VIRTUAL REALITY: With the majority of international buyers unable to travel to Paris, it’s not just fashion’s biggest runway brands going phy-gital.
To help the emerging designers it supports through its incubation program continue to connect with buyers during these troubled times, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, French fashion’s governing body, has created an online showroom in addition to its physical Sphere outpost at the Palais de Tokyo.
“We could have decided not to host a physical showroom, but the brands really wanted to offer a real-life experience,” explained Pascal Morand, executive president of the federation. The showroom, held with the support of Le Defi and L’Oréal Paris, is expected to welcome buyers from France and certain neighboring countries as well as Paris-based buying offices.
Nine labels, eight of which are on the official calendar, are participating in Sphere this session, which runs until Oct. 4 in its physical iteration. They are: Blue Marble, Boramy Viguier, Boyarovskaya, EgonLab, Germanier, Kenneth Ize, Mansour Martin, Mossi and Thebe Magugu.
The online showcase has been developed in partnership with business-to-business sales platform Le New Black, and is accessible on that platform or via the federations’s web site. Buyers can hold online appointments with designers or sales teams in the physical showroom at the same time as viewing their online look books, for example.
In addition, there is a partnership with Zedonk, a provider of enterprise resource planning software specially designed for the fashion industry to help manage aspects like invoicing, logistics, production and inventory.
“It’s a coherent, complete package to accompany brands,” Morand told WWD of the initiative. “It’s not just about a virtual showroom, it’s the articulation, in both the physical and digital realms, of creation, communication, sales and organization. That’s the real subject.”