Fashion technology evolution brings the runway to a screen near you

With the world still firmly held in the grip of the global coronavirus pandemic, lovers of high-end fashion around the world are turning their attention to technology to get their satorial fix with an array of digital events taking place in various locations around the world.

Helping to bring together well-known fashion houses, independent designers, fashionistas and catwalk lovers, this year will see a total technology overhaul of the usual fashion week offerings. A number of experimental tools have been developed to engage the press, influencers and consumers, as fashion moves from the physical to the virtual space.

Here are just some of the ways that the fashion industry has leveraged emerging new technologies to continue to host its important annual events.

Live streaming

With social distancing still very much the order of the day, virtual fashion weeks have been making extensive use of live streaming to bring catwalk collections into the homes and offices of buyers and consumers as well as those interested in what we’ll all be wearing next season.

During the men's fashion week in Paris in July, we saw the new Hermes collection live-streamed in what was a totally digital experience. Many other traditional brands followed suit while other events have also used live streaming to showcase back to back collections in a format which echoes that of a physical show.

Designers are also coming to the helm with virtual meet and greets via live streaming, giving a more personal experience to what is by necessity a socially distanced event.


360° virtual reality

Taking things a stage further, many designers have tapped into the emerging popularity of virtual reality, and have offered a 360 degree VR tour of their collections.

A number of major fashion houses have attempted this for the first time in order to prove a more sensory element to their collections and to stand out against their competitors on a virtual platform. Some have gone a step further and have offered ‘virtual showroom’ appointments to fashion buyers.


Live interaction

No fashion show would be complete without feedback and opinion. Some digital events have been able to harness this by employing social interaction panels so observers can voice their thoughts in the online space for all to see in real time.

Many shows have also enabled these interactions during live-streamed catwalk shows, giving more people the chance to get involved in the conversation than ever before.


Shoppable runway

Another new feature that has set the fashion world abuzz is the shoppable runway.

Using e-commerce technology, viewers can view the latest collections by clicking on a link as models glide down the catwalk. This gives them a full product description, price and buying options in their local currency on items that usually wouldn't be available to buy in-store for months.

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