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What the future of fashion catwalks mean for small brands

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

The layering foundation for today’s fashion week shows began in 1918 when Paris’s couture houses started holding their runways on fixed dates. As up today, fashion week has been a staple event for the industry, but since the 19th century, when Eleanor Lamber made history creating the event as we know today, the fashion week calendar and the way is held hasn’t changed much.

Not so long ago, it attracted thousands of people worldwide and significantly impacted the metropolis’ economies. A study by NYCEDC revealed that the New York Fashion Week generates close to 900 million us dollars each year. However, in a world where fast fashion built the expectation for always having something new to buy, and where everything is immediately visible on social media, shoppers have grown little appetite to wait months to purchase the pieces.

Today, with pandemic restrictions, the inevitable began to escalate, and the industry had to rethink the old ways. Several big labels opt for digital resources to showcase their collection, and many have already announced stepping away from the traditional fashion calendar - to pursue a plan with an up-to-date perspective.

These shifts opened up opportunities for small fashion brands that don’t have the budget to join fashion week. Digital experiences and many other ways of displaying the collection are becoming the best mix of reach and cost-effectiveness.

Choosing the virtual path

Virtual runways is now an alternative for the lockdown scenario, and it should grow into a long-term option for small brands. Since it’s accessible for everyone to watch, choosing the virtual path can bring a sense of human connection - something consumers will likely want to see more from the fashion industry post-lockdown. Embracing this idea is not only an economical alternative but can also help your brand genuinely comprehend their community and connect on a deeper level with consumers.

Going 3-D

3-D fashion shows can be an opportunity to display the collection with a sustainable and cost-effective approach. Digitalize versions may seem challenging to design, but they will allow brands to work based on demand in the long run. For fashion brands, especially small ones, predicting the customers’ orders before sending them to production is crucial to avoid deadstock.

Boosting offline engagement

Opting for offline engagement can enhance even more the taste of human connection. Embracing an offline approach to replace the traditional runway show will make the collection more tangible and improve consumers’ desire to buy. The portable format shouldn’t be a printed lookbook, but rather an original idea that takes the whole experience of a runway show into account. For example, Loewe presented the S/S 21 men’s runway show in a box sent to buyers, big customers, and the press, containing several essential elements from the collection. Even the soundtrack came about: it was sent in a manual record.


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