With the gradual acceptance of the digital world into the fashion industry, we’ve seen big players open up the previously industry-exclusive runways to the general public in a sartorial celebration that has filled Piccadilly Circus and united fashion lovers across the globe. However, KCD Worldwide, the global fashion publicity powerhouse that looks after clients such as Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Vera Wang (to name but a few), has gone the extra mile and announced that they will be introducing ‘Digital Fashion Shows’ from February 2012.
In the last year alone the fashion industry has grown exponentially. Fashion editors, journalists and buyers are currently gearing up for the international fashion month, where designers will showcase their collection for Autumn/Winter 2012 in New York, London, Milan and Paris. But the biannual shows isn’t where it ends. There’s also the pre-Fall collections, Resort shows, Menswear weeks, Couture shows… need I go on? In short, the never-ending merry-go-round that is the fashion world is exactly that. Never-ending. And, quite frankly, exhausting. KCD’s ‘Digital Fashion Shows’ mean that you can simply login and watch virtual fashion shows, backstage beauty and Q&As with the designers about the show and their inspirations. The best part? It’s fully downloadable and embeddable, meaning the glamour of the front row can be brought right to your computer screen, for press and our readers.
KCD’s pioneering concept, whilst not intending to replace the current system, is set to enhance the fashion week experience for the weary industry professionals who, by the time New York Fashion Week kicks off on February 9, will have just about recovered from (and filed copy for) Milan Menswear, Berlin Fashion Week, Paris Menswear and the Couture shows, which have run back-to-back since 14 January. An answer to the exhausting routines has been long overdue, and KCD will be testing out their idea with a screening of Prabal Gurung’s debut ICB collection, with more shows to be added within the year.
This time last year, Christopher Bailey, CEO at Burberry, told the Telegraph, “we are thrilled to be bringing the Burberry show to our widest audience yet in an immersive, interactive and entertaining experience. Whether you are at home online, watching in Piccadilly Circus, using a mobile device or in our store in Beijing everyone will be able to feel the energy and attitude of the brand and the excitement of the show.” Since then, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Diana von Furstenburg and more have taken to screening their shows to the general public via YouTube and other online tools. KCD’s initiative is a ‘game-changer’ for the fashion industry, taking Burberry et al’s digital movement and blowing it tenfold.
Whilst all can agree that this is definitely a step in the right direction for an industry that has seen relentless criticism for nepotism and snobbery, some voices have raised concerns that it could cause the end for the fashion critic. Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Editor at the Financial Times, has voiced concerns that it could mean that consumers will begin to cut out the middle man and see the shows themselves. This isn’t an immediate concern as only press can login to the KCD site – the general public will only see the content once it has been embedded onto a publication’s website – but it does raise potential future concerns. For now, only time will tell how successful KCD’s pioneering project will be, but it’s an exciting development for the fashion world all the same.