Much ink has been spilled about the future of fashion week and the pros and cons of digital runway shows. But what about the other events that take place every season, like parties, galas, and awards shows? The Green Carpet Fashion Awards are usually a highlight of Milan Fashion Week in September, and in keeping with the city’s “phygital” plans for spring 2021, it’s being reimagined as a digital experience on October 10th.
This won’t be your standard livestream or film. Livia Firth, the founder of Eco-Age, which works in partnership with the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana on the GCFA, says most of the night’s “guests” will in fact be holograms. The show is incorporating augmented reality, digital effects, and a proper film, too. Giorgio Testi is directing, and the project is being produced by Pulse Productions, with designs from NorthHouse and holograms by AHRT Media. “We were looking at everything that was happening online with digital fashion weeks and concerts this summer, but it almost felt like the Middle Ages in terms of what you can do with technology,” Firth says. “We wanted to approach it in a different way.”
Their ambitious approach mirrors the dramatic changes that need to happen in the fashion industry, from materials innovations to improved wholesale models that reduce waste. Earlier this week, Firth was at La Scala filming on a green screen; she said it will be transformed into “a magical portal into a new era,” encouraging viewers to step into the future—one where fashion is more equitable, sustainable, and human—and leave our old habits behind. The GCFA is asking celebrities and fashion figures to discuss these topics on the “digital green carpet,” too, an online version of the event’s glamorous red carpet. The digital carpet will exist as a permanent website launching two weeks before the awards, with stories about designers, manufacturers, and people who prioritise sustainability. The night of the event, celebrities will “appear” on the carpet in their own look and will share a glimpse into their wardrobes, pulling out their favourite pieces and their memories of wearing them.
Everyone will have access to those videos and resources, which opens the GCFA to a truly global audience, as opposed to the celebrities and editors who usually attend IRL. “I think it is a great opportunity to bring people all over the world closer to the values that this award represents,” Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera Moda, tells Vogue. “For the last few months at CNMI, we have developed and produced different projects to digitally bring fashion week around the world to all fashion lovers and to people working in the industry. I believe that the digitalisation of these events has been fundamental in these months, and I consider it to be a great success. I’m sure that the digital edition of the Green Carpet Fashion Awards will prove equally successful and will include new and wider audiences.”
As for the awards themselves, Firth explained there will be five prizes covering subjects like diversity, social justice, and the people who work behind the scenes to create fashion’s “handprint,” like tailors, cobblers, and seamstresses. Firth believes fashion is moving towards a new chapter where those people are celebrated and clothing is once again valued for its quality and craftsmanship. “When you shift the focus away from what you’re wearing to the story behind it, and you talk about the people who made it, suddenly it isn’t just about the glamour and superficiality,” Firth says. “That’s the narrative and the ‘handprint’ of fashion. I also think we’re about to see a resurgence of independent designers. In the last few years, there was a huge polarisation between luxury and fast fashion, and there’s a wealth of artisanal brands and independent designers [in between] who have so much to say about what fashion should be. I’m hoping that people pay more attention to them now.”
The Green Carpet Fashion Awards will be broadcast across Europe on Sky on October 10th, with a world premiere planned for the same day at Shanghai Fashion Week in partnership with APAX Group. You’ll also be able to watch it on YouTube and other U.S. channels.