Paris Fashion Week: How the Industry Embraced Digital Innovation and Social Responsibility

By Sara Bright

Paris Fashion Week is the grand finale of the fashion month, where the most prestigious and influential brands present their collections for the fall-winter 2024 season. But this year, the event was unlike any other, as the fashion industry had to adapt to the new realities of the Covid-19 pandemic and the growing demand for social and environmental accountability. How did the designers and the organizers cope with these challenges and still deliver captivating and meaningful shows?

One of the most noticeable changes was the shift to digital platforms, as many physical shows were cancelled or restricted due to the health and safety measures. Instead of the traditional catwalks, many brands opted for online presentations, using various formats and technologies to showcase their collections. Some used live-streaming services, such as YouTube and Instagram, to reach a wider and more diverse audience. Others created immersive films, animations, or virtual reality experiences to convey their artistic visions.

For example, Dior, one of the most iconic French brands, collaborated with the filmmaker Matteo Garrone to create a fairy-tale film titled “Le Château du Tarot”. The film featured models wearing the latest collection, which was inspired by the symbolism and imagery of the tarot cards. The film also paid homage to the Italian Renaissance, with references to the art, architecture, and literature of that period.

Another example was Balenciaga, who presented his collection through a video game called “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow”. The game featured avatars wearing the clothes, which were designed for a dystopian future where climate change and social unrest have transformed the world. The game also explored the themes of escapism, survival, and hope.

Besides the digital innovation, another change was the focus on social responsibility, as many designers addressed the social and environmental issues that the world is facing today, and reflected on how fashion can be more ethical and sustainable. Some used recycled, organic, or vegan materials to create their garments, while others explored the concepts of diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment.

For instance, Stella McCartney, who is known for her commitment to animal rights and eco-friendly fashion, presented a collection that was made from 80% recycled materials, such as denim, cashmere, and nylon. The collection was also a celebration of the female body, with sensual and flattering shapes and colours.

Another instance was Marine Serre, who presented a collection that was inspired by the concept of “regeneration”. The collection featured pieces that were made from upcycled fabrics, such as old bedsheets, curtains, and carpets. The collection also incorporated elements of multiculturalism, such as Islamic motifs, African prints, and Asian silhouettes.

These are just some of the examples of how Paris Fashion Week embraced digital innovation and social responsibility, and how designers used their creativity and ingenuity to overcome the challenges and express their values. Paris Fashion Week proved that fashion can be more than just clothes, but also a powerful medium of communication, education, and activism.