The Case For A Virtual New York Fashion Week

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Fashion Week, generally speaking, is reserved for editors, stylists, and fashion elites who are invited by designers to attend their shows. Over the past few years, with the rise of the fashion blogger, the general public has had more of a peek behind the seams of Fashion Week through their favorite blogger's Instagram posts and digital content. However 2020, as with nearly every other aspect of life, has completely changed the New York Fashion Week experience.

Due to the pandemic, the organizers of New York Fashion Week swapped large gatherings under tents for virtual shows and presentations available all by simply signing up and logging in. This exclusive access to Fashion Week has never been granted to the general audience like this before. The couch is the new front row.

Perhaps this season has been a little underwhelming for Fashion Week veterans. No Fashion Week excitement permeating the New York City air. No mingling with industry colleagues. No after-party or after-party cocktails. Yes, we miss that too, but fashion is changing, honey! Accessibility is the name of the game. Brands are learning how to step up their digital game to better connect directly with their consumer. A digital Fashion Week is part of that storytelling.

This season, designers got creative with their digital presentations. Jason Wu created a beach oasis on the rooftop of Spring Studios and many designers like Badgley Mischka and Tadashi gave us beautifully produced moving lookbooks. Brands like Chromat used their presentations to not only showcase their collections but shine lights and bring greater awareness to social issues that are important to them.

With a virtual New York Fashion Week, we saw the launch of the very important educational programming. Conversations about evolving beauty standards, mentoring the next generation of creatives, staying creative during isolation, and more were streamed for all to see.

Harlem's Fashion Row also produced its 13th Annual Fashion Show + Style Awards digitally this year. From an Editor's perspective, one of the biggest challenges to Fashion Week is being able to take in all the events. The virtual nature of this week allowed us to consume it all with just a click here and a click there.

Will this be the way of the future? The verdict is still out on that one. Who knows what kind of change is ahead. We applaud the flexibility and accessibility of this season's shows. As the industry continues to adapt and push forward, we hope that a vigorous virtual program will be woven into the fabric of Fashion Week's to come.