Many of us are probably aware that the coronavirus pandemic has meant the cancellation or postponement of all major events in 2020. To much disappointment, London Fashion Week is no exception. This June, the invite-only, usually exclusive event, which is reserved mainly for industry professionals will be held entirely online.
The public will have access to exhibitions and shows so you will be able to live out your front-row dreams from the comfort of your own home. For the next year, the event will also merge menswear and womenswear into one gender-neutral digital platform.
The price-tag will continue to close off the industry to outsiders
In Spring 2010, London Fashion Week became the first out of New York, Milan and Paris to livestream their big catwalk shows. What will this entirely online move mean for the future of fashion weeks and will more of us be able to access an incredible exclusive industry?
While full details are yet to be announced, the British Fashion Council will allow designers to digitally innovate their shows, with interviews, podcasts and digital showrooms all lined up to be published online. The public will be able to browse designer showrooms and make purchases but, if usual prices are anything to go by, it will certainly not be affordable. Everyone deserves to be able to appreciate the artistry and time that goes into the creation of designer clothing, but the price-tag will continue to close off the industry to outsiders.
We can be inspired to incorporate the fashion we see on the catwalk into our own style
We may not be able to afford physically to take something away from an online fashion week, but we can be inspired to incorporate the fashion we see on the catwalk into our own style. After all, while typical designs walking the catwalk are beautiful, some of the more over the top ones are rarely seen on anyone walking down the street.
Commenting on the digital move, Caroline Rush CBE, chief executive of the British Fashion Council said: “There will be inspiration in bucketloads. It is what British fashion is known for.” This is a chance for the public to embrace the designer fashion we see walking the catwalk and, for the first time, could lead to fashion weeks not completely shutting out those unfamiliar with the industry.
This digital platform will force the event to change and innovate
Once things return to ‘normal’, it is quite possible that the British Fashion Council will decide to return to how things have always been. However, this digital platform will force the event to change and innovate, especially in a time where an online presence has consumed our lives even more so than usual. The digital imprint has had to adapt quickly, setting the stage for the future of fashion weeks, allowing the public to make a connection with the stories behind designs, and submit questions to be answered by industry professionals.
The coronavirus pandemic saw Shanghai host a digital fashion week in April, and Tokyo broadcasted shows in March. London will be the first city to adopt a completely digital-only event. While buffering browsers and low-quality videos are inevitable and could hinder the experience of the new platform, it could turn out to be a significant move for making the fashion industry more sustainable, as jet-setters spotted on the front row remain at home.
Digital events will provide us with a spark of inspiration that many of us can embrace
Some have called into question whether designers need to produce two collections per year, especially considering the fashion industry’s environmental impact. Perhaps, this move is a chance for designers to embrace sustainability in their own designs. As a result of the lockdown, designers could experiment with materials and everyday items found in the home and turn them into works of art.
Virtual fashion weeks will let us fall in love with the beautiful and somewhat unusual designs but the sad reality is that the price-tag will always be out of reach for the majority of us. However, digital events will provide us with a spark of inspiration that many of us can embrace in our own style – a positive step forward for the fashion industry in highly uncertain times.