing and selling digital hi-end clothes that are “used and traded in virtual realities”. What’s more, according to, Tommy Hilfiger is working with a digital fashion house. They’re planning to create avatars, holograms, and augmented-reality formats for the comeback showcase after the pandemic.
Though there are some disadvantages of not being able to touch or look at the clothes in person, fashion week online has its own advantages. In the short-term, it meets the requirements of social distancing. Next, in the long-term, it will replace fast fashion and make them more environmentally sustainable. Fewer shows lead to a reduction in air pollution while traveling and energy usage. Hence, the digital exhibition offers more opportunity to innovate this sparkling industry.
To the designers, they can bring their designs closer to the audience than ever before. The audience, instead of waiting for new collections published in fashion magazines, now can enjoy the whole artwork without being interrupted by the critics’ opinions. Furthermore, designers who have not captured the world’s attention can now organize their own show with a low budget. If they’re lucky enough, just through the screen, the whole world will be aware of their talent. Thanks to the fashion week online, the dream has never been that such close to them.
While solving the problem of the pandemic, people started a new era of fashion led by fashion week online. This reborn, not dying, is what fashionistas have been waiting for decades. Not only is urgent public health addressed, but it also turns a new page for the global fashion industry.