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  • Writer's pictureRachel

INDUSTRY INSPO Cool Or Creepy? GCDS Releases Virtual Out Of This World Collection For SS21

This year has definitely challenged many designers to rethink the traditional fashion show format, and Italian designer, Giuliano Calza of GCDS, was no different. A luxe martian landscape is the setting for the release of his Spring/Summer 2021 collection, completely foregoing the conventional physical fashion show in favour of a brave new virtual world.

Not only is it a new setting, one which took 8 months to create, the models themselves are also noticeably different from the norm. The garments hanging on their virtual bodies are relatively realistic, and move with the similar weight and physics of fabric in the corporeal. But the glassy doll-like skin textures and fantastical physical proportions of the forms strutting down the runway stirred a slew of questions.

Apprehensions included the prevalence of body image expectations and the impact of the male gaze, with the likenesses of public figures in this virtual world even questioned about their level of truth to reality. Despite the incorporated “cute and happy” likenesses of celebrities, models, and even a Carebear cameo, it was the vacant stares and forced moments of interaction between the virtual audience members that really left the human side of traditional fashion shows highly desired.

The intersection of technology and fashion is not a new phenomenon, only one exacerbated by the times we currently live in. However, the new terrain of virtual worlds in connection with the fashion industry brings up a whole host of issues, mostly pointed out by the fashion show’s viewers in the comments left on social media. Concerns ranged from the unhealthy portrayal of bodies, body proportions taken to extreme standards, the hyper-sexualisation of the virtual female models, issues about the ownership of likenesses, and the intermingling of the fashion industry with the technology industry’s “toxic bro-culture”.

Arguably, the concept of the digital fashion show is intriguing. It has the possibility to be another creative mode to interact with consumers and the industry at large, one with relatively unlimited potential. However along with that unlimited potential, it’s equally clear that even in a virtual world, designers and brands should and will be held accountable for the ways in which they delineate their messages on real bodies and the real ways that people interact with fashion.

Images Sourced from GCDS Instagram: @gcdswear

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