With the transition to a digital design world accelerating through the onset of lockdown, many creative industries are now operating with an entirely new dynamic. Physical events and trade exhibitions are being replaced with virtual alternatives and many organisations are seeing the benefits of this adaptation becoming a permanent fixture. Not only do these occasions reduce the impact of hosting a location-based showcase, they also offer designers the chance to interact with a wider global audience across a flexible schedule, whilst questioning the need for traditional concepts such as seasonality and ‘catwalk collections’.
Paris Fashion Week is leading this new digital arena in hosting the first ever Virtual Reality fashion event: The Circular Fashion Summit by lablaco. Following its first edition in September 2019, held in Station F in Paris and attended by companies such as Hermes, Chanel and Balenciaga, this year’s Summit is joining forces with The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (Paris Fashion Week), AltSpace VR from Microsoft, and Oculus to pioneer the redesign of events for the fashion industry. Tickets include the purchase of an Oculus VR headset and, with dates scheduled for the 3rd and 4th of October 2020 (somewhere in virtual reality!), it signals a new era for events of this capacity to be facilitated in this way.
The event will gather change-makers and leaders from across the industry, featuring three panels to address topics around circularity within the fashion world. In an immersive digital space, viewers will have the chance to interact with industry figures, as well as discovering emerging designers who will be exhibiting within a virtual exhibition hall. Assembling together a global array of talent into one digital event will provide a space for visitors to interact with each other in real-time, offering networking opportunities without the need to travel.
This 2nd edition of the Circular Fashion Summit will also discuss the progress in reaching the goals laid out at the 2019 edition. Pledging to recirculate 100,000 items by 2021, saving an estimated 2000 tonnes of CO2, and 3 million litres of water from landfill, the team have been working hard in ensuring this target is reached. Thanks to partnerships with organisations including The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, The British Fashion Council and Global Fashion Exchange, its network is expanding with a drive to present a new, and positive, future for fashion.
In adopting digital formats, the lablaco duo feel it may even enhance the possibility of reaching these crucial targets. “Now, more than ever, have we felt the readiness of the market in accelerating the digitisation and transition of the fashion industry towards a global circular economy powered by collective action and technology.” states Kuo Shih Yun and Lorenzo Albrighi, co-founders of lablaco. Alongside the summit, the lablaco team are working on different initiatives to encourage further transparency within the supply chain and disrupt the industry towards positive change. Partners of The Swapchain, a new digital fashion swapping platform, they are providing technology solutions, including tools for authenticity and traceability on blockchain, to help consumers easily transition to a circular mindset.
While for many the digital arena may seem daunting, especially when working in design where tangibility and an end product have always been a focus, events such as this are pioneering the future of how a circular industry could exist. The need to shift our attention to design as a process, rather than an end result, is key in closing the loop on production cycles within fashion and other manufacturing streams. Moving away from linear business models, with the implementation of technology, will give us an increased chance of meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals laid out in 2015. And, in breaking down boundaries and conservative mindsets, the industry can unite regularly, to strengthen the global creative community, simultaneously negating the need for travel and therefore reducing the pressure placed upon the natural environment we inhabit.
Register interest in the event here to apply for tickets and join the Circular Fashion Summit 2020 in Virtual Reality.