The Show Must Go On
Considering how volatile everything is at the moment, even fashion is being forced to question itself and proceed with caution. Designers really dug deep to portray the distinct qualities of the brand they represent, and the collections were shared live on social media, reaching much wider audiences.
Moschino got everyone excited with its original puppet show while Balenciaga had music written specifically for a creative video, with models walking around the beautiful streets of Paris.
Creative videos were definitely the medium of choice to present the collections for spring summer 2021. Some renowned brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent stayed outside the traditional fashion calendar while others presented shows on a grand scale, inside vast open spaces.
One of the most impressive was definitely Chanel, with models emerging from huge capital letters spelling the name of the brand, resembling the Hollywood sign inside the Grand Palais. Creative Director Virginie Viard was inspired by the modern life of actresses.
Doubts and questions about the validity of fashion shows were already being raised before the pandemic, but now they assume much more significance.
Long Skirt Statement
“Fashion shows don’t have to be relevant right now. There’s so many other things that are more important and I wish that fashion people could allow themselves to sit with that discomfort.” Daniel Roseberry, Artistic Director of Schiaparelli
When manufacturers in the so-called third world countries are left to fetch for themselves after unpaid orders from global brands, and the negative environmental impact of the fashion industry is widely known, can fashion remain oblivious and still get away with it?
Black & White Evening
WWD bravely reported how a catwalk protestor left the audience perplexed at the Dior show during Paris fashion week, by getting on the catwalk at the end of the show with the message: “we are all fashion victims”.
Mintel’s report on Womenswear: Inc Impact of Covid-19 - UK, published in May 2020, signals a “growth of secondhand market and swapping” and a “growing interest in sustainability.” Rental business models are also booming and widely reported on British media.
This shift is forcing brands to take sustainability seriously. What is interesting about the present situation is that it empowers brands to look for their own solutions without being restricted by a predominant fashion system.
Not everyone needs to stage a fashion show to be successful. There are many other ways of presenting a collection and engaging directly with potential consumers.
Glitz and Glamour
This also raises another question about who actually needs to attend a fashion show? It seems to me like organising a wedding, if you can only invite a limited number of guests, you need to establish priorities.
I sincerely hope we don’t go back to the same madness as before the pandemic. Let’s face it, images of the collection are crucial not only to magazine editors but also buyers, freelancers and bloggers to name but a few…
Stripes & Polka Dots
But wouldn’t it make much more sense if brands hired their own photographers? They could provide images of the collection instead of having an insane number of people flying from around the world just to see the show…
This is the perfect time to think outside the box and seek alternative ways of operating the fashion industry without undermining the need to support a wide range of businesses connected with it.
Profit is a crucial element of success but sustainability needs to be included in the equation. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.