Before 2020 if you asked any fashion enthusiast whether they could imagine a world without live fashion shows, they would have laughed it off. Cut to today, you have probably seen live streaming of fashion shows, completely digital or virtual fashion shows, and even VR enabled access to the latest launched collection! The pandemic compelled the fashion leaders to rethink their ways to reach the audience. Thanks to technology and the creativity it promotes, the fashion sector made an accelerated entry into a digital first reality.
In June 2020, The British Council first announced its decision to adopt digital innovation and showcase its men’s fashion week digitally. What followed was a series of fashion shows proceeding with their launches by leveraging the power of digital mediums.
- Milano Fashion Week Digital where even Gucci premiered its 2021 collection digitally, had cyber-focused fashion show formats which included virtual showroom appointments, live panel discussions on social media platforms, and a phygital showcase of collection by various designers.
- Prada’s digital presentation of their S/S21 womenswear was highly applauded thanks to their attention to detail on clothing and accessories.
- New York Fashion Week for their Fall 21 season went virtual once again because of the continued restrictions owing to the pandemic.
But Is Replicating The Physical Reality Into A Digital Format Enough?
Robert Burke, founder and CEO of retail and fashion consultancy Robert Burke Associates, has the answer:
“Fashion brands tried just streaming a runway show, and it didn’t work. So now they’re faced with these new ways of using technology to appeal to the customer. Shows have evolved to where it wasn’t just about selling items or looks. It was about creating an experience.”
Have a look at this immersive experience created by the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne where you can see 65 outfits just by scrolling:
And guess what? You don’t have to imagine this in a virtual fashion show because some fashion weeks already saw this being implemented for real!
- In 2021, London Fashion Week partnered with brands with digital expertise to create virtual showroom experiences. In its phygital version, Auroboros presented Biomimicry, their digital ready-to-wear line through an AR experience via Snapchat.
- You can check out The Khaite Spring/Summer collection designed using AR technology by simply scanning the QR code on their website or clicking on the link via your mobile phone.
- In the Helsinki Fashion Week(HFW) collection, Patrick McDowell, the London based designer presented his collection in a dreamy setup which would have not been possible in the real world. He said, “It also saved time and waste. Digitally embroidering a cape with thousands of Swarovski-like crystals took an hour, versus months.”
- Digital village not only created digital-only collections for HFW, but also allowed viewers to pre-order physical garments, claim digital garments to be placed on a picture or worn in a virtual environment, and instantly give their reactions in the form of likes.
- Damara Ingles, a London based designer presented The Fabric of Reality, where guests could see other guests’ avatars, interact with them, and enter three different portals where they could enjoy a 360-degree immersive experience.
Matthew Drinkwater commented, “Creating in virtual reality allowed us to pull the audience through the screen, into an entirely new era of experience and utterly dispel the myth that digital shows can never match the excitement and emotion of a physical one.”
But Are These Virtual Shows & The Virtual Commerce Experience Benefitting Anyone?
Launchmetrics, a brand performance cloud company has the answers:
- The Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture enabled a wide reach in the Asian markets which is a good indication for brands who wish to cater to Asian consumers through digital activations.
- In the New York Fashion Week, smaller brands gained visibility as the digital platforms helped them jump over the challenges usually associated with traditional shows and be present on a platform which was not packed with the big names.
- The September edition of the Milan Fashion Week which included physical and digital shows gained 42 million views online and €35 million as earned media value.
Alison Bringé, CMO at Launchmetrics said, “This goes to show that harnessing the power of digital not only allows you to respond to fast-paced changes but it enables you to amplify your content and collection launches, to reach new markets and global audiences.”
- Virtual expos enable democracy in viewership, helping brands gain wide exposure to new market segments.
- Gathering the analytics from these shows can help brands understand customer preferences better.
- Digital provides opportunities to complement traditional fashion, employ creative license better, and expand the scope of innovation.
The focus of the fashion industry is moving towards creating experiences where resources are utilised in more creative, innovative, and more responsible ways. To get a headstart into virtual commerce experience without compromising on the essence of your brand, we are right here, just a click away. Just like virtual fashion shows today!