How this year’s fashion weeks mixed physical and digital together

Natasha Lynch

Designers reinvented the runway during the month of September as social distancing restrictions were placed in the fashion capitals.

New York Fashion Week took place from the 13-17th and saw organizers having to adapt the shows in order to comply with coronavirus regulations. Collections were shown through livestreams, look books and other digital formats.

However, certain labels such as Rebecca Minkoff  have chosen to go ahead with physical shows but with a reduced audience capacity.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) created an online platform called Runway360 to “support designers by bringing together every aspect of a collection launch”.

It allows the designers to showcase their collections through 360-degree technology and display products to the public or the press. Currently, the platform is just displaying US designers’ work but aims to include international labels in the future.

London fashion week (LFW) commenced on the 17th of September, hosting a gender-neutral showcase across 50 solely digital formats, 7 solely physical and with 21 designers opting for a combination of both. The LFW schedule included a livestream of the Burberry collection, a short film from Vivienne Westwood and a physical runway from Pronounce, for Spring/Summer ‘21.

Similarly, Paris fashion week ran until the 6th of October and had to adapt to the current restrictions with larger venues and catwalks and a reduced number of guests. Milan fashion week also blended physical and digital showcases together.

The social media app TikTok created its own fashion month online by working with well-known brands and designers and live streaming various events. Louis Vuitton and Levi’s were amongst the list partnering on the initiative, making the collections more accessible for fans of fashion online.

ORDRE, a global wholesale platform committed to reducing their environmental impact, released figures in February regarding fashion week. They partnered with the Carbon Trust to reveal the fashion industry emits 241,000 tonnes of C02 emissions every year from travel to the fashion capitals.

An individual fashion buyer’s carbon footprint is 2 times higher than the average citizen, according to ORDRE.com.

Travel for fashion shows has certainly been reduced, however, data centres and digitalisation technology are just as harmful as the aviation sector, according to a United Nations Climate Change report.

Although the reason for Fashion Month to go digital was not solely based on sustainability, it has certainly proved the creative and innovative nature of the industry.

Natasha Lynch

Image Credit: Michael Lee on Unsplash