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Navigating and Transforming the Future of Fashion Weeks

Julie Tsai

The future of fashion week has been an increasingly hot topic in recent years. With fashion on the verge of a monumental transformation, accelerated by the recent pandemic, global fashion weeks and designers were forced to reimagine and rethink how their shows can amplify their collections in this new climate, without losing the value and experience that physical shows are known for.

With fashion week staples such as Gucci reducing their shows from five to two season-less shows a year; and Parisian fashion house, Saint Laurent, skipping Paris Fashion Week altogether and creating their own calendar – brands are recognizing the important cultural shifts towards sustainability and the emphasis on mental well-being. 

The impact of the pandemic has showcased that business is far from usual for the fashion industry and as we near the end of 2020, brands need to consider long-term transformations beyond a world of COVID-19 in order to stay relevant, build a sustainable supply chain, all while injecting creativity and amplifying the brand’s core values and messaging, whether brands choose to host physical, digital, or phygital experiences.  

We briefly spoke to Jessica Michault, Executive Editor of ODDA Magazine, on how the fashion editorial industry has been impacted and what advice she has for brands not hosting physical experiences.

From an editorial perspective, what do you think brands need to do in order to stay relevant when not hosting physical fashion week? 

They need to leverage their fans and influencer friends to get the word out about the date and time of any digital show they are putting on to create a ripple effect of digital and social media awareness about the event. I also think it is vital that a brand supply an editor with all the assets they would need, from photos of the different looks and a link to download the digital show or presentation to an interview with the designer about the collection and a press release of the collection, so that editors can create their own coverage of the event which will, in turn, give the brand, even more, reach and visibility. 

How has the fashion editorial industry changed as a result of Covid? 

It has turned the industry on its head. It made all of us think about new ways to engage from a distance with our readers. Everything has at once become much more personal, with people connective via Instagram Lives, or group Zoom calls… and yet more isolated as well. In terms of the shows themselves, it is incredibly hard to judge a collection without seeing it IRL. And those brands that do actual shows, in front of audiences, seem to somehow…even for those watching them online…to generate more of a sense of community and connection. What can I say? These are strange times we are living in.

fashion week future

A Critical Discussion with Global Fashion Institutions on the Future of Fashion Week

Through the joint reset manifesto of the British Fashion Council and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the industry gained a glimpse into how the two major fashion institutions view the future of future week and how they are united in driving systemic change within the fashion industry.

In an interview with WWD, CEO of CFDA, Steven Kolb, believes that the future of NYFW will be a hybrid of live and digital events. “I think digital will always be parallel to anything live. The benefits of digital are travel. The travel budget impacted is quite large. If you look at the ability to reach a global audience on an iPhone, or laptop or desktop, that’s a great win,” he said.

Similarly, Executive President of the Fédération de la Haute couture et de la Mode, Pascal Morand, states, “While the physical experience will remain major for the industry, the real success will be in the way brands merge the two to create powerful and shareable moments, both online and offline.”

To truly understand what global fashion weeks’ futures look like and how global fashion institutions such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), British Fashion Council (BFC), Fédération de la Haute couture et de la Mode (FHCM), and Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI) are planning to support designers in navigating fashion week’s future, we will be discussing the topic of “Transforming the Future of Fashion Weeks” with their CEOs and Presidents during Launchmetrics’ Performance 2020 summit. Sign up for free and reserve your spot today! 

Julie TsaiMarketing Manager, US

Based in NY, Julie received her Masters in Fashion Marketing from LIM. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she enjoys snowboarding and exploring the outdoors. Apart from her interests in fashion and tech, she is an advocate for animal welfare and girls' education.

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