“They say that hard times are fertile ground for the expression of imagination,” writes The Business of Fashion columnist Angelo Flaccavento. In response to the question: "What is happening to the fashion industry today and how will it change after the quarantine?" - he proudly nods towards Giorgio Armani, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Silvia Venturini-Fendi and other designers: "Despite the obvious difficulties, they continue to work on new collections using Skype."
1 of 5 Advertising campaign for the online store of lingerie HER Lingerie, filmed via video link by actress Irina Martynenko and cameraman Mikhail Khasaya FaceTime © instagram.com/jacquemus Zara advertising campaign, FaceTime © instagram.com/zara Russian brand NNedre lookbook, captured on FaceTime by girls from all over the world © press service
Attempts to keep the business alive during a pandemic refer to the paradoxical English idiom "elephant in the room". Many opportunities that have always been obvious are only now becoming visible. It turned out that in order to come up with a new collection, you do not need to gather in the office. To show it to buyers, journalists and clients, it is not necessary to arrange a show. And in order to shoot new items on the cover of the gloss, you can do without a professional camera, exposed light and thoughtful set design. Many processes have flowed online.
Italian photographer Alessio Albi, who heeded the call for social distancing, now photographs models not against the background of Mediterranean beaches and mountain landscapes, but at a distance of 200, and sometimes 2 thousand km - via FaceTime. To do this, he calls the heroine of the shooting, who, like the photographer, spends quarantine days within four walls, discusses the image, advises poses and takes screenshots until she gets the “that” perfect shot. Although the image quality is far from perfect, it is close to film or Polaroid aesthetics. But, first of all, does this make the photo less atmospheric? Second, are there any alternatives in quarantine?
If Alessio Albi shoots mainly professional models, then one of the pioneers of the FaceTime genre in Russia, Konstantin Chalabov, invites anyone to become its hero: in early April, an hour photo session cost 6 thousand rubles. While some are outraged that they have to pay money for screenshots, others call it a new reality and a great way to support their favorite photographer who has been left without their usual work. Today, in addition to Konstantin Chalabov, the main creative people of Russian gloss: Danil Golovkin, Yulia Mayorova and Danil Yaroshchuk are filming via video link.
Images for such a photo shoot can also be selected without leaving home - through virtual constructors or shopping services. So, Mark. Moda works by analogy with a children's game with paper dolls: the user is invited to dress up the figure of a woman or a man, and then order a total look through the online stores TSUM, Farfetch, Aizel, Mytheresa and Yoox. For those who cannot come up with an image on their own, there are Capsula and Style Concierge platforms. The first, in response to a completed questionnaire indicating the budget, size of clothes and preferences in style, cut and color, brings home a "capsule" of five to eight items with detailed instructions from a professional stylist. You can leave and pay only for the clothes that you like and fit. In turn, the second online platform not only analyzes the existing wardrobe and offers several new images at once,but also digitizes them for its own application, forming a clear guide - what, with what and where to wear. If before the quarantine Style Concierge organized personal meetings with stylists, today the delivery of selected images is made in a contactless way, and their fitting and discussion takes place on Skype.
However, for people who buy things only to create content (according to a survey by Barclays, every tenth buyer did this back in 2018), there are now virtual outfits. One of the first to develop them was the Virtue agency, which sought to draw attention to the online store of the Scandinavian brand Carlings, and at the same time to the problem of overconsumption of clothing. To obtain a digital image, designers draw a thing by hand, then transfer it to 3D using special programs CLO and Marvelous Designer, and then “put” the resulting model onto a photograph previously taken by a person. The Virtual Virtue collection for the Carlings includes a yellow crocodile-imitated coat, relaxed zip-up jeans, and oversized sweatshirts with a “I'm not a robot” warning.the money for which they asked is quite real - from € 10 to € 30. The most expensive digital outfit to date, the Iridescence dress from Dutch startup The Fabricant, went under the hammer for $ 9,500. The buyer was the Canadian businessman Richard Ma, who decided to please his wife and compared the uniqueness of the thing with the works of Jackson Pollock and Marcel Duchamp.
In Russia, Regina Turbina is engaged in digital tailoring, who created a virtual image at the request of Yandex. Zen media director Daniil Trabun. As a result of working with graphic editors, the designer got a set of sweatshirt and trousers with contrasting inserts and patch pockets. It is distinguished from the present only by a relatively low price - 5 thousand rubles. Prior to that, Regina presented virtual kimonos, skirts and dresses with abstract prints and a portrait of Anne Boleyn, which she also transferred to customers' photographs. However, she devotes most of her time to her own brand of real clothing, ophelica, often testing her ideas in 3D.
“At the initial stage, creating virtual and real clothes is one and the same. It all starts with an idea, inspiration, and the finished image is always the work of the artist, - Turbina comments. - Only virtual fashion gives him complete creative freedom, the ability to experiment with non-existent textures and materials. Moreover, each 3D image has working patterns and can be sewn off. This is an outlet for brands that can showcase 3D collections, put up samples for pre-order and sew only those clothes that they will definitely buy from them. I understand that this is a completely different economic model, but I believe that it is necessary to move in this direction. Especially now, when the whole world is on pause."
The new ophelica collection, presented at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, includes both tailored outfits and one exclusive virtual costume. Regina Turbina was able to show all this to the audience thanks to the format of the Fashion Week: due to the coronavirus, it was held not on the usual site in the Manege, but on the platform of the Aizel online store.
Other fashion institutions have also moved online: the Cashmere and Silk company (which unites the brands Agnona, Cividini, Ereda, Fabiana Filippi, Les Copains, Peserico, etc.) held a virtual show on social networks, and the Snow Queen brand, which released the collaboration with celebrity stylist Lina Dembikova, demonstrated it to fashion editors at Zoom. The international fashion exhibition Pitti Immagine, which announced the postponement of some of the events from June to September, decided to launch the digital platform e-PITTI Connect. She will become a liaison between buyers and brands, as well as broadcast presentations and shows.
The phrase that crisis is a time of opportunity has never been so accurate. Faced with the need to save our business, we come up with new genres, develop unusual services, revise our own habits and change our attitude towards what seemed unshakable and important until recently - all with the help of the Internet. The main question now is rather not what will happen to the fashion industry after a protracted quarantine, but whether we can preserve the value of physical contacts and things, getting out of it.>