Would You Rather Watch Fashion Shows Online or In Person?

Would You Rather Watch Fashion Shows Online or In Person?
(Illustration by BLOUIN ARTINFO (runway photo courtesy Getty Images))

With the multitude of fashion shows and presentations taking place each day (one recent count yielded 35 in New York) during fashion week, editors, buyers, retail executives, bloggers, and writers are finding it nearly impossible to see all the collections they want to. Add to that racing around town from venue to venue, the long waits, and huge crowds, and an alternative to attending the shows in person sounds awful appealing. Which is why fashion public relations and production agency KCD has introduced what they're calling Digital Fashion Shows.

Unlike live streaming, Digital Fashion Shows allows viewers, who have to be invited, to revisit and replay runway shows after they are presented. Visitors also get detailed information, from the designer’s inspiration and bio to descriptions of beauty looks. The first show on the Web site will be Prabal Gurung’s premiere ICB collection for Onward Kashiyama, on February 15. “This online experience will replicate the pureness of a live runway show,” said KCD co-president Ed Filipowski in a release. “The only thing this doesn’t give you is the glass of champagne. Bring your own.”

How will Digital Fashion Shows compare to attending a runway show in person? The pros and cons:

Travel Time
In person: Depending on whether you can walk or take the subway, a taxi, or car service, from your home, hotel, or office, it can be anywhere from five minutes to an hour.
Digital Fashion Shows: Forget travel time on this platform. Shows can be watched from your computer, tablet, or iPhone, in the comfort of your own office home.

Wait Time
In person: Shows never start at the scheduled time. Count on waiting around 30 minutes or more. Some designers, like Marc Jacobs, are notorious for having had audiences wait for up to an hour.
Digital Fashion Shows: Shows are pre-taped, so no need to wait at all.

Comfort Level
In person: Seats can be squished, small, and unstable — if you get one. At Balenciaga’s spring/summer 2012 show, the benches actually collapsed.
Digital Fashion Shows: Watch at your desk — or from your bed.

Dress Code
In person: Most dress to the nines to attract the street-style photographers who stand outside of the shows.
Digital Fashion Shows: Pajamas?

The View
In person: The front row is reserved for celebrities, socialites, and top editors and critics. After that, seating assignments are dictated by your level in the fashion hierarchy. If you’re at the bottom, you stand at the back.
Digital Fashion Shows: Every angle is up close and personal.

In person: Designers usually hire in-demand DJs and producers — think the Misshapes, Swizz Beatz, and Samantha Ronson — to provide the music.
Digital Fashion Shows “Don’t expect a music video format or other extraneous bells and whistles,” reads the KCD release.

Celebrity Spotting
In person: Depending on the show, one can get a glimpse of everyone from A-list movie stars to Z-list reality television personalities.
Digital Fashion Shows: Whoever you can convince to come over.

Run of Show
In person: Each one varies, but usually a sheet is handed out with the names of the models, and fabrics used in each look, and a synopsis of the designer’s inspiration.
Digital Fashion Shows: You'll be able to see every detail of the collection.

The Verdict
It all depends on what you’re trying to get out of seeing a collection. If it’s the thrill of experiencing the excellent people watching, seeing the clothes move, or the exclusivity that attending a fashion show in person has to offer, then that’s obviously a better bet. But for those who simply want to see the actual clothes and learn everything about them, the online experience seems pretty complete. Of course, you have to be one of the select few insiders — fashion press, buyers, and retail executives — who are actually invited.