🤩 zoom, but make it fashion

a call to garms

You are cordially invited to this week’s brew of High Tea, your dispatch of 🔥 internet culture served piping hot. This week: the fashion industry plays catch up, Tribute has us lusting after pixels, and Dixie pulls a Chanel number on us. 

Drink up 🐸☕ 

what we’ve been sipping on

The fashion fiends among us were positively quaking in their Chanel boots after Condé Nast’s matriarch (and Miranda Priestly doppelgänger, iykyk) Anna Wintour, announced mid quarantine: “COVID-19 has been catastrophic for the fashion industry”. Now pals, it’s little wonder. We’ve had multiple lockdowns; consumers are avoiding brick and mortar retail in their droves and our previously robust supply-chains have been thwarted by factory closures; something had to give. Post AW’s announcement we all said a few Hail Marys, permanently swapped out our Louboutins for Lululemons, and mentally prepared for our new life in spandex. 

And yet, as we all wept into our fashion bibles, our 👑 provided us a glimmer of hope:

“And I think it’s an opportunity for everybody to slow down, produce less, and really make the world fall in love with the creativity and passion of fashion…And maybe have a little bit less of an emphasis on things moving so quickly and an emphasis always on what’s new.” – Anna Wintour

Oh Anna! We whole-heartedly agree. Lest we forget, luxury fashion is yet to have its shake-up, having largely shied away from technology (for years). It’s now no question that the latter was coming for the fashion industry; in a *big* way. With the tipping point in our sights (and with our qween’s blessing), we dive into some of the best quarantine collabs we’ve seen this year – TL;DR it’s all been Gucci 👌 (and a whole heap of Balmain). 

Zoom? For Fall? Groundbreaking.

If you’ve ever found yourself at a Fashion Week catwalk show, you know the drill. The front-row is reserved for fashion royalty and you spend half as much time eyeing-up the runway collection as you do the other A-listers on the opposite side of the catwalk. Fashion shows are notorious hotbeds for the industry’s elite to come together and scowl at each other from across the room, but as performances go, they are quite honestly some of the most impressive and incredible spectacles to behold

COVID-19 really threw a stiletto in the works. This year, Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Max Mara, Versace, Gucci and more cancelled their respective SS shows citing travel restrictions and wanting to prioritize the health of its guests and employees. Some designers, however, rose to the challenge. 

While Simon Porte Jacquemus opted to continue to show his SS21 collection in a wheat field outside of Paris (has to be seen to be believed 🌽), and Jeremy Scott showcased Moschino’s collection as a haute couture puppet show, others fully embraced their virtual side. We cannot go any further without mentioning our High Tea favorite, Olivier Rousteing. A fashion pioneer, who only recently opened up his own virtual showroom in Paris, pulled on his technology team once again to create ––wait for this–– his very own digital front row. 

No matter the distance thank you to be there 🖤
October 1, 2020

Yes, that’s right pals. Zoom, the very software that has been powering our school, work and social lives, has now spilled over into fashion. Who would have thought we would see the day when Jennifer Lopez, Megan Thee Stallion, and Kris Jenner filled out the “front row,” alongside models Cara Delevingne, Alessandro Ambrosio, Natalia Vodianova, and Milla Jovovich dialling in from the comfort of their own homes? Make no mistake, those who dare win and Olivier is certainly gaining favor among the fashion elite for his creativity and determination to continue with the status quo, even if that means sprinkling a little of his virtual zest on the die-hard, legacy fashionistas. Read the Zoom room, amirite? Rousteing also made sure the world had access to the show by not only livestreaming on Balmain’s website, but also on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and even... LinkedIn, bruh. 

they tried to put me on the cover of Vogue, but my legs were too long 

But what would Fashion Week be without a bridge between product and audience? Well, that’s where High Tea’s favorite influencers come in, of course. Decidedly more IRL that VR, our class of 2020 ~bright young things~ have been churning out #content #ad at safe distance for the entirety of the SS21 season. TikTok, as always, is one step ahead – making its house a home for brand campaigns and the creators that facilitate them, most notably with #TikTokFashionMonth, currently sitting at 2.8B views. 

TikTok hashtags for TikTok Fashion Month, Louis Vuitton SS21 and BOSS Spring 21

See, Zs hate nothing more than overt marketing from brands at the forefront of consumerism, who poke their beaks into places as revered as TikTok and its sacred landscape for self expression of an entire generation on the precipice of adulthood. So, where’s the room to manoeuvre just-in-time for virtual fashion week? Enter: Emma Chamberlain.  

Emma Chamberlain for Louis Vuitton SS21

Emma in the high fashion space ain’t nothing new; a long-time collaborator with Louis Vuitton since her debut in Paris for FW19 in March last year, of which she said: “I’m being sent [to Paris] by Louis Vuitton...this sounds like it’s a joke”. 12.7M views on her OG LV Paris vlog don’t lie and earned her repeat invites to their shows in October ‘19 (4.6M) and March ‘20 (4M views) which, you guessed it, meant more content to devour for her hyper-engaged fanbase and viewership. Because, is there anything more perfect than the inaccessibility of haute couture paired with the queen of relatable self deprecation herself? No, next question. 

These EC x LV collabs paved the way for the aspirational BTS format, as the fashion world has been forced to move into increasingly digital and virtual formats this year, not to mention – carving out space for the new kids on the block, quite literally. Next on Louis Vuitton’s hit list was Avani Gregg (27.2M TikTok followers), founding member of the Hype House and one of nineteen recipients in the first round of TikTok’s Creator Fund. Among a sea of branded TikToks from the official LV account using #LVSS21 (66.7M views) as their anchor, with few touchpoints for Zs to engage with and share their content, Avani’s curated insider view (captured in 16 seconds, no less), gives the fashion house a much-needed touch of Chamberlain intimacy and authenticity. TL;DR a *thoughtful* TikTok paints a thousand words. 

Next up: it wouldn’t be a 🐸☕ dispatch without a nod to the D’Amelio sisters. After Charli’s Prada collab shook the influencer world back in March, just weeks after her ‘ok boomer’ Super Bowl commercial sent TikTok tongues wagging, now it’s all eyes on Dixie D’Amelio (40.4M TikTok followers) for Chanel, with 24M views on Dixie’s TikTok collab and almost 3M views (in 3 days) on her access all areas GRWM vlog. Once again, the method to the madness comes with the soundtrack (since the audio is the message on TikTok, but you already knew that), using a Lizzo x Chanel mashup which – though not viral – has been used in 2k+ videos and feels familiar to the hypebeast demo, even when interacting with new content for the first time. As we like to say, it pays to pay attention. 

Of course, once the D’Amelios are on board, all’s fair in love and (influencer) war when it comes to securing the creator economy bag. Incoming: Addison Rae for Miu Miu (where she’s seen facetiming Karlie Kloss, of previous Emma PFW vlogs), Bryanboy (971k) for *deep breath* BOSS, Prada, Valentino, Dior and Louis Vuitton, playing his trademark disapproving and unimpressed alter ego. Finally, we have to give a nod to the veteran of the intersection between influencer + fashion: Brittany Xavier (3.1M TikTok followers), who leaned into the TikTok zeitgeist so much with her content around virtual shows, we’re practically left horizontal watching them.  

“No sex, no size, no shipping, no waste” 

Digital fashion is also on the rise. As y’all know we’ve been spending our hard earned $$$ for years in video games (with Fortnite making an estimated $2.4B last year, the majority of which came from selling its in-game skins) however, it has struggled to leave the confines of its virtual game world existence, until now. Get excited friends, this is exactly what the doctor (and Anna) ordered. 

As Instagram and the real world become increasingly interchangeable; it’s time for a digital fashion takeover. Enter Tribute, the digital fashion house based in Croatia that has been dressing fashion fiends such as Nicola Formichetti in digital clothing, which – as you might’ve already guessed – lives exclusively online. 

💚Ready for CHROMATICA 💚 CGI outfit by @tribute_brand ( custom CWETEK top , pant and phone case ) 💚
May 27, 2020

By focusing on pixels and not fabrics, the team is not only zero waste but also is producing creations that couldn’t possibly exist on planet earth due to the laws of physics. The definition of other-worldly: 

x @papermagazine / @healingisneeded wearing contactless&cyber BALA dress, full article available on www.papermag.com
June 22, 2020

So how does it work? After you’ve browsed the goods, as per any other shopping experience (peep the ‘sold out’ below, lol), the team gets to work. 

Before you hit ‘Checkout’ they ask buyers to “upload images of yourself via Dropbox or Google Drive”. Tribute then expertly marries the garment to your photo in a process that currently takes between 3-5 hours (although they are looking to fully automate this process in the future), et voilà!

@tiffanygodoypresents wearing contactless&cyber ZEZY shirt
August 26, 2020

With brands such as Tribute and The Fabricant leading the charge on digital fashion and creativity 2.0, we are excited for the industry to follow suit. Who knows, maybe a 🐸☕️ capsule collection? 

Ok you made it. Time flies 😉 when you’re having fun – a reminder to VOTE VOTE VOTE! 


Alice & Faye