It feels like an age has passed since we attended our last real-life fashion show, and even if we weren't there in person, there is a certain excitement that we experienced during the beginning of the season in anticipation of the shows that shape the commentary of the industry for the year ahead. This year looks different, and to kick off New York Fashion Week's 2021 season, they have released their schedule for what will be a digital event.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen multiple fashion houses launch digital platforms for their men's week shows to live, and just this month we saw Copenhagen lead the charge with the first major fashion week to host physical shows and events since we were all told to stay inside for the foreseeable future. Seeing street style images emerge from the week that was brought on feelings of both nostalgia and jealousy for the assumed freedom attendees had been bestowed with. Which was, as always, was worsened when viewing imagery of beautiful, smiling danish girls biking to shows in summer dresses from a cold Sydney apartment. Oh to take part in such normalcy and carefree behaviour!
Unfortunately for the US (albeit thankfully from a safety perspective), the CFDA is taking no risks in anticipation of NYFW this September, and has announced that they will be housing many shows digitally via a new program, RUNWAY360. According to the CFDA, RUNWAY360 functions as "a unique and innovative digital platform developed to support American designers by bringing together every aspect of a collection launch in a one-stop-shop environment."
As we touched on earlier this week, fashion's integration of VR to assist showings and sales appears to be a new way forward in the age of COVID-19.
"Designers will be able to present their collections, providing each participating brand with a modular, customisable page for their storytelling and digital activations. The portal will support AR/VR, 360-degree capabilities, live video streams, e-commerce extensions, consumer shopping features, and social media integrations," the CFDA says in a statement.
“The CFDA is proud to launch RUNWAY360 and champion the talent of our members and our industry. RUNWAY 360 is more than a response to social distancing and restricted travel. The digital platform will help designers faced with short term needs caused by COVID-19 and support future market weeks including live fashion shows.” Explains Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the CFDA.
The launch will coincide with September NYFW's dates, which this year will only run for three days between Monday 14 to Wednesday 16. The show schedule can be viewed here.
So far, the schedule includes large house names such as Tom Ford, Marchesa, Eckhaus Latta and Carolina Herrera amongst up and comers like Colina Strada, Sandy Liang, Chromat and Bevza. It is unclear why some familiar names have opted out this year (we will be especially pining for The Row and Khaite). But, due to the pandemics side effects to the fashion industry, namely the slowing of production limiting ability to create entire collections, this could both make it impossible to partake or shed light on the changes that could be made to creating seasonal collections and keeping up with demand as a whole. For others, perhaps they are planning individual ways of showing.
Image via: @Gabrielahearst