Cover Derek Chan (Photo: Supplied), Claudia Shaw (Photo: Amanda Kho)

Claudia Shaw, head of style advisory for Chanel Asia-Pacific, goes head-to-head with Derek Chan, founder and designer of Hong Kong-based menswear brand Demo, in this month’s great debate

Are Digital Fashion Shows Any Substitute for Physical Fashion Shows?

Derek Chan: YES

“Social media is part of our everyday lives. The audience for fashion shows has grown from just a specific group of fashionistas to people from all over the world. Today, as long as you have a smart device, you can enjoy a runway show, regardless of where you are. Nowadays, a show’s audience is mainly online anyway, as physical show venues are limited in capacity. Digital shows are now being developed to look realistic too, thanks to advancements in technology. Since they are virtual, ideas that cannot be executed in real life can now be digitally presented, pushing the creative boundaries even further. Designers can bring a whole new show experience to their audiences, turning dreams into (virtual) reality. Technology is also lowering the cost and constraints of building a fashion show. Digital shows could replace physical shows in the near future.”

Claudia Shaw: NO

"There’s a palpable energy at physical fashion shows that digital shows can never replicate. It goes beyond the spectacle that represents the fashion show— the dramatic sets, the lights, the music, the models—and embraces the creativity that is the essence of fashion itself. In person, you are swept into the highly charged atmosphere. You get caught up in the rustle of the fabrics as the models strut along the runway. You hear the gasps of amazement when an exceptional piece of clothing is presented, and you sense and respond to the vibe of the models, who bring the clothes to life. That’s the advantage physical fashion shows have: they’re three-dimensional. The shows are something you have to experience instead of merely watch.”

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