April is here and that means it’s time for one of our biggest fashion shows to take place: the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week. While there are several fashion shows held around the country, without a doubt, the ones under the mantle of the Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PFDC), are the most prestigious ones.

Over the years PFDC has managed to produce some incredible shows with the some of the most well recognised brands, along with promising young talent (vying for the top spot in its emerging talent category). Journalists, bloggers and influencers flock from different cities, ready to record and report the most happening moments of the four days.

However, with the advent of technology and mobile applications such as Instagram, I’ve been wondering whether we really need these extravagantly organised shows anymore? Here I refer not only to our local shows, but also to the elaborate set-ups done by international design houses such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Burberry.

Having attended a few fashion weeks — initially as a publicist during my PR days and later as a guest — I can personally say what these shows provide, social media can provide tenfold. If I’m being honest, the most amount of fun I’ve had watching a fashion show is from the comfort of my sofa, as models sashayed down the runway on a Facebook live feed courtesy of Chanel.

We live in a fast-paced world, where it’s almost become a necessity to have everything immediately available to us. Digital applications and social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are constantly evolving, making it easier for brands and personalities to be in close contact with their audience base. Moreover, research has shown that the upcoming generation (GenZ) is concerned a lot more with authenticity and interactivity than they are with grandiosity.

“Having attended a few fashion weeks — initially as a publicist during my PR days and later as a guest — I can personally say what these shows provide, social media can provide tenfold”

But it’s not just about comfort at an event. When I look at fashion shows, I wonder if that same amount of effort, time and money spent could be put to better by simply focusing on digital marketing. Updates such as IGTV and the ability to go live on almost any app, allows brands to get in touch directly with their current and potential customers. Moreover, clients can also give immediate feedback, which I believe is the cornerstone of any successful brand.

I decided to ask around to see if this was just a sentiment I had or whether others shared it as well. To my dismay, my friends in the fashion and lifestyle industry were hesitant to go on the record and publicly discuss the importance of fashion weeks. Although some have suggested that these events are a waste of time and should be cancelled, others still continue to extol the benefits by stating that these shows remain an informal rite of passage within the industry. Not having showcased on any fashion week or at a solo event depicts the brand in an unfavourable light.

This prompted me to look further into the matter. Was I just being cynical and thinking in a one-sided manner when it came to these events? Fashion showcases, were after all, started several decades ago as a way for designers to impress their clientele. It was a way for the artisan to demonstrate his or her craft; in a way they were (and remain) art shows.

Within Pakistan, putting my own scepticism aside, fashion shows remain a way for designers to present their designs. Moreover, they provide job opportunities for several models.

One important aspect that I did not think about before writing this piece was the televising of these events. Sure, designers can ditch shows for social media and just put up insta stories of their latest collections and save a whole bunch of hassle, but in a country like Pakistan the reach that the television can offer is far more than Instagram.

Although I still maintain that brands need to re-evaluate their priorities in this economy and really continue harnessing the power of digital media as they have recently, perhaps my initial outright dismissal of fashion shows was misplaced. Over the course of the past fortnight, writing this piece led me to discussions (sadly off-record) that confirmed to me that there is still a need for fashion shows. Fashion is art and I would be remiss if I didn’t think so – and art sometimes needs to be displayed for the sake of it.

For better or for worse, fashion shows are here to stay. I will continue to form a more definitive opinion on this as I speak to more people during the upcoming weeks. However, for now I can safely say the argument in favour of fashion shows is as strong as its counterpart.

I am quite curious as to what you think. Is this just my millennial cynicism? Are fashion shows a remnant of the lifestyle sector’s past or art that must continue at all costs? Do reach out to us with your thoughts.

Good Times


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