Creativity in crisis: Is your mobile screen the new ramp in a COVID-19-hit world?
Crisis always brings opportunities to think out-of-the-box and invent novel solutions. The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired the fashion world to come up with creative ideas despite all constrains. Almost 40 years since the inception of London Fashion Week, the British Fashion Council has announced that on Friday, 12th June, LFW will relaunch as a digital only platform. They wrote on Instagram, “Open to all and merging womenswear and menswear in light of the current environment, for designers to tell their stories through collections, creative collaborations, podcasts and videos. Londonfashionweek.co.uk will be accessible to all audiences, embracing the cultural commentary, creativity and humorous spirit for which British Fashion and London are known.”
Recently all fashion weeks and events were put on a halt and the fashion calendar was thrown into disarray due to the pandemic. The Met Gala, Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and every other major fashion spectacle either stood cancelled or postponed. However, in April, Shanghai held a digital fashion week and so did Russia, while Tokyo had already livestreamed its fashion week shows in March, calling off the physical show due to the COVID-19 scare.
Closer home, Lotus Makeup India Fashion Week slated to be held in March was also postponed due the corona scare in the capital. Would a virtual show be something the Indian fashion industry will also consider? “We don’t want to be insensitive at times like this, though this is something we have been discussing over with the FDCI team and board members. Digital is the future but it takes some amount of expertise on having an online fashion week. Designers can do it from the comfort of their homes but they might not have the clothes with them right now due to the lockdown. However, if the situation continues, we will be coming up with innovative ways to display fashion which we are working on,” says Sunil Sethi, chairman, Fashion Design Council of India.
Designers also believe that a digital fashion week will help reduce the carbon footprint. “The fashion weeks in India are for a small segment of the population. However, when people travel via flights and come from different cities, traffic is caused, so going digital might reduce the carbon footprint,” says designer David Abraham.
But the question is, will a digital show work? What can a viewer expect from it? Designer Rahul Mishra says that fashion weeks are not just for trade but also to display a fantasy world which might be limiting online. But he is up for exploring creativity through the digital medium. “With fashion shows, you also create a fantasy world. When you present a show, you want people to experience your creativity, your vision and your mood board. Going digital, we will have to see how to experiment more and find new ways to present our ideas,” he says.
Designer Amit Aggarwal feels there won’t be a drastic change after a virtual show. “Social media and technology has been an upward trend and adds a lot of accessibility to a product. Digital fashion week could be a great idea but the kind of content that goes is extremely important. There has to be a higher level of ownership. There is gravitas and stamina in going for a virtual show. A lot of buying usually happens virtually so there won’t be drastic difference. However, at this juncture, it will help in conserving energy and also increase the importance of a show which we have lost in time due to multiplicity of shows,” adds Aggarwal.