Redefining Fashion Week in the Age of Coronavirus

As the SS21 womenswear shows wind up, many have begun to consider the relevance of catwalk shows in our ‘new normal’. Critics have argued for some time that fashion shows are a thing of the past, with show formats having become stale. The Covid-19 pandemic has stopped designers in their tracks, forcing brands to find new ways of captivating home-bound audiences.

Virtual and digital presentations have replaced physical shows as social distancing restrictions continue to pose a challenge globally. As captivating as some of the better presentations may have been, many shows have missed the mark, lacking the usual energy and excitement created by influencers. While virtual or digital shows presented online, on Twitch, or Amazon Prime, have created a more inclusive experience of fashion weeks, efforts to overcome current challenges seemed to fall flat. There was a sharp decline in social engagement surrounding the shows. On average, digital show formats generated less than a third of the online engagement that normal physical fashion weeks create. The all-digital London Fashion Week, which mainly featured smaller brands, had a 55% drop in social media engagement.

It’s evident that fashion weeks as we knew them won’t return anytime soon, so brands must reconsider how they can deliver a more tactile experience to the consumer at home in order to encourage better engagement. The more talked about designers this season delivered pre-show packages, containing photography of the looks and items pertaining to the inspiration behind the collection. Loewe went big and delivered a portfolio of life size imagery, along with wallpaper paste, paintbrush, scissors, and tool bag, to influencer’s homes globally. 

We are in unprecedented times, and brands are continuously second-guessing their every move. Is it more advantageous to create a simple digital, or ‘phygital’, presentation, or pour money into experimental virtual experiences? This is the beginning of a new era of showcasing, and we look forward to seeing how designers evolve next season, breathing new life into a somewhat tired tradition. 

For more on what this could mean for your business, or for the latest SS21 catwalk reports, get in touch with the team at studio@bdalondon.com