Due to the global pandemic, fashion week across the world looked different this year, and designers had to get creative in ways viewers had never expected. Despite the lack of normalcy during fashion week from New York to Milan, the runways this year were nothing less than creative, innovative, and stunning. This poses a question for investigation: What does the future hold for runway shows and fashion weeks post-pandemic?
According to Harper’s Baazar, fashion shows becoming digitalized is not necessarily a negative thing. The article articulates how the industry needed an update anyway, and by going completely digital designers can overhaul their shows and redefine how they present their collections. Digitizing the runway shows opens up a new realm of possibilities for creativity and innovation to come together. Helsinki Fashion Week has been making daring choices since 2016 and has been a major trendsetter in terms of the digital movement. However, Helsinki fashion week has been taking digital even further and is even showing garments using 3D avatars. I am unsure how I feel about this completely digital runway, but I do appreciate the innovation in that sense. Although the digital avatar is an innovative idea, the industry may not be ready for this just yet. When watching a runway show, one must be able to see the way garments move and fit, which may be difficult to show on a 3D avatar. However, I think eventually the industry could get to this point but the lack of human connection seems cold and unrealistic. The beauty of watching a runway show is to see your favorite models strutting down the runway in a stunning piece, which can create an iconic moment in itself. In my opinion, I would like to see more digital shows in the future, I think that the accessibility and reach they have to a larger audience is invaluable to these designers, especially if they have been hit hard financially during this pandemic.
Helsinki Fashion Week defines their vision as a completely digital experience that will be “an open digital metaverse where all fashion, buying, showcasing, and networking are combined.” Their goal is to reshape the values of the fashion industry with a specific focus on sustainability. There will be 15 sustainable designers and 15 3D artists collaborating to create the visual presentation that is Helsinki Fashion Week. An aspect of this digital metaverse that I found particularly alluring was the 3D Store. In this ‘store’, consumers can do all of the following: “wear the clothes in cyberspace, pre-order the looks in real life, as well as claim digital assets on the blockchain, use them, trade them, and exchange them. We created the world’s first a holistic blockchain-based 3D store for the fashion industry for selling and showcasing digital items.” This certainly is daring, and the most out of the box I have ever seen. However, if it goes smoothly, this technology could change the industry as we know it forever. I am eager to see how the aspects of the 3D shop work out, and if consumers like it. As I mentioned before, human connection is essential in this line of work, and having an all-digital experience could backfire, especially due to the hunger for human interaction during the isolation periods of COVID-19.
So, what are your thoughts on bringing 3D avatars to the runway and having a completely digital experience? Yay or nay? Sound off in the comments below, would love to hear your thoughts. – Maddie