Think of some off-putting elements of fashion shows: traffic, crowds, egos, the pressure to look entirely on-point, actually being invited… the list goes on. However, all of these things can be eliminated if you simply enjoy the show from the comfort of your own home; the only place where nobody can judge you for turning up in pyjamas.
YouVisit is a site which offers virtual reality tours of reasonably exclusive places. You may have already seen the Mirror to the Soul video – a five minute behind-the-scenes glimpse from every angle of Fashion Week Russia – and not realised it was a collaboration between YouVisit and Mercedes-Benz (sponsors of FWR). With many high street shops getting behind the concept of virtual reality for everything from mailers to cliff jumping clips, extending it to fashion shows seems an obvious evolution.
Silly as it may sound, virtual reality offers the kind of access that would not be readily available in real life. YouVisit COE Abi Mandelbaum put it this way: “The power of VR is one of access… the viewer is the director; the viewer can say, ‘Oh, I want to see the dress, or the designer,’ and really engage and focus on the thing they’re most interested in.” What a time to be alive.
For big shows such as anything during Fashion Week, the majority of us already watch events unfold via a screen, so is virtual reality really such a huge step? What affect this would have on the real-life catwalk is yet to be seen, but at a time when customer engagement is at an all-time low, designers and distributors can’t afford to hang back from progress.