New York kicks off digital fashion shows

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the usual celebrity-packed front rows, snapping street photographers and exclusive parties are gone, replaced with virtual or, in a very few cases, socially distanced shows.

Designers will show more than 100 "pieces of content" from their autumn/winter 2021-2022 collections in a film, live event or lookbook, said IMG, which runs New York Fashion Week: The Shows.

"We've been working very closely with the governor and health officials to make sure that our protocols are in place," said April Guidone, global senior vice president for marketing and brand strategy at IMG, in an interview.

Brands such as The Blonds and Badgley Mischka will share video streams while big names Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren are absent from the show schedule. The few live events include shows by designers Jason Wu and Rebecca Minkoff, Guidone said.

The fashion and luxury goods industry has been hit hard by the global pandemic with store closures and travel restrictions shrinking demand.

But Godfrey Deeny, global editor-in-chief of FashionNetwork.com said the season going digital might be helpful to some brands.

"In a curious way the fact the season went digital helped a few of them because it's cheaper somehow to shoot video in a studio," he added.

Video Transcript

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APRIL GUIDONE: We will have very limited shows that happen inside with audiences. If we do have audiences, we've been working very closely with the governor and health officials to make sure that our protocols are in place. And we were successful in September, and those protocols have even been stepped up for February.

GODFREY DEENY: In a curious way, the fact the season went digital helped a few of them because it's cheaper somehow to shoot an indie video, you know, in a studio or out on the street somewhere, rather than actually stage a whole runway show, which will cost you, minimum, about $100,000, maybe half a million, even for a small brand.

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