Normally the peak summer months are the time for rest for most of the fashion world, both internationally and at home. Come September, fashion weeks, around the globe, start to kick off one after the other. But since the announcement by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), on Sunday evening, for the ‘first-ever digital fashion week of India’, the Indian fashion fraternity has been jolted out of its summer siesta.
The social media pages of the fashion non-profit body announced that the first-ever fashion week in a digital format is very much in the works. “This is the need of the hour in the current COVID times that we are living in. Either we can keep waiting for things to hopefully go back to normal, or we can adapt and reconcile with the new normal,” shares Sunil Sethi, President FDCI. The last edition of the Lotus Make-Up India Fashion Week, (LMIFW) was scheduled to take place in mid-March but had to be cancelled indefinitely given the COVID pandemic.
A digital fashion week could well be a way out for the fashion world which currently is going through a severe slump. The logistics and other details for the digital fashion week are still in the works, reveals Sethi. “We are looking for a couture format for Digital Week. We anyway had the India Couture Week in the last week of July, or the first week of August, we are trying to keep with that calendar. But we will of course configure and rework with what the mood of the country is,” adds Sethi. Big couture names are slated to be part of the lineup, and new formats are also expected to be in play. “We can expect masterclasses from a designer on how to drape, style, or wear a creation.” There are also talks to create a digital designer stockroom and have more such digital engagements with designers and weavers in the time to come.
FDCI is not the only fashion body that is trying to make their way in the new world order. Alessandro Michele, the head of Gucci, announced the departure of the Italian luxury fashion house from the rigmarole of fashion seasons. “I will abandon the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows to regain a new cadence, closer to my expressive call. We will meet just twice a year.” wrote Michele on Gucci’s Instagram page. The forthcoming edition of the Men’s Milan Fashion Week will be held in a never before seen video format, with photos and videos put together in a calendar format. The Paris Fashion Week, which will take place from July onwards, too will be held in a video avatar.
A digital fashion week is an unprecedented move for the fashion fraternity and it might just change the way fashion is created, consumed and viewed in India. “I am a very old-school person, with a very ‘hand-on-ground approach. I thrive on the energy of fashion weeks. But we need to reconcile with the new conditions and we need to create new opportunities. At a given time a physical fashion week might engage with 5,000-10,000 people at a given day, but with a digital format, the sky is the limit. The announcement post alone got 1,00,000 views,” says Sethi.