Virtual Meets Reality: The Future Of Fashion Shows Due to the ongoing pandemic crisis, are virtual or digital fashion shows the future of fashion weeks? Let's see what designers have to say.

By Puneet Kapani

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With London Fashion Week (LFW) going digital, the fashion fraternity in India is contemplating embracing augmented reality to reach out to the consumer in the post-Covid-19 world. However, the technology which exists hasn't been used to the highest level with maybe one or two exceptions. Live experiential shows radiating a touch and feel vibe need a lot of investment. If it's not fully experiential then it defeats the very purpose of digital medium.

In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, several fashion weeks across the globe including the ones in India have come to a halt. But as they say the show must go on, will technology takeover and change the way we have been consuming fashion? As the digital industry revolutionises continuously, can the crisis perhaps kick-start a new movement of virtual fashion shows?

Like the London Fashion Week, the Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) also ushers in a new era of fashion showcases with its digital-first and season fluid edition. Launching the first-ever interactive fashion destination in India, Lakmé Fashion Week is set to bring the Indian fashion world to the doorsteps of the global fashion industry. Open to one and all, the virtual event will be live from 21st – 25th October 2020 on a high-tech virtual platform specially created for the event.

"Whilst the ease at which you can watch your favourite designers unveil their latest collection sitting in the comfort of your home is amazing, nothing can replace the feeling of taking part in or watching a live show. Digital shows have come into existence out of necessity rather than want and when given a choice, most would want to witness a collection live rather than on a screen," says Mumbai-based Designer Saaksha Bhat of Saaksha & Kinni. They are also participating in Lakme Fashion Week 2020. This season too, the platform will showcase innovations as it embarks on a digital journey with several new, disruptive formats of showcases using advanced technology.

As a response towards the current pandemic situation, the focus of the renewed Lakmé Fashion Week will be to support the designers and artisans through a Virtual Showroom, sustainability at the forefront, connecting buyers and consumers to the beauty and fashion industry and thereby towards demand generation for the growth of the industry.

While going completely digital has been the hot topic of discussion for many years in India, the truth is that anything related to the online business involves a great deal of research and investment. There's much more to digital than merely creating a brand website. Digital requires huge spending otherwise one gets lost in the web world.

Some Indian fashion designers collectively believe that the new approach of online shows will immensely contribute in lowering the carbon footprint. Delhi-based designer label, Shyamal & Bhumika, who unveiled their Summer Festive 20 collection on Instagram recently, thinks that social media is the best medium to showcase.

The Mumbai-based fashion designer, Anavila Misra thinks, "The reality of our times is that the virtual and the real worlds are coming together much faster than ever before, while on one end we may want to get back to tactile, real, physical experiences in fashion and then there is the other end that is staring at us, a new normal which if we don't respond to fast enough has the potential to make us redundant. So, as I look forward I think the current scenario presents an opportunity for the tech & fashion space to come together in a never seen before format which from just being fashion shows on the digital platform will very soon move to virtual reality and as the consumer tech space in VR gets more and more commercially viable, we all would be able to enjoy an interactive fashion experience from our living rooms, our offices, from anywhere we feel like."

We say that the future is bright for tech and fashion to collide and create a new design of fashion interface not just limited to fashion shows.

Puneet Kapani

Former Features Editor

Puneet Kapani, former features editor for Entrepreneur India, is self-driven and passionate about happenings and nuances of the world. She writes on lifestyle, gadgets, beauty, wellness, entertainment and technology updates around the globe. She has previously worked with L’Officiel India magazine, FHM Magazine and Times Internet. 

Catch a glimpse of her work at @PuneetKapani on LinkedIn and @puneetkapani on Instagram.

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