With Paris Couture Week and Fashion Weeks in Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai all becoming casualties of coronavirus, the British Fashion Council is leading the industry's comeback with annoucement that London Fashion Week Men’s will be replaced by a digital-only platform combining menswear and womenswear from 12-14 June.
According BFC Chief Executive Caroline Rush CBE, "It is essential to look at the future and the opportunity to change, collaborate and innovate. Many of our businesses have always embraced London Fashion Week as a platform for not just fashion but for its influence on society, identity and culture. The current pandemic is leading us all to reflect more poignantly on the society we live in and how we want to live our lives and build businesses when we get through this. The other side of this crisis, we hope will be about sustainability, creativity and product that you value, respect, cherish. By creating a cultural Fashion-Week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and something to build on as a global showcase for the future."
During the three-day event, we can expect interviews, podcasts, designer diaries, webinars and digital showrooms, and in a further democratising of fashion, the digial platform will be open to a global public and trade alike, giving designers the chance to generate sales for both the public through existing collections and the retailers through orders for next season’s designs.
Caroline adds, "Designers will be able to share their stories, and for those that have them, their collections, with a wider global community; we hope that as well as personal perspectives on this difficult time, there will be inspiration in bucketloads. It is what British fashion is known for.”
The BFC has also secured the support of Amazon Launchpad, Facebook, Google, Instagram, and YouTube to support British designers as they bring their visions to life on the London Fashion Week digital platform.
This moves follows Shanghai Fashion Week that took place from 24-30 March where than 150 designers and brands livestreamed their Autumn/Winter 2020 collections edition online via Tmall, Alibaba Group's e-commerce platform, making it the world's first Fashion-Week event to go fully digital.
Brands such as Dior and Prada have already worked with CGI influencers such as Noonouri and Lil Miquela respectively and now, digital fashion houses are now experimenting with bringing collections to life in an entirely digital format without the need for real-life samples, models, or even a physical catwalk and an audience. This not only provides an interim solution to how you show collections in the age of COVID-19 but also goes some way towards a sustainable response to the accusations levelled at the fashion industry for being the world's second biggest polluter. Are you going to tell Bella Hadid, or shall we?
- Find the London Fashion Week digital platform at londonfashionweek.co.uk
Photos: Designecologist for Unsplash and courtesy of Olivia Rubin edited by Kathryn Rao