Designer’s decisions to reach mass audiences through online media has become a new standard for what was once marketed to an elite audience. The physical fashion show is not the only, or best, way to reach the industry or the public. Some designers have opted to focus on presentations that are only available online. Benefits of this shift are obvious: designers are spared thousands of dollars, images are available to an exponentially broader audience, and mishaps are eliminated.
For several seasons, Rick Owens chose to collaborate with photographer Nick Knight on hypnotic films showcasing his avant garde designs. Rachel Roy presented her collection on a “virtual runway” February 14th, allowing viewers to get a look at the action backstage and in the front row. “Fashion week has become increasingly busy and hectic,” Rachel said, “I wanted to create a different experience that transcends just a brief moment in time, and deliver it in a different way so people can take the time and experience it at their own pace.”
Can the drama of a live show be replaced by virtual media? No longer will front row fixtures be forced to stand after Balenciaga’s seats collapsed at its S/S 12 show, Prince and Rihanna will not collide at Chanel with the same hairstyle, and street style will be eradicated.
It has yet to be seen how the industry will respond to the virtual medium’s attempt to replace physical shows. What this advancement provides is new opportunities for both designers and their fans to encounter the season’s offerings in creative, more interactive ways.