A front-row seat at fashion week has suddenly lost its allure.
As people around the world are all too familiar with in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has turned standing far apart from each other from a bit of a faux pas to a necessity. Social distancing has transcended nearly every way of life this year, including the traditionally packed-in industry tradition known as fashion week.
For decades, people have flocked to New York, Milan, Paris and London in honor of the bi-annual event and to participate in the shows in a variety of ways. For some, like designers, models and press, it’s an esteemed industry job. For others with a coveted ticket in to sit and watch, it’s the most stylish of spectator sports. And, for those stars with a front-row seat, well, it’s basically a championship ring—an elusive supreme status symbol in the fashion world.
Much like a time capsule, the front row is a snapshot of the fashion world at any given time and a cheat sheet to the sartorial muses and standout stars of the season. But, amid the pandemic, the exclusive front row as fashionistas have known it for decades is no more…at least for now.
With physical restrictions strictly in place this year in New York City, indoor spectators have been banned and in-person shows are at an extreme minimum on the New York Fashion Week schedule, having been replaced mostly by digital activations. To boot, the pandemic has served as that final push for some designers to forsake the fashion calendar entirely, rethink the current high-pressure structure and set their own order and schedule for how to release their work.