Fashion Week Across the Globe: Pandemic Style

Libby Hernandez reviews 2021’s digital fashion weeks across the globe.

Fashion Week this year did not require a plane ticket to New York, London, Paris, or Milan—instead, it called for your living room couch and laptop. The pandemic has pushed designers to showcase their Winter 2021 collections digitally, meaning a simple Google search gives you access to the live streams of all high-end runway shows, panels, and interviews. Virtual fashion week will go down as another example of how industries have adapted to the pandemic. This year’s Fashion Week had to compromise its notorious exclusivity aspect and instead create an event that is accessible to the public. Similar to many other events that adapted to the unconventional circumstances of 2021, Fashion Week has been subject to global critique. These circumstances led to a line-up missing plenty of big names within the industry and shows that lacked the creativity that many expected. Regardless, numerous designers across the globe worked through these limitations to produce a collection and show that incorporates and adapts to the oddities of the past year.

By creating a free account on New York Fashion Week’s website you could gain a front-row experience to the runway shows and a look at what took place backstage during the weekend of February 13th. I highly urge you to explore the different lookbooks and virtual experiences that are available to the public for no cost. A section of the website that I loved was the page curated by The Black In Fashion Council that allows the public to discover different collections by Black designers. You can also tune in to a ton of talks (taking place via Zoom of course) between members of The Black In Fashion Council discussing a wide range of topics surrounding the fashion industry. A must-watch runway show is Studio 189’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection by Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson. Not only is the collection full of vibrant pieces consisting of intricate patterns celebrating Ghana’s heritage but the virtual show focuses on the employees behind the garments. Vogue Runway describes the collection as speaking “…to the value of work and the interconnectedness of us all, and it does this with an overflowing helping of Studio 189’s signature—joy”.

WATCH RUNWAY SHOW

An extremely pandemic-appropriate theme of Fashion Week this year that was present all over the globe was that of face masks. Let’s just say the face masks worn were not your usual blue disposable paper mask. From attendees to the runway models, unique face masks were a signature piece. Rick Owens made headlines with his Fall 2021 debut in Paris Fashion Week; the show was filmed on a beach that is essentially Owen’s backyard featured looks that each came with a matching mask. Owens started his motive behind this being “I have shown masks with these pandemic shows not because my masks are guaranteed protection, but because they are a vote for responsibility and consideration and an acknowledgment of our immediate collective experience” (Harper’s Bazaar). I hope that this iconic move by Owens inspires more designers to include face masks in their upcoming collections (even though some may lack practicality… ).

Source: Harper’s Bazaar

Source: Owenscorp

A moment from London Fashion Week that absolutely stole my heart was Vivienne Westwood’s rococo painting-inspired collection where ninety percent of the materials were made sustainably, aiming to reduce their environmental impact (L’officiel). These pieces that are a hybrid of modern trends with an underlying vibe of traditional French styles are garments that I NEED in my post-pandemic lookbook.

Source: London Fashion Week

Fashion Week is a topic that I can ramble on and on about, especially when a virtual version of the event has made it too convenient for me to sit in my bed and pretend I am sitting front-row at Angela Missoni’s show in Milan. It is no secret that the pandemic has taken its toll on the fashion industry and Fashion Week all over the world, but that does not mean it is not something you can use to make the time go faster during lockdown! I highly encourage you all to grab a drink, sit back and explore the different collections that designers debuted this month from all over the globe (whether it is in your pajamas or not).

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