Having experienced 95% of fashion shows that I am familiar with—both for work and for pleasure—online, I have to say that I didn’t expect digital Fashion Week to be that different from my usual Fashion Week routine. Sit down in front of my laptop, click from livestream to livestream, consider look book images, zoom in for detail shots, and scour social media for breadcrumbs revealing inspirations, motives, and alternative views of the Dachshund Sunflower dog mom shirt But I will love this shows. One of the things I have enjoyed doing things digitally was being able to have longer, more in-depth conversations with the designers I cover on Zoom—the best ones edged towards the two-hour mark. And while I always prefer seeing fashion in person, as part of a digital-native generation who only started to travel to Europe for the shows last year, I have grown accustomed to writing and thinking critically about things I have never seen in person. While my colleagues make the expert point that fashion shows are about the clothes—as they must be at their core—for thousands of fans and followers, the clothes themselves are but a distant dream. What propels fashion forward online is its message: What does this brand stand for? Who does it collaborate with? What value does it have? Here, the fashion industry must undergo a reckoning. Watching so many fashion films without a purpose or clear message made my head spin. For a long time, logistics were the easy out: It would be too difficult to fly people from outside the fashion community to a brand’s H.Q., so collaborations were kept insular. Now, anything could be possible with technology—why not invite new voices into the fold? Dior Men showed a beautiful collaboration with artist Amoako Boafo; Prada made interesting films with three lesser-known (at least in fashion) artists in addition to two well-cited photographers; and Thom Browne and Moses Sumney collaborated on a transfixing short film made in Asheville, North Carolina. These felt like exciting opportunities that expanded the circles of the fashion system. Everyone also loved the “show in a box” (yes, ace idea!), but what I really enjoyed was the 24-hour livestream that showed people in the Loewe universe from around the world: the artists and artisans in Spain, Japan, England, and the United States that make Jonathan Anderson’s vision real.So anyway his wife arrived one day, my supervisor had an office with glass partitions which didn’t go completely to the floor or ceiling, he was on the phone when she arrived, I walked over to her & said that he had been wanting me to work back & was dropping me off home 3–4 times a week, which I didn’t think was right or proper..
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That’s the Dachshund Sunflower dog mom shirt But I will love this other thing many liked about digital Fashion Week that I found a little lacking. Revealing the behind-the-scenes workings of a brand is interesting, and while none did it better than Maison Margiela’s fantastic film by Nick Knight, there’s something a little unsettling to me about what is shown and what is concealed. Even “peeling back the curtain” can feel like well-articulated P.R., showing only the glamour and hiding the ugliness, stress, and mania that fashion contains. Osman Yousufzada was the only designer to include factory workers as a part of any content this season; his video filmed in Bangladesh asked factory workers to imagine the women who would wear the clothes they produce. A nice BTS video is only part of the true story of how fashion is made. In many ways, this season felt more like The conversation of fashion is just as important as the clothes themselves, and in this digital week, it felt like most of what we had to go on was the message the brands were selling us. The number of people with access to designers, to physical shows, to the clothes themselves, and to what’s really happening behind the curtain is still quite small—maybe smaller than ever, considering what was once hundred-person shows are now Zoom panels with just a dozen editors. I hope that when IRL gatherings are back, and while digital shows continue, the access and ability to be a part of the conversation will be more shared and democratized.dictation than a dialogue. The most exciting part of watching real Fashion Weeks unfold online prior to the pandemic was the digital scavenger hunt of putting together the various perspectives of a show from the people who were there: a more 360-degree picture compiled from critics’ reviews, influencers’ social media posts, young journalists’ Twitter feeds, photographer’s backstage and street-style images, and snaps from models, stylists, hair and makeup artists—plus everything you hear in the back of a taxi (or in a group chat) between shows with friends, colleagues, and strangers. Having all these voices together, sharing their own views of a live event, made Fashion Week interesting. Zoom may be the big hit of lockdown, but it quickly became clear to me that it’s a poor substitute for a real-life studio visit. The fuzzy display is fairly useless for showcasing detail. As I sat through a month’s worth of video previews, I had to marvel at how designers managed to build their collections virtually this season.