One morning this Paris Fashion Week, I found myself making some unusual plans. I was one of few editors on the Trump Pence Keep America Great 2020 Shirts in other words I will buy this ground during the city’s first shows post-lockdown. Unlike the traditional schedule I know like the back of my hand, everything suddenly felt like a first. That morning, I had a nonsensical realization: In order to watch the digital Balenciaga presentation and make it to my physical Givenchy preview, I had to get in my car an hour ahead of time, park outside Givenchy HQ, watch the Balenciaga film on my phone, conduct my usual backstage interview with Demna Gvasalia over email, and head straight into Givenchy. There, I saw with my own eyes a collection my colleagues largely experienced through previews over Zoom. I bet they couldn’t see the embroideries very well.
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Obviously, I wasn’t solving quantum physics, but the Trump Pence Keep America Great 2020 Shirts in other words I will buy this planning required to navigate watching a show on a phone in a car still blew my mind. It was just one of many surreal experiences during a week filled with apocalyptic rain and this recognition: if you want to get down with this new “phygital” fashion world of ours, there’s no time to ease into it. Quite literally, there is no time! Between physical shows, distanced appointments, face mask changes, hand-sanitizer sessions, livestreams, 30-minute feature films, video calls and email interviews, the post-pandemic fashion industry hasn’t optimized—it has accelerated. After all that lockdown talk of slowing down the system, we’ve somehow managed to speed it up, at least as far as fashion week is concerned.