It’s September, definitely not summer, but not yet autumn. We’re in a time of transition and not only in regards to the seasons. The world is desperate to move from Covid to post-Covid, but it can’t. And while children may be heading back to school, most adults aren’t returning to offices or to the shops. It feels like we’re all holding our breath, trying to get the measure of what the next phase of the world might be. Do we just say sod it and jump into a new future? Or do we try to scramble back to the past and cling to it hard?
This month we’re going to see that dilemma played out by the fashion industry as it transitions in a stop-start fashion, unsure whether to hold tight to the old structures or throw itself at something altogether new.
The “phygital fashion week” is the compromise – a blend of physical shows with digital ones. We’ve seen this proposal already, with varying degrees of success, during mens’ fashion week, couture and Copenhagen.
My problem with them so far is that I no longer know who these shows are aimed at or what they’re for. The multi-national owned mega-brands, like Louis Vuitton, which put on a menswear show in Tokyo this week, produce slick, expensive, theatrical shows for a small number of guests and live-stream it across the world. They aren’t for press or buyers, which is what the shows were once, but glamorous and creative marketing campaigns.
Those kind of extravaganzas are not an option for medium and smaller brands. And that’s fine, it forces creativity into other, newer areas. This fashion month will be an exercise in what works and doesn’t work.
So keep your eyes peeled – you may get a glimpse of the future.