Digital Catwalks: Yay or Nay?

Words by Lauren Junestrand

In January this year, the British Fashion Council announced that London Fashion Week for the Fall 2021 season, running from the 19th to 23rd of February would be entirely digital. This is on trend with other fashion weeks this year such as Paris, Copenhagen and New York, all of which have impressed us with their digital editions.

The pandemic context has forced fashion brands to reimagine and engage with innovative technologies to appeal to us, the digital generation. In a new era, adapting to social distancing and zero contact, I must admit, e-catwalks do seem like the right option. Will this mode of showcasing new collections revolutionise the way we see fashion? What about the detail, the feel or texture of the garments? How can a screen emerge us in the same experience that a physical catwalk does?

Perhaps it is not about emerging us in the same experience but offering a completely new one. It was already incredible to see the readaptation of major fashion players to the new reality during last year. Gucci’s creative team impressed fashionistas around the world with Gucci Fest, a fashion film festival at GucciFest.com where they released their summer collection.

Moschino’s magic puppet show brought spectators back to their childhood and Balenciaga took it to new heights with their video game “Afterworld: the Age of Tomorrow” to showcase their collection:

e-catwalks

Last year’s fashion weeks were almost a taster for what was to come. Fashion retailers around the world have showed us this year that this readaptation is possible in all aspects.

Here are my top reinvented digital catwalk picks from this year’s fashion weeks:

Copenhagen Fashion Week 

Recently, Copenhagen Fashion Week was presented as the fashion week at the forefront of sustainability, playing an important role in today’s ranking of fashion weeks driving positive change. The fashion week itself was impressive, it was all about digital interactions, optimistic designs and sustainability. But some designer brands stood out.

Ganni’s concert. A mix of music, colours and rhythm representing what Ganni is. Who said it would be possible to feel the vibe of the new collection through a music video?

Ganni’s concert, presented at Copenhagen FW21 fashion week

Likewise, Samsoe and Samsoe reminded us of the beautiful nature out there that we have been craving for so long in times of self-isolation through a documentary-like catwalk in the forest:

Schnayderman’s impressed us with a science fiction doc of teenagers in an otherworldly place:

London Fashion Week

Even though Copenhagen Fashion Week was impressive, London Fashion Week was what I was looking forward to because London is one of the leading fashion capitals of the world.

London Fashion Week had been preparing us since December for what was to come via their website with a digital diaries series featuring podcasts, playlists and digital showrooms. As well as a “live” button, a fashion week where you are just a click away from watching the most spectacular shows, talks and collection pieces. 

With the digital diaries, I have been able to immerse myself digitally in the studios of London’s top designers. I particularly enjoyed immersing myself in Raeburn’s studio in Hackney, being able to see the work in progress of one the leading sustainability brands of this fashion week transforming discarded textiles into ‘new’ clothing.  

With the set of playlists “What Does Fashion Sound Like” I have been transported through the rhythm of fashion to a nostalgic journey of trends, catwalks and fun.

So here are my top season picks of #LFW: 

Vivienne Westwood

This global designer brand keeps capturing my attention for their purpose beyond clothing production: raising awareness of environmental and human right issues. Their latest Autumn Winter collection has been released via fashion films published on Vivienne Westwoods’s Instagram with powerful evocative images contrasting soft colours, mysterious music and well-thought designs which have provoked in us followers, a romantic and sentimental feeling. Here are my top looks from the collection: 

See Also

Palmer Harding

Palmer Harding has raised the attention of many people with their collection “I love you”. Through their film, music, faces, looks and materials they evoke the feeling of falling in love in the viewer. The designer transports you through a journey of emotions, that begins with a sentiment of nervousness and ends up with a sense of excitement towards love.

Eirinn Hayhow

This emerging designer creating genderless fashion is definitely a favourite this season. Fascinated by mycology (the study of fungi) and influenced by the mycologist Paul Stamets, each garment of the collection has been inspired by a different mushroom. Every garment has been made from sustainable materials, hemp and pineapple leather among others. Breaking the boundaries between fashion and nature, this designer brings us to a whole new ecosystem through her experimental animation film.

Like the one mentioned above, many more designers have released incredible creations which you can delve into here

I must admit, the power of technology has made this fashion week accessible and possible in these difficult times. Fashionistas around the world have been watching from the front row the most wonderful collections. Fashion shows for which you do not need an invitation, but rather, internet connection. 

Catwalks have become hashtags, film festivals, videogames, puppet shows, music videos, documentaries, playlists and podcasts among others. Catwalks have even made us “fall in love”. I wonder, is this what the future of fashion will look like? Digital runways, I can’t wait for what is to come.

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