Virtual runway shows might lack the physical appeal of traditional fashion shows but have shown the potential to create profound digital impressions and drive traffic. The novel COVID-19 pandemic has pushed high-end labels to think outside the catwalk and come up with disruptive modes of showcasing collections as international travel restrictions, erratic logistics, and fear of contagion continue to prevail.
1. Gucci’s 12-Hour Livestream
Gucci exhibited its latest collection at Milan Fashion Week in a unique 12-hour livestream, mounting a new digital benchmark in the history of fashion runway shows. The exhaustive video not only flaunted the collection—titled ‘Epilogue’—but also showcased exclusive backstage footage and set design operations in a visual narrative format to create an engaging experience for global audiences across various digital platforms. The feature was aimed at creating a unique, transparent appeal with an inclusive touch by broadcasting the entire event live. The stream was high on graphics and videos and spotlighted an aspect of fashion not typically shown in conventional shows: raw, backstage excitement.
2. Prada’s Experiments With Video
Milan Fashion Week also witnessed Prada’s Digital fashion show, titled ‘Multiple Views SS21’—also referred to as ‘The Show That Never Happened’. Prada crafted a hybrid phygital (physical-digital) film format that displayed the collection through five video chapters by international artists. The audience viewed the collection via video from different vantage points, giving them a unique and detail-oriented experience.
Prada has never been shy about exploring digital technologies. The luxury label has toyed with platforms such as YouTube VR, VEER, Oculus, Youku, and Facebook. Prada’s experimental VR project aims at engaging the evolving digital audience and enabling them to take a deeper dive into the brand elements, events, and initiatives.
3. Fashion Week San Diego 2020: All Set for a Virtual Experience
FWSD 2020 is also gearing up for yet another virtual experience as it begins vending E-passes for the show, which takes place on October 17, 2020. The tickets are priced at $40 and can be purchased on FWSD’s website. The virtual access will cover runway footage of nine designer runway shows with exclusive behind-the-scenes shots and unique perspectives and angles that viewers otherwise wouldn’t get to experience in a conventional physical format.
Adopting AR/VR Tech
Brands that are investing in digital experiences by exploring unconventional platforms have received a warm welcome from audiences so far, especially tech-savvy consumers. Enticing Gen-Z customers with immersive experiences should be on every brand’s agenda as it’s this demographic that will decide the fate of fashion in the post-pandemic phase. Brand domains such as convenient procurement, digital escalations, and innovative tech can prove to be fruitful post-pandemic in terms of revenue recovery.
AR and VR tech in fashion are also gaining acceptance from Gen-Z customers who currently have more time on their hands due to the pandemic work-from-home situation. AR technology has proven to be a useful addition to fashion e-commerce as it gives a ‘close to real’ estimate of product fittings and color schemes. Increasing trial accuracy can help brands bring down online return rates and increase profitability. The average time to make a purchase decision can also be reduced by using streamlined AR experiences in e-stores.
Overall phygital tech in fashion e-commerce will be a game-changer as customer preferences and behavior evolve amidst the pandemic. Completely replacing traditional brick and mortar stores or creating start-to-finish virtual shopping solutionsseem to be possible ventures for brands who are willing to experiment.