2020 is the year that brought us digital fashion week. So, what did digital fashion week bring us, the viewers? An invitation. That’s for one. At first, I wondered if digital fashion week would take away from the mystique of NYFW, LFW, PFW and MFW. While of course the proximity, busyness, and captivated audiences now remain only to be experienced in our own imaginations, the visions of the designers and creative directors only thrived. This year at the runway shows, we are all invited in for the first look, and have been given the ability to form our own opinions, select our favorite shows, and express notable highlights for the fashion world’s favorite time of year.
Some shows focused on commenting on our current global climates, somehow managing to leave the one that caused the need for digital shows out of their main focus. Just as fashion does, runway shows offered us their opinions on crises of different scales in the world in their own artistic and subtly curated ways.
Prada SS21 played up the fact that their show was digitally unveiled by keeping large, roving cameras visible throughout the show while having their models gaze directly through the camera into the audience, breaking the digital 4th wall. Usually, audiences can only catch a glimpse of a model’s profile as they walk past. This is a commentary on how much of our culture has become digital observation.
Nensi Dojaka SS21 explored “the reality of now,” as she put it, which highlighted the act of balancing delicacy and tension in her sexy and finely crafted designs. Dojaka’s collection unveiling displayed busy cityscapes and pasted cutout images of her models within these scenes to further exhibit her line’s flexibility. The cutouts stood at stretched angles and positions, showing off that fact that even when completely still, the collection takes control.
Susan Fang’s SS21 London Fashion Week collection took the viewer outdoors into nature through sight and sound with effects throughout the show, maybe as a parallel to where most of us have remained this summer in order to maintain safe leisure time, and for rejuvenating escapes from lockdown. I believe it’s safe to say we all find peace outdoors, especially recently, and this parallel only enhanced Fang’s line.
House of Sunny SS21 similarly dreamt up a tropical escape, with the looks being modelled in front of a turquoise beach tapestry in an homage to the the remote island vacations we crave and miss. Their brand shared the statement: “We thank the planet for the life it shares, its beauty and its endless design.”
Fashion week may not feel extremely exclusive this year. We are not getting street style candies, front row celebrity fashion, flashing lights, or crowded seats on either side of the stage, but maybe in digital fashion week, the door has opened to allow every interested viewer a peek at what once remained invitation-only. Fashion is still fashion, and the collections have been as noteworthy as ever, even if unveiled on near-silent stages. Perhaps now is the best time for everyone to be able to experience them.