Opinion: Digital Fashion Shows in a Pandemic (Y) or (N)

Jul 31, 2020 | style/mode

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The verdict is in: digital fashion shows are a flop, at least on social media. Of more than a dozen major #luxury brands that released content tied to men’s fashion week in Milan and Paris, or to their resort collections, none came close to making the same splash on Instagram as the corresponding shows did last year, according to tracking firm Tribe Dynamics. On average, digital shows, videos and presentations generated less than one-third as much online engagement. Few expected the industry to immediately hit on the right formula for online shows, a marketing experiment forced on the industry when the pandemic put an end to public gatherings. Whether a brand opted for an adapted-for-digital runway format, a collection film, or some other unconventional format, the online engagement was relatively muted compared to the same period the year prior. The lacklustre response is likely to strengthen the push to resume live shows before an audience in September and beyond. It also raises questions about the purpose of these shows. ⁠ ⁠ It seems that brands wrestled with whether to create digital presentations that catered to the industry — namely press and buyers who might want an up-close, detailed look at a collection that they might get on a re-see appointment — or those that catered to consumers and prioritised going viral online. In both cases, online #fashion obsessives failed to drive engagement higher, whether due to the lack of industry-wide cohesion, fewer #influencer partnerships, or relatively diminished interest in something like fashion amid a global pandemic and recession. Casting Director James Scully believes the majority of the #digital shows failed to innovate despite the #creative and logistical constraints. “We cannot go back to the business as it existed before including fashion shows, because they were already bloated and boring,” he said. “People trying to go back to that feels tone-deaf and not modern, and what impressed me the most were the people that actually took the time during [Covid-19] to sit and think about where we are now, what we can do.” [Link in bio]

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