How Was It For You? Digital London Fashion Week Makes Its Debut
During what would have traditionally been London Fashion Week Men’s the British Fashion Council (BFC) scheduled its very first all Digital London Fashion Week from the 12th – 14th June 2020.
Billed as all-inclusive and genderless the 3-day event accessible via the LondonFashionWeek website included live interviews, playlists, mini films, Zoom calls and digital galleries.
Adapting to the demands of lockdown and social distancing the BFC revealed that their first Digital London Fashion Week was a success receiving 145,000 page views between Friday 12th and Monday 15th June and gaining over 50,000 unique visitors over the weekend.
Designers such as Daniel W Fletcher presented a sustainable 12 look collection created from fabrics he already had in his studio. The result was a see-now, buy-now collection with 10% of all the proceeds being donated to charities supporting communities suffering as a result of Covid-19 and organisations fighting for racial equality.
So what about the buzz of the show, hair and make-up, models, frantic backstage preparations, checking out the FROW and who is wearing what before a melee of street style snappers outside? Well, of course there was none of that, and there was no way that a digital event could emulate it. The experience was very different, and while ‘fashion’ was the common thread Digital Fashion Week encapsulated the designer’s stories, their thoughts, their beliefs, while the clothes almost seemed secondary.
It provided the chance to get to know the designer on a more personal level, whether it be through a Q&A session or a playlist choice. Hussein Chalayan discussed how lockdown has affected him both personally and professionally and how it has really made him stop and question how he works and operates his business in the future. He talked about the pace of fashion being “too fast, it’s disgusting,” and how it zaps creativity and has a detrimental impact on the climate to constantly churn out collections.
The event also gave the opportunity for up and coming names to shine and included a ‘Class of 2020’ section showcasing the inspiration behind the work of this year’s BA and MA fashion design graduates. As for trends forget colour palettes and themes – causes seemed to be the biggest trend, from raising money for UK Black Pride to equality and sustainability.
So who logged on? The data revealed that the biggest audience was based in the UK, followed by Japan and the U.S. And did it work? Well, yes and no, Digital London Fashion Week was indeed inclusive to anyone in the world and featured some insightful interviews and films however, the main point of Fashion Week is to connect with buyers and gain sales, and here is where it becomes questionable. Granted this was difficult with production and studios in a state of lockdown. The BFC did well to adapt at this very challenging time. So what next for London Fashion Week? No one is entirely certain – but one thing for sure the event is evolving.