The trend of digital fashion shows and what it holds for the future

New Delhi: Even though major fashion events like the New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week went online and were held in digital format, only time can tell if this is going to be the future of the industry.

Lakme fashion week
The biggest advantage of digital fashion show is that everyone has an opportunity to see the event live. Image courtesy: IANS

Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) which started over two decades ago in India, was also held in an online version for the very first time. But deviating from the tried and tested and adapting to a 'new normal' comes with its own share of challenges. IANSlife spoke to Jaspreet Chandok, Head - Lifestyle Businesses, IMG Reliance that organises the bi-annual event.

Excerpts from the interview:

What is the major difference in organising a digital fashion show to that of a real time physical show?

We have made significant investments in two areas - one in the creation of digital architecture which will form the backbone of the platform, and the other in enhancing our content with various vantage points and CG environments.

The first part is an investment for the future as the platform and virtual showroom will become part of the core of the event going forward even when we return to a physical event. The second part showcases to the industry what technology can actually do. We have worked with the same team that we usually have for LFW and employed experts and agencies to build the architecture. The format has provided the team the opportunity to expand their skillsets.

While the whole interface will reside within a 3D environment, some key innovations are:

Consumers will have the opportunity to buy directly off the Runway as they view videos on the platform.

Viewers can choose different camera angles to view the show providing a more exclusive experience.

The Virtual Showroom will provide an end to end solution for buyers and designers to connect and aid B2B business.

What are the pros and cons of holding digital shows?

With Lakme Fashion Week moving to a digital format, the biggest pro is that now everyone has an opportunity to see the reveal live as it happens, earlier it was only a few who had early access. The platform itself is now much more inclusive and social media distribution coupled with LFW being the first fashion week to ever stream on an OTT platform makes the content available to a much larger audience, not only in India but world over. There are shoppable shows, where viewers will be able to put designs directly from the virtual runway into an online shopping cart.

Additionally, there are many innovations that not only will help the audience be engaged but make designers/collections more accessible for them. We have ensured that the steps we have taken are in line with our goal of making fashion week future ready, our innovations will seamlessly integrate with the physical event when it returns. We have always seen Lakme Fashion Week as a phygital platform and hence have been better placed to navigate this journey than traditional fashion weeks globally.

Is this going to be the future?

While only time will tell if this is going to be the future, we began our journey towards being a digital platform a few years ago, thus some of the actions were already in place when the pandemic hit. We were the first ever fashion week in the world to livestream on OTT networks and also pioneered innovations in social media actions and virtual reality. A key decision of investments this season were on actions that are less reactionary and more strategic.

Hence the creation of the Hub, Virtual Showroom, Vantage point views & See Now Buy Now will also expand themselves and become key actions in the years to come. Even when we return to a physical event, all these elements become companion actions adding to the overall product offering to consumers. We see this season as a pilot, and we are happy to get feedback from all stakeholders and continue the development of all these digital initiatives.

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