Can digital really replace the traditional fashion week?

Official design of the Milan Digital Fashion Week

On February 2020 with the initiative “China, we are with you”, CNMI enabled more than 25 million people to virtually attend the “Fall/Winter 2021 Milan Women’s Fashion Week” launching the first digital version of the popular fashion week. As a matter of fact, it was not a surprise the announcement of the “Spring/Summer 2021 men’s and women’s pre-collections” with the same digital concept.

“Our development of a Digital Fashion Week is a concrete response to the situation we are facing” commented Carlo Capasa, the president of CNMI. “Our objective is both to support the restart of the entire fashion industry and to reach out to the media, buyers and the entire fashion community with a huge array of content designed for all the players in the system. For us, in this initiative, it’s an important result to be bringing together for the first time also a section dedicated exclusively to supporting showrooms and buyers.”

Prada – The collection suggests the approach: different views, for a collection that proposes a myriad interpretations of the Prada man and woman.

At the moment, it’s not possible for the fashion week to exist as before thanks to social-distancing rules but, beyond that, what can we expect for post-pandemic future? What was really positive during the digital fashion week?

The virtual event took place between July 14th and 17th proposing a digital platform with photographic and video content, interviews and backstage of creative moments and alternative and unique viewpoints, organized on a calendar with timed slots for each brand. During the day there were also available a set of interesting webinars on themes, live streaming with fashion VIP and moments of pure entertainment and performances.
It’s obvious to say that the “virtual” fashion week make the event easily accessible from all over the world, most of the content available straight away online with an increase of engagement and quick response on sharing content. But still, the pain points are on the way: the platform, for example, was not accessible and usable considering all kind of disabilities and inclusion. And of course, the user experience online can not be compared to the real and magic one that is normally expected.

Changing room during a traditional Fashion Week

Several brands have announced the intention to leave behind the traditional fashion week and implement virtual and streaming presentations.

The concern is that an event born to share positivity in a particular moment will turn into a trend by changing the way in which the fashion is understood. As you can imagine this is a much bigger issue than just a temporary solution to lockdown restrictions. Fashion was already on the brink of monumental change and after this pandemic, several big brands (like Saint Laurent, Dior, Burberry and Gucci) have announced the possibility of more permanent intentions to leave behind the traditional seasonal calendar and implement the virtual side with streaming presentations only.

I personally can not imagine a world where the fashion week is only online. A world without the magic of travel, without waiting in the press room, or without any face to face interviews.

Let’s see …
And fingers crossed.

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