How the fashion industry reinvented itself for the pandemic era

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How the fashion industry reinvented itself for the pandemic era

The world of fashion has always been known for its ability to surprise and innovate. Reinvention and creativity are, after all, core to the industry. It feels very “on brand,” then, that a number of the biggest fashion houses would see the pandemic not as a challenge but as a chance to rethink the establishment.

From virtual catwalks to immersive video campaigns, here’s a review of how the fashion industry handled a year like no other.

In 2020, fashion shows went digital

With social distancing measures in situ throughout most of 2020, fashion houses had to travel digital to showcase their creativity.

Balmain, for example, knew that the majority of the large names within the industry wouldn’t be ready to attend Paris Fashion Week in September. So instead, the team invited celebrities like Anna Wintour, Jennifer Lopez, and Cara Delevingne to videoconference into a virtual front row.

Louis Vuitton closed out Paris Fashion Week at La Samaritaine, an old emporium that the brand has been renovating since 2005. While the in-person experience was a more intimate affair than most years, the team used 3D cameras and green screens to make an immersive show that allowed people to tune from home — an approach Nicolas Ghesquière, the fashion house’s creative director, described as “phygital,” the merging of physical and digital spaces.

Across the Channel, London Fashion Week was the primary to require place entirely online. Sixty-eight brands launched their latest collections on YouTube, many of them live or using Premieres, a feature that permits viewers to observe a replacement video alongside the creator, as if at a movie or television program premiere. Many brands also took the chance to spotlight issues far beyond fashion. Halpern, for example, paid tribute to front-line workers, while Bethany Williams replaced the normal catwalk show with a YouTube video showcasing the work she does with homeless moms and their children.

In Milan, 33 brands unrolled their new collections on YouTube. The much-anticipated collaboration between Miuccia Prada and Raf Simmons began with a joint interview about their creative process, which web viewers followed with great interest. Versace used features on the YouTube Community tab to share stories about its ocean-themed travel project, Versacepolis. And Jeremy Scott, creative director of Moschino, collaborated with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, a visible effects company, to create a dollhouse-inspired runway, and replaced human models with life-size marionettes.

Across the Channel, London Fashion Week was the primary to require place entirely online. Sixty-eight brands launched their latest collections on YouTube, many of them live or using Premieres, a feature that permits viewers to observe a replacement video alongside the creator, as if at a movie or television program premiere. Many brands also took the chance to spotlight issues far beyond fashion. Halpern, for example, paid tribute to front-line workers, while Bethany Williams replaced the normal catwalk show with a YouTube video showcasing the work she does with homeless moms and their children.

In Milan, 33 brands unrolled their new collections on YouTube. The much-anticipated collaboration between Miuccia Prada and Raf Simmons began with a joint interview about their creative process, which web viewers followed with great interest. Versace used features on the YouTube Community tab to share stories about its ocean-themed travel project, Versacepolis. And Jeremy Scott, creative director of Moschino, collaborated with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, a visible effects company, to create a dollhouse-inspired runway, and replaced human models with life-size marionettes.

Fashion on YouTube

Though 2020 was a digital turning point for the style industry, it already had a robust online presence before the pandemic. Between 2016 and 2019, the amount of YouTube channels dedicated to fashion increased by 400%.

Traditionally, these channels belong to YouTube creators who share their love of fashion on the platform. But recently, top models like Ashley Graham, Lily Aldridge, Karlie Kloss, and Naomi Campbell are using YouTube to offer viewers a behind-the-scenes check out the fashion world.

Fashion brands also are beginning to have a much bigger presence on the platform, creating original content and collaborating with creators. Emma Chamberlain, a fashion influencer with almost 10 million YouTube subscribers, partnered with Louis Vuitton to make a humor-filled video about Fashion Week, which she tuned into virtually.

Brands and publishers also can be found on the YouTube Fashion and Beauty vertical. Across the varied fashion weeks in 2020, 205 shows were broadcast there, racking up 100 million cumulative views, and 108 new partners joined, a 900% increase since the vertical was created in 2018.2 During men’s fashion week in July, 93 brands presented their collections on YouTube; 58 of these brands appeared on the platform for the primary time.

YouTube Fashion and Beauty vertical homepage
YouTube Fashion and Beauty vertical homepage

Beyond the fashion show: Saint Laurent’s immersive experience

For the launch of its spring-summer 2021 men’s collection, Saint Laurent, under the direction of Anthony Vaccarello, reinvented the old runway format. To do so, the team shot a six-minute, highly choreographed film featuring its models on the rooftops of Paris, New York, and Beijing. The short film, which combined both physical and digital elements, concluded with models walking down a pyrotechnic runway against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower .

In addition to the longer film, they created an immersive video that combined augmented reality and 3D imaging to offer viewers breathtaking shots of the Paris .

On YouTube, viewers were first teased with a six-second version of the video. Later, they were served up the complete six-minute film in TrueView format. Finally, they were shown the 3D immersive video. By using custom audiences, the team was ready to engage fashion week fans and generate 19.4 million views across all the videos.

In a complex year for companies, digital became a way of bringing creativity to life. Whereas, within the past, fashion brands could wow audiences at in-person shows, social distancing and stay-at-home orders mean they’ve had to return up with new, more surprising and dreamlike ways of reaching potential customers.

It is difficult to mention what future fashion weeks will appear as if once the pandemic is over, but it’s likely that this move toward digital will have a robust influence within the future.

Information Source: Google

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