PARIS — “This digitization was an enormous success for Paris. Data shows that not only is it the first fashion week, but it’s the [leading] digital one,” said Michael Jaïs, chief executive officer and founder of data research and insights company Launchmetrics. He was speaking on LinkedIn during a virtual debriefing on a year of digital fashion weeks with Pascal Morand, executive president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.

Between the men’s, women’s and haute couture weeks, Paris Fashion Week generated no less than 50 million digital posts, Jaïs said. “A physical fashion week counts around 50,000 people, so it’s as if each one had published 1,000 times,” he added.

In the company’s fall 2021 report, the French capital took the lion’s share of the fall 2021 media impact value, at $132 million, far ahead of Milan’s $93 million, New York’s $36 million and London’s $20 million. The performance was on par with the spring 2021 figures.

Creating for digital platforms rather than broadcasting classic runway formats was key to the success of these editions, Jaïs and Morand agreed. It was also an opportunity for “augmented creativity,” the latter said, noting that brands and designers had called upon a wide range of talents to bring their visions online.

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Where content is consumed has also shifted. Data revealed that brand-owned channels are growing in importance, taking a third of the audience across the board. Despite still representing the largest voice, media is losing footing to celebrity and influencer sources. The global media impact value of influencer-published content rose by 87 percent for women’s shows and 582 percent for men’s wear. Meanwhile celebrity voices gained 265 percent and 1,119 percent, respectively, in the same segments.

And yet, if the pandemic opened a whole new era for the way fashion is presented and marketed, intertwined with other deep shifts in terms of sustainability, new seasonal rhythms and changes between retail models, in-person events won’t disappear as “the desire for physical [events] is stronger than ever. But now the physical [component] will supplement digital, rather than the other way around. A community needs moments to meet,” Morand added.

“What digital fashion weeks and the pandemic have shown is that we can’t do without the physical component. In-person events will remain high points in this industry — and others. But they will be integrated into a better-optimized digital chain of processes,” Jaïs said.

But for him, there was one final frontier: “the ability to measure emotion on digital platforms,” he said.

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