Of the many industries effected by the Covid-19 pandemic, fashion was among those hit hardest. Retail sales have been down across the globe, with major brands folding and declaring bankruptcy. So it’s no surprise that fashion designers are experimenting with ways they can do things differently. At Gucci, Alessandro Michele is launching ‘Guccifest’—a digital-only fashion extravaganza, in lieu of a traditional runway show. Now, fellow Italian powerhouse Dolce & Gabbana is following suit.
Over the weekend, the brand announced the launch of a new project called ‘DG Digital Show’—a monthly series of digital-only fashion events, in which all products are available for immediate purchase. The brand announced the news with a ’90s-inspired fashion film, shot in New York City and showcasing decidedly wearable pieces like high-rise embellished jeans, plaid sleeveless blazers and perfectly-cropped white T-shirts.
Later in the afternoon, a virtual runway event was staged, which could be watched via Livestream (there were no in-person attendees), with every piece simultaneously stocked online at the Dolce & Gabbana website. This idea—known colloquially as ‘see-now, buy-now’—breaks with industry tradition. There is usually a six month delay between a runway show and the clothes being available to buy in-store. This window of time allows the designers to gauge industry and customer feedback before creating the actual pieces.
Brands like Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry have experimented with the ‘see-now buy-now’ model, with varying levels of success. But Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are clearly convinced that it will work for their business. The logic is sound—in the era of such instant gratification, why would anybody want to wait six months for anything? The Instagram generation, with their ‘swipe up to shop’ and Afterpay addiction, tends to favor immediacy.
Dolce & Gabbana plans to keep rolling out these virtual events on a monthly basis from now on, eschewing the traditional fashion month format (although they will still be staging shows during the regular fashion seasons, too). It’s a bold move—but if there’s ever been a time for boldness, it’s now.