To everything there is a season. Certainly, this is true for almost everything including the fashion industry and many of its practices. What once was in vogue soon becomes out of date and designers need to move with the trend or get left behind.
As it is, fashion shows seem to be waning in influence in the Western world. Conversations around fashion weeks are increasingly becoming negative as more and more people think it needs to be phased out.
A time was when fashion shows bore semblance to trade shows with new collections being presented to a small number of media influencers, journalists and buyers who would then either report on the new trend for readers or order in advance for their stores.
Now, globalization ensures that an image can spread globally in the twinkling of an eye and the buying process need not take more than 3 steps on a phone.
Also, fashion trends, thanks to the widespread customer reach, changes ever so frequently so that what used to be a half-year waiting period can now feel archaic’.
THE NIGERIAN SITUATION
In the Nigerian clime, it’s a different ball game. The idea of fashion shows and events is really just picking up. Several fashion brands are now seeing the need to hold such events. While many definitely deserve more publicity to ensure the media space is saturated with information about the shows and many more designers and customers are reached as the case may be, February seems to be associated with a lull and rightly so.
After the hustle and bustle of the end of the year and festive season, this is the period when fashion businesses are settling in, rolling out new plans and strategies to ensure their brands do better.
Given the trend in the West, is there a need for designers in Nigeria to still embrace this forty-year-old culture significantly responsible for pushing many global brands to the forefront of public acceptance? Can all the players in the Nigeria fashion industry together agree that the benefits outweigh the negatives? The answer to both questions is a resounding Yes.
DIGITALIZATION; THE FUTURE
To sustain the boom in the Nigerian fashion industry, we might as well skip ahead and embrace the future of fashion shows – Digitalization.
With the rise of the internet and social media, fashion collections are easier to access. While traditional shows with strong media coverage can be the first point of combing strategies, Start-up designers must begin to utilize the multiple options which technology affords them.
From fully digital shows to live feeds to ‘see now, buy now’ options, fast fashion is the new order of the day. The fashion world is changing by the day. Speaking on this, fashion blogger, Leandar Cohen of Medine said, “It’s ALWAYS fashion week on the internet if you want it to be”.
If the internet and social media allow for high customer engagement, then it makes every sense to alter the system that first requires you to reach out to fashion influencers, buyers and journalists in a bid to reach the customers (as was the practice in the traditional fashion shows’ and then have them wait months before the clothes are readily available in the market.
The future is now and digitalization is at the forefront of it. Designers will either get on board or get left behind. Fashion shows certainly have their place; Going digital just ensures it is not a misstep.