On 24th May, Hanifa set a possible precedent on the future of the runway show. Using 3D configurations against a black backdrop, products could be seen on essentially ‘invisible’ models in a virtual livestreamed show taking place after the cancellation of this season’s New York Fashion Week. Passing all social distancing expectations, it would be difficult to argue that digital displays such as these are nothing short of a magnificent spectacle – creating an image that will stay with you. But how does this translated to buying from such a collection, and can it ever be completely trusted?
Around the summer of 2019 there was a surge of reports surrounding the ability for consumers to buy their clothes digitally, having the potential to solve the world’s eco-problems and glossing over the negative effects of manufacturing. The idea itself could first be seen in 2016, with brands using fashion avatars trying to tap into a side-lined market that was now viewed as lucrative. In terms of creation and design – the possibilities are truly endless. What brands can offer to their potential consumers can be made to suit any modification and can be viewed by many beyond the usual show attendees, extending reach and profitability. There is certain commercial potential established, particularly now due to the predictions of retail footfall decreasing by millions with consumer behaviour itself rapidly changing. But can this be a solution that we can look to as a long-term one?
The simple prediction would be… probably not. Despite our continued tech advancements within industry and our current need to adapt to an online lifestyle, both brands and consumers alike still want to see what they are getting properly. There is a great need to touch fabrics and see a physical garment as it is, which is one of the reasons trade shows still have their foot in the creative door as they continue to run into problem after problem. This trickles down into consumer perspectives, as stores that are able to begin the re-opening phase have hit an immediate problem with being unable to supply the demand for fitting rooms – the inability to try a product for themselves possibly leading to a lack of sales. One issue digitally buying could fully address is that of size, with altercations easily being made to accommodate sizes not usually given the runway spotlight. Despite the fact the majority of us are still firmly tied to virtual means, going forward the strongest form of attack is likely to still remain the partnership between the digital and physical, and how they can seamlessly blend together to create a successful buying – and selling – experience.
Photo source: http://hanifaofficial.ctcin.bio/