We're rounding in on a solid month of social isolation efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19, with everyone deemed "non-essential" now working from makeshift home offices. That means most of the gears of the fashion industry have ground to a halt.
That poses a problem for people who are trying to keep their e-commerce — now the only open outlet for many, many retailers — and editorial businesses running. It's not only hard to have a photoshoot while keeping six feet apart, it's downright impossible when you consider the very hands-on tasks of styling teams. And while journalism is still considered an essential business, it's a little hard to justify putting people at risk for the sake of a fashion spread.
So retailers and magazines are getting creative and putting the work in the hands of their models, who are now tasked with being stylists, set designers, makeup and hair artists, and sometimes, photographers all in one. Talk about a model-hyphenate!
The first to gain buzz over this, uh, model-reliant model was fast-fashion retailer Zara, which sent its most recent drop of product to the home of regulars like Malgosia Bela and Cara Taylor to task them with shooting the collection on themselves in their homes.
And it's a good thing Gigi Hadid has plenty of experience in editorial, as Vogue Italia tasked her and other models, including Lindsey Wixson, with creating their own fashion spreads for its April issue.
In the case of Hadid, the Vogue Italia team, under the direction of creative director Ferdinando Verderi, sent an outfit to the farm where the model is currently holed up, and the resulting image is actually super cute: Like so many of us, she's sprawled on a couch playing video games — in her case, Mario Kart, but perhaps she'd like to give Animal Crossing a try next? — and eating Goldfish snacks, which are tumbling out of her bag. Unlike so many of us, she's doing this in a full Chanel look. But the detail of the Goldfish by her foot! Brilliance.
I-D magazine got a little fancier with its makeshift photoshoot, tapping photographer Willy Vanderperre to snap shots of models making the publications signature winking face over video call services like FaceTime and Zoom.
Of course, this system isn't perfect, either: This almost certainly requires that someone on the brand side go to an office to pull looks to be messengered or delivered by another handful of people, so it does still break the boundaries of social isolation. But as we enter the crucial period where teams are beginning to assemble those all-important September issues, fashion editors are going to have to think differently about what glossy spreads and high-wattage covers can look like.
Let's continue to flex our imaginative muscles. The health and safety of our communities are worth it.