Fashion Week During a Pandemic (Part I)

Fashion week during the pandemic has been the unexpected silver lining for such precedented times. A bright one too, that we’ve desperately needed without even knowing it. Marinating in the thick of a Quarantine-induced depression is easy to fall into; a gloomy headspace that no one is immune to. In the beginning, we found ourselves asking, “Shoot, why wasn’t there a global pandemic when I was in middle school?” Now, the question is, “My regular sleep schedule is the only consistency that exists right now, so how in the world is fashion week even relevant?” Especially since, despite our efforts (that have been poorly delegated), we’ve only found ourselves trapped in a deeper hole, from this pandemic that has not-so-subtley only gained a stronger foot on the gas pedal over the last few weeks.

The Fashion Industry is Leading by Example in Establishing a Growth Mindset

Surprisingly, the fashion industry has led by example in highlighting the valuable take-aways that would only rise from the challenge of a lifetime: executing fashion week amidst a global pandemic. Truly, the challenge to execute an event that will influence style across the globe is daunting in itself. With very limited resources and a very rigid set of new rules, the task is not meant for the weak. However difficult, fashion designers pulled it off . The results are astounding, leading by example the positive gains one can benefit from when faced with a challenge. Designers have triumphantly introduced a greater sense of mindfulness and intention in bringing Resort 2021 collections to life. Integrating these new approaches to our daily lifestyle habits and day-to-day tasks only points to positive growth. The result? Leveling up our quality of life and living. Still not convinced? Well, keep reading.

In the Thick of Quarantine, We Find Ourselves Submitting to a Peaceful Coexistence with Our Dismal Reality

Five months into the Coronavirus pandemic, we now find ourselves waving our white flags as we surrender to the dismal reality before us. This shit ain’t letting up and it’s exhausting to fight it. A not-so-mutual-but-we-have-no-choice agreement has been forged for a peaceful coexistence. Furthermore, we can’t deny, bargain with, or bandaid the cold, hard truth: we’re going to be stuck at home for a while.

As much as I hate it, the mask requirement is here for the long haul. Halloween will be cancelled (excuse me while I go cry into a bowl of candy corn), Thanksgiving gatherings look dismal and Christmas shopping this year is going to look very different (is it weird that I miss the stressful holiday shopping traffic and fighting the Karens off over the last discounted North Face jacket?).

Fashion Week Spotlights Our Greater Purpose Admist the Pandemic

Giambattista Valli Resort 2021
Photo courtesy of x Vogue Runway

Okay, so now what? Instead of freaking out amidst the nightmare of our reality (we won’t blame you if you do), there is a bright silver lining serving as a catalyst for positive growth. Some examples are, individual lifestyle habits, communities efforts, innovative ways of communicating, connecting or collaborating remotely, educating on a greater social awareness of others and our surroundings, positive Covid-19 impact on our environment/air quality courtesy of Nasa, new sustainability approaches (repurposing old fabrics for masks, anti-fast fashion education, indie online clothing stores for reselling old pieces), the list truly doesn’t end there.

It’s important to remind each other that we will emerge from this phase with a greater awareness of our surroundings, a bigger sense of gratitude.

Written by Roya Ansari

The Pandemic Has All of Us on House Arrest. What’s the Point of Fashion Week?

3.1 Phillip Lim Resort 2021
Photo courtesy of x Vogue Runway

Good question. Cancelled runway shows forced designers back to the drawing board in re-addressing their greater purpose in fashion and reevaluating methods of connecting with the community as well as the rest of the world. They worked tirelessly and had to think outside of the box in addressing our current global dilemma: wtf is going on and how long will we be stuck in the March 2020 time loop?

Stockholm syndrome is our new normal. The local pharmacy is the fanciest outing we partake in. On a good day, a seductive exchange with the hot pharmacist over a casual refill of anti-depressants (who, in reality, is just an average middle-aged, happily married, grandparent-to-be but we can still dream right?). Maybe, if we’re feeling extra, we would head Safeway of Ralph’s for a leisurely stroll down the frozen food section or a catwalk down the candy isle. Meanwhile, you might catch someone throwing a cheeky glance towards a bag of Doritos or a lonely housewife shooting a not-so-subtle wink to the pubescent clerk at checkout. You know, because fuck it, who cares right? There are no rules anymore. There is no “right” way to get through this. Well, besides donning a mask and trying not to lose your shit every time you turn on the 5:00 news).

What Fashion Needs

Balenciaga Resort 2021
Photo courtesy of x Vogue Runway

Alas, I know that the ADHD-induced daydream I just fell into threw me into that little side-rant, but I promise I’m going somewhere with all of this. Moreover, fashion desperately needs practicality, functionality and durability more than ever. The preparation has started. Namely, the inevitable, menacing, incredibly terrifying-but-trying-not-to-think-about-it STORM is on the horizon. (LOL, remember flu season that rolls around every November? Yeah, we’re completely fucked.)

We need zoom-appropriate #WFM outfits (well, from the waist up at least). Our current reality calls for flexible fabric to move with our spontaneous mid-afternoon pushups or brisk walks around block; our agile, dancing feet need the durability as we try to keep our distance (it truly is the awkward game of freeze tag from 5th grade gym class I never asked to relive that I will eventually write an entirely separate think-piece about) from people while running errands. Finally, when we flop back on the couch, armed with a bowl of popcorn and TV remote, we need comfort so that 100% of our attention can be on the bravely trekking through the tangled thickets of Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, etc. Discovering an unwatched movie or TV show is the new holy-shit-I-just-found-a-100-dollar-bill-on-the-ground. Don’t @ me.

Designers Listened and Delivered

Gucci Resort 2021
Photo courtesy of x Vogue Runway

Designers didn’t put up a fight or let their ego get in the way for the better good of the people. There was no sense in attempting to glue back together broken fragments of a world that no longer exists. Carefully curated, fine-tuned, meticulously thought-out concepts would have thrived in the world that we once new and loved. Now it would be frivolous, wasteful and borderline offensive if designers blindly flooded the runways with the usual oodles of chiffon, sequined ballgowns, feathered whatever-the-fuck-you-call-it’s, Met Gala worthy haute couture, shoes without heels (ha, remember those?) and other sparkly things. Indeed they are dreamy, but entirely useless for the times.

As the flood gates started to crack, designers took a page out of Noah’s book and fashioned an Arc, packed with durable textiles, ethically-sourced materials, repurposed fabrics, buttons, zippers, accessories from previous seasons, and so forth. They created sensible, no-nonsense wardrobe staples that are chic but practical. You’ll see little whimsical details hidden throughout — a bit of sparkle here, a pop of color there, strategically placed to lift our spirits — like hidden sticky notes folded and tucked between sturdy folds of durable fabric with handwritten reminders like, “Don’t forget to smile!” or, “We know this sucks and you’re exhausted, but this isn’t going to be forever” or “I specifically threw in this bright pink belt to make you feel better.” You’ll see these across the board in resort 2021 collections. It worked.

Continue to the next page to see the collections, designer notes and our big take-aways from fashion week –>

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