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The Future of Fashion Weeks: Are catwalk shows still worth the investment?

fashion show

The fashion industry is one of the biggest and most lucrative in the world, and every year, the style-conscious wait with bated breath to see the latest trends unveiled for the months ahead, clamouring for a chance to attend Fashion Weeks across the globe and to claim a coveted spot in the all-important Front Row. From London to New York, Paris to Milan, the pre-season catwalk displays have traditionally been the dictators of style for many years, but thanks to the increasing influence of the digital era, could that all be about to change?

Nowadays, it’s no longer necessary to research the latest designer collections or scan a copy of Vogue to know what the latest it-outfit is; instead, it’s as simple as a quick scroll through your Instagram feed. From celebrities to bloggers, it has never been simpler to find out what your favourite style icon is wearing in real time, and with just a few clicks of your smartphone, you can have those exact same pieces winging their way to you by the very next day.

fashion show

As we turn more and more towards social media influencers and celebrities for style inspiration, it’s possible that leading designers could begin to take a backseat. Sure, they may still be the ones to come up with the goods, but if Alexa Chung isn’t wearing it, then who else is going to? Thankfully, some of the world’s biggest designers have long been one step ahead, working with the most influential stars on Instagram instead of against them. Getting them on board as ambassadors has been an invaluable tool for amplifying their brands, and this is not about to change any time soon.

This could be seen to throw the future of Fashion Weeks around the world into uncertainty, with some believing that they are no longer as necessary as they once were. Add to that the ever-increasing running costs, and they are far more expensive for designers to put on that it would be to work with a social media star or two. With many catwalk shows costing over £1 million to pull off if they are to include some of the biggest brands and models out there, it’s a hefty price tag to pay for just fifteen minutes on stage – but nonetheless, new report From Row to the consumer, conducted by Launchmetrics and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), has suggested that we won’t have to say goodbye to them any time soon.

fashion show

“The results of this report show that not only is fashion still a very valuable asset, but also that the media impact value (MIV) of this kind of events are still high too, generating a considerable return on investment. After analysing the Media Impact Value for more than 400 designers, we can say that without a doubt, fashion shows are not only worth celebrating but are a great business for all of the people who are involved in the industry,” said a spokesperson for Launchmetrics.

“It goes without saying that the fashion industry is one of the most powerful industries at present, and the Internet, social media and the latest technologies can all serve as powerful resources for those wanting to find out what’s in style – as well as for the designers wanting to show them. Nonetheless, that’s not to say that anyone is willing to do away with tradition, and designers and fashionistas alike are still eager to hold onto the glamorous shows and events we so look forward to each year.”

The fashion industry has, in fact, warmly welcomed the changes and improvements we have seen in recent years thanks to technological advances. After all, one of the biggest appeals of the internet is the fact that it allows us to stay connected from any place and at any time – and it’s this means of easy communication and shareability that has helped some of the most successful fashion collections in recent years go viral.  It’s precisely this that makes Fashion Weeks such a huge success, with social media ensuring that the conversation continues long after the catwalk shows have ended.

fashion show

So what exactly is the future of fashion? With the Launchmetrics survey results revealing that some brands receive up to 800% more online mentions during fashion weeks than the rest of the year, it’s clear that London Fashion Week – as well as its counterparts around the world – still has a very important role to play in terms of influencing the fashion-conscious buyer. The evidence suggests that catwalk shows are worth every single pound they cost designers to put on, raising awareness of brands to a level that could never have been achieved without them.

In the UK, London Fashion Week remains a hotly anticipated event in our calendars, and not one we’d be willing to give up without a fight – so it’s good news that despite the changing fashion landscape, we don’t need to worry about it disappearing any time soon. Without the anticipation of the often ostentatious and outlandish catwalk shows to look forward to each year and the excitement of the debriefs post show, we just don’t think we could get as revved up about what the new season’s key pieces are going to be – and we can’t wait to take our position in the FROW again next time.