In 2022, renowned US model Bella Hadid was the final model to walk the runway for the Parisian fashion brand Coperni, sans outerwear. The brand showcased its 2023 spring and summer collection during Paris Fashion Weeks. The outfit was created on Hadid, live on stage in view of the audience.
An unidentified white substance, resembling spray paint, was first applied to her skin. Coperni’s chief designer, Charlotte Raymond, then transformed the white surface into a simple dress made from nonwoven fabric. This revolutionary sprayable fabric was developed by a Spanish designer and fabric technologist, under the French fashion brand named after the Renaissance genius, Nicolaus Copernicus.
As anticipated, the event was extensively shared online, going viral on platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok. Despite fashion always seeking drama, in the past, only the live audience was privy to the show’s excitement. However, the attention garnered by Coperni’s latest fashion show highlights the immense influence of social media in the attention economy.
Even though most brands still adhere to traditional fashion show choreography, with models walking from one end of the stage to the other, some brands are exploring bold new ways to capture the attention of the global fashion community. This is particularly true for emerging brands seeking to gain international recognition, such as those featured at Copenhagen Fashion Weeks.
Copenhagen Fashion Week, founded in 2006, is the largest fashion event in the Nordic countries. The biannual event, held in January/February and August, showcases the next season’s fall/winter and spring/summer collections respectively. The event also supports budding designers through its New Talent program, offering mentoring, financial aid, and a place in the fashion week program for three seasons.
Copenhagen Fashion Week also strives to be recognized as a sustainable fashion event, launching an ambitious “holistic” responsibility strategy in 2020. This strategy encompasses responsible material requirements and various cultural diversity-related requirements. Finnish fashion brand Marimekko chose Copenhagen Fashion Week to host its new collection, citing the event’s strict responsibility strategy as a key factor.
Interestingly, despite its sustainability efforts, Copenhagen Fashion Week is better known online for its remarkable shows. For instance, in August 2023, the head designer of the Latimmier brand opened and closed his fashion show as his drag character, Anna Konda.
Simultaneously, the Danish brand (Di)vision hosted a fashion show in a restaurant-like setting. The show included a woman dressed in a salmon colored outfit dragging a tablecloth with dishes attached to her skirt. The unusual event was widely shared online.
Canadian-born designer Paolina Russo also held a memorable show on a large circular stage, with models carrying large bunches of balloons. The models performed various antics, including falling and tumbling, which were later shared on TikTok as the “weirdest fashion show ever.”
However, the question arises – do brands truly benefit from their online popularity? According to Launchmetrics, a website that measures media visibility, Coperni’s media impact value (MIV) was estimated at around $26.3 million (€24.3 million) 48 hours after the show, with about $20.9 million generated from social media popularity.
While viral trends are typically short-lived, their primary goal is to spread quickly and broadly. This demand for speed often exacerbates production pressures, posing a potential challenge to responsible development. Fashion has always been fast-paced with changing trends, but with brands chasing viral phenomena, the fashion industry seems to have become instantaneous.