The Fashion industry has been longing for a change for years now, but the global pandemic of Covid-19 has finally given it the last push. The well-known format of runway shows arranged during fashion weeks is a resource-consuming and expensive tradition to keep. Even though runways display the creation of designers best, the 20-minute shows bring along several harming side effects for the environment. For example, the audience often travels to the show across the world, creating unnecessary plane trips and the shows itself often use equipment that releases a lot of carbon emissions.
This year, the measures of social distancing have forced fashion brands to think outside the box and start creating virtual material for their fashion week shows. The formats used in digital fashion weeks are endless: from photoshoots to virtual runway shows, from behind-the-scenes documentaries to artistic films, from real-life talks with the designers to virtual board conversations. The virtual possibilities are so wide-ranging that fashion brands can show their creativity in a format that has never been seen by their customers, and it’s all safe to the environment! We at KORLEKIE are highly supportive of the digital ideas, bringing to you our favourite highlights from this year’s digital fashion weeks so far.
London Men’s Fashion Week (June 12—14)
London was the first of big fashion capitals to launch a digital version of its fashion week in June 2020. The schedule consisted of different short films about the designers’ collections, behind-the-scenes documentaries and displaying their inspiration through artistic videos. It also conducted numerous podcasts, IGTV talks and virtual conversation boards with the designers and representatives from the fashion brands themselves. Not only did the fashion week display the creation of the designers, but it also highlighted the problems of racial inequality, the conditions of garment workers of third world countries and the sustainable aspect of creating apparel. The virtual format allowed the brands to go much further than runway shows every could, showing their real values and concerns about the fashion industry.
London Digital Fashion Week Highlights
Paris Men’s Fashion Week (July 9-13)
The virtual version of Paris Fashion Week for spring/summer 2021 collections represented 5 days of fashion films displaying the collection teasers, moving editorial or documentaries of the fashion brands. Brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermès released short films dedicated on the real-life runway shows and the thrill around them, whereas Dior mixed moving editorial with a filmed interview, creating a short movie celebrating African artist Amokao Boafo to introduce African names among American and Japanese. From a different perspective, Korean designer Wooyoungmi displayed her collection through a choreographed dance production set at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord. However, even after launching all those creative versions of fashion shows, most designers admitted they are not planning to quit runways after the pandemic is over as this is something that is close to their heart and traditions.
Paris Digital Fashion Week Recap
Milan Men’s Fashion Week (July 14-17)
This July, the Men’s Digital Milan Fashion Week brought to us a number of films about menswear as well as haute couture and cruise from Milan, Paris and elsewhere. Designer houses like Maison Margiela, Gucci and Versace recorded their collections and the creative processes of the designers and artisans. Without physical runway shows the process of creating the collection became the new show for the fashion week’s audience. This created an amazing new world of transparency from the fashion brands, allowing the customers and journalists to see how much effort and craftsmanship it takes to create the collections. Similarly with the Digital Paris Fashion Week, many presentations from the Milan Fashion Week concentrated on work and emotions around the runway shows, reflecting the physical shows to be the traditional comfort zone for fashion designers.
Milan Digital Fashion Week Recap
Helsinki Fashion Week (July 27-August 1)
When moving towards the northern fashion capitals, Helsinki might have shown us the real length of the possibilities in digital fashion weeks. The latest Helsinki 3D Fashion week consisted of virtual shows displaying collections in a completely virtual 3D cyber platform. The collections were launched using models walking in the ocean among fish, on the water next to giant flamingos, being on an entirely different planet or walking between clouds. It was also the first-ever fashion week that sold digital garments instead of physical ones. After the purchase, the new owners could use the pieces for dressing up their avatar for VR experience or even use it in video games. Additionally, the fashion week focused on conversations and events discussing sustainable garment production, introducing industry newcomers and testing the digital future. “No filters, no facades, only collaboration and transparency,“ is how Evelyn Mora, the founder of Helsinki Fashion Week, described the innovative event.
Patrick McDowell - Catholic Fairytales
Stockholm Fashion Week (August 25-27)
Stockholm could be considered as a pioneer in digital fashion weeks, replacing their runway shows with virtual content for the past two seasons already. Mentioning sustainability as the prime factor, the fashion week tested digital formats even before the global pandemic. The latest schedule of published videos, interviews, live events and virtual showrooms all have a higher focus on sustainability and accessibility in the fashion industry. The consumer-facing Fashion Week content consists of interviews with designers, presentation of online collections, talks on conscious fashion and other interesting activities. When compared to the other fashion weeks, Stockholm has a higher focus on function and value, just like Scandinavian fashion in general.
AVAVAV ft. Reign for Stockholm Fashion Week 2020
Even though the digital fashion weeks have been now positively tested across the world, Paris, London and Milan have decided to return to physical runway shows this September. It shows how the fashion world is somewhat divided, half of the designers embracing the new digital version and the other half preferring traditional runway formats. Even though digital fashion shows could never replace traditional crafts that are a huge part of runway shows, they offer an entirely new playground for fashion designers to test their creativity. We at KORLEKIE believe that like any other innovation, digital fashion demands a new way of thinking, integrating the crafts of garment creation with the technological wisdom of computers, but when doing it right the outcome could be something simply amazing. If you’re also interested in the digital content KORLEKIE has created, you can find it here.