Milan Prepares to Launch Its First Ever Digital Fashion Week in July

"It's important for us to convey the message that fashion has not stopped," an organizer said.
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Models walk the runway at the Ermenegildo Zegna show in January in Milan.

Models walk the runway at the Ermenegildo Zegna show in January in Milan.

When Covid-19 began to grind all kinds of activities to a halt, fashion folks began to immediately wonder what the lockdown might mean for fashion week. In Milan, at least, an answer is emerging: it's time to go digital.

On Wednesday, WWD reported that organizing body Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana would host the first Milano Digital Fashion Week from July 14-17 to showcase women's and men's pre-collections for next spring in addition to spring 2021 men's collections. The news follows on the heels of the cancellation of London Fashion Week Men's, which was also slated to take place in June, and which has also announced the adoption of a digital and gender-neutral format.

What exactly a digital fashion show looks like will vary from brand to brand, president of the Camera Carlo Capasa said. Some might opt for a filmed version of a show behind closed doors, while others might make short films or offer backstage images of ad campaigns. Despite the diversity of offerings possible, they'll still be ruled by an official calendar.

Though a new element of digital is being introduced, it doesn't necessarily mean that physical shows are being ruled out for the rest of the year. Capasa mentioned that the Camera is still operating under the assumption that Milan Fashion Week women's will be happening from September 22-28. Spring 2021 men's shows could happen concurrently with those women's shows, he said, even noting that some brands may choose to show digitally in the summer and add a physical show element in the fall.

"We have given freedom to each brand to decide and this is a sign of the times. It's very difficult today to set a fixed strategy," he said. Still, he noted that it's "important for us to convey the message that fashion has not stopped."

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