The Future of Fashion Shows

The pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way we interact with live shows and social events.

As COVID swept the world, fashion houses scrambled to re-imagine the future without an in-person fashion week. The challenge was showing off the latest season safely while maintaining the same impact and exclusivity that Fashion Week is known for. This challenge forced designers to get creative in the way that they showcase their latest pieces, with shows turning digital and becoming more performative than ever.

The idea of fashion shows being performance is nothing new, but switching to digital formats means that designers have to get creative in order to captify their audience in a similar way. There have been a few great examples of creatives doing this, from musical artists to the fashion brands that adapted early to the shift.

Travis Scott performing his Fortnite concert in April of 2020

One of the best illustrations of an online event working well is Travis Scott performing his Fortnite concert in April of 2020, where he took over the online game and hosted a full concert exclusive to Fortnite players. The event won critical appraise, with Scott becoming the example of how artists can use this new way of entertainment.

A similar event is Hanifa’s 3D fashion show, where founder Anifa Mvuemba showcased her entire Spring collection using 3D renderings. None of the models were real people, and the entire show took place on Instagram Live, making it accessible to all of Hanifa’s followers and fans. Mvuemba spent five months preparing for the Live and worked through numerous technical difficulties to bring the 3D show to life. In the end, it was celebrated by users and the press, with Vogue dubbing the event as “innovative” and “the future of fashion.”

A still from Hanifa’s 3D fashion show

If these events have proven anything, it’s that online shows can be compelling, and much like our WFH 9-5’s, some fashion execs have decided to abandon the traditional fashion workweek schedule altogether. Gucci recently announced that they’re only attending two IRL shows a year, with brands like Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, and Michael Kors following suit - no pun intended. While these designers are switching up their show schedule, they’re not abandoning Fashion Week entirely, opting to limit the amount of in-person shows that they attend each year. The decision makes their future presence at these shows even more compelling and exclusive, making it clear that online events are more accessible than ever but never a true substitute for seeing the real thing. Given this, the future of fashion shows relies on mixing digital art with real-life displays in a way that feels seamless and interesting to watch.

Fashion shows have often been called the grand finale of the creative process - they mark the end of an era and also the beginning of a new one, dictating trends for years to come. Some designers aren’t happy with the migration to online platforms and expect the trend to taper out once the pandemic is “over,” but if COVID has taught us anything it’s that we’ve experienced an irreparable cultural shift in the way we interact with entertainment and each other. In a content-centered world, it’s important to show up with material that is entertaining and informative.

White Rhino is embracing this shift away from in-person fashion shows by building out a virtual design event that showcases the process leading up to a new collection drop. The show will be pre-recorded and will incorporate many of the same principles we’ve seen from virtual shows like Hanifa’s, including the back story of the White Rhino limited drop from conception to creation. The fashion show might be the grand finale, but digital platforms allow us to share how the process begins, and to us, that’s the most beautiful part of this new future of fashion.

The White Rhino Virtual Viewing Party will be shared live April.1st 2021, Click here to RSVP

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