India holds digital fashion week amid pandemic

NEW DELHI (AP) : Unlike a fashion show, the models aren’t swaying on a ramp in real life. They are depending on digital technology to rescue their annual extravaganza from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Phygital Edition” is India’s first digital fashion week, held from Wednesday through Sunday. It livestreams the spring-summer collections by more than 40 designers under the banner of Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week. Ten designers showcase their work each day.

For months, designers, models, make-up artists and film crews worked to create the fusion of the physical and virtual fashion, adapting to the virus restrictions.

A model prepares for a film that will be showcased online during Lotus make-up India Fashion week, at the farmhouse of a designer in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The designers have pre-shot films that are showcased online on key digital platforms — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Nikhita Tandon, a designer, is hopeful of a big response, considering everyone is connected in today’s digital world.

“Earlier we could accommodate a maximum of 500 people in the hall while now it is massive in comparison, we all know that digital world is the new thing in marketing,” she said. 

Indian fashion designer Nikhita Tandon, right, calls for models to line up for a photo shoot ahead of the Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week, in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

But she sees a huge difference between a live show and watching the images online. “When we see a garment in front of our eyes, there is a different feel in the embellishments,” she said.

“Another challenge is the timeline within which a garment had to be made, because for the digital show there is a whole process that goes down after the garments are ready. So for hosting the show digitally the decreased timeline is challenging as well,” Tandon said. 

A model poses for a photo shoot for the Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week, at the farmhouse of a designer in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Indian fashion designer Nikhita Tandon, right, watches a photo shoot for the Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Not to miss the October deadline, the Fashion Design Council of India converted parts of its office building into a studio in a bustling industrial area of New Delhi. It created a stage, screens and bespoke lighting to facilitate shooting of fashion films and videos by the designers.

It wasn’t easy to meet the strict COVID-19 restrictions. The entire building was sanitized, as were the designers’ clothes. 

Models, film crews, photographers, designers and the design council staff could step in after they tested negative for the coronavirus. Face masks were mandatory, except briefly, for the models onstage.

A man checks the temperature of a model as she enters the office of the Fashion Development Corporation of India (FDCI) in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Signs of social distancing are pasted on the sets for the Lotus make-up India Fashion week digital show in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A model gets herself sanitized before entering the office of the Fashion Development Corporation of India (FDCI) in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Some designers even chose to film in private farm houses, their own or leased for the purpose.

Designers participating in the fashion show include Varun Bahl, Tarun Tahiliani, Suneet Varma, Shivan and Narresh, Shantanu and Nikhil, Rohit Gandhi, Rahul Khanna, Rina Dhaka, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Payal Jain, Nitin Bal Chauhan, Namrata Joshipura, Geisha Designs, Dhi, Ashish Soni and Abhishek Gupta.

The design council has created an online “designer showroom,” a dedicated space where designers can upload their look-books and hold virtual meetings with domestic and international buyers.

Tandon says online shows are here to stay. Still, people would prefer looking at an outfit physically, especially heavier and costly pieces, rather than gazing at the screen before making a decision to buy it.

Models pose during a photo shoot for the Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week, at the farmhouse of a designer in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Photographs of models are spread on a bed during a shoot for the Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week, at the farmhouse of a designer in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A model arrives for preparations ahead of the Lotus make-up India Fashion week digital show at the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) office in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A worker wearing a facemark as a precaution against the coronavirus carries a set prop in preparation for the Lotus make-up India Fashion week digital show in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A worker sets the stage for the Lotus make-up India Fashion week digital show in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Backstage staff wearing face masks walk past a room where outfits are hung for a shoot ahead of the Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week, in the farmhouse of the designer in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A model gets her hair done for a shoot for the Lotus make-up India Fashion week digital show at the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) office in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A model poses for a film pre-shot to be showcased online during Lotus make-up India Fashion week in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

By : MANISH SWARUP – AP News

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