Culture

First row seats to London fashion week for everyone! – how the pandemic challenged brands to produce fashion shows

Photo: Luis Monteiro / Courtesy of Duro Olowu via Vogue.

By Julie Heinisch

September was one of the two fashion months of the year including fashion weeks all over the world, London being one of the most famous. But with the current situation brands and designers were faced with challenges on how to present their new collections in a covid safe way.

Most opted for a digital version where everyone had the opportunity to be front seat to the new 2021 collections, however some, like Victoria Beckham, chose to have a more intimidate way of presenting their new designs by only inviting editors to the showing.  Burberry, for example, had a fashion show almost resembling a performance with models walking through a forest with the brand streaming it live on Instagram, Twitch and their own website. Similarly, Erdem did an audience less fashion show in nature.

In a completely different way Gareth Pugh showed their 2021 collection as a visual concept album with 13 looks underlined by 13 different songs captured in 13 stills and 13 short films.

Gareth Pugh, SS20/21. Photo: Jon Emmony via Vogue.

Simone Rocha on the other hand opted for a socially distanced show where models stood metres apart in a gallery and people were temperature checked as you went in and had to sign a form. These conditions allowed an in-person fashion show to take place.

These were just a few examples of how brands responded to the pandemic we are currently still facing. Other brands chose to release either photos or short videos of models wearing the collection in a photoshoot setting.

These digital fashion shows provide every fashion fan with the chance to sit “front row” at their favourite designers’ collections which in normal situations would never be possible as only invited editors, journalists and celebrities get that opportunity. These pandemic-friendly ways of presenting new collections may stick around for fashion shows to come others might return to the traditional fashion shows with only chosen invitees seeing the new designs up close.

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