What Paris Fashion Week 2024 Says About the Current Digital Media Landscape

From The Row’s no phones policy to TikTokers sitting front row at fashion shows, Paris Fashion Week posed the question: to be online, or not to be?

Paris Fashion Week 2024 was grand on many scales: there were a record-breaking 108 shows, with collections boasting bold colours, shapes, textures and prints.

The week drew attention to the current state of the media industry, from highlighting trends in fashion to more complex questions about how the industry operates in the digital age.

Some themes, like Pantone’s 2024 colour of the year (Peach Fuzz!) popping up, are clear and direct reflections of current trends in fashion. Post fashion week, peachy neutrals have trickled down from the runways to rule the red carpet.

Others, like the ongoing trend of TikToker-heavy front rows, and the overwhelmingly online presence of major magazines filming coverage for their feeds (including Vogue), speak to deeper, more complicated themes running through the fashion, media and design industries at large.

TikToker and model Alina Timo spoke about this tension in a recent post, lamenting the loss of “cool” people attending fashion shows. In the video, she argues that the swarms of TikTokers and internet celebrities lining fashion show front rows detracts from their exclusivity, cool factor and overall vibe. She refers to a picture of Heath Ledger, saying that each of them had to “actually do something” in order to get invited.

What she means: each of these attendees had to create something (music, movies, art) and be respected in their industries in order to receive a coveted fashion show invitation. The flipside interpretation: TikTokers and content creators aren’t being vetted by the quality of their work, only the quantity of their followers, the virality of their content, and how many eyes they can pull to the shows . . . viewers watching online . . . on phones at home.

“I may as well stay at home and watch the shows from there,” Timo says – a valid point.

This all-access, digital pass to shows, granted through relentless TikTok coverage that you can watch while scrolling on your couch, was challenged by The Row’s Paris Fashion Week show.

The Row, run by the notoriously private Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (Ashley even managed to carry out a secret pregnancy and give birth without any coverage in 2023), released a statement prior to their show, banning cell phones.

As Photobook magazine wrote:

“Attendees were asked to refrain from sharing or capturing any content at the event. Instead, they were given Japanese pencils and notebooks to write their thoughts on the collection.  While there were no images of the collection on our screens, The Row was certainly on everyone’s lips.”

Banning cell phones, and subsequently, access to the show from your eyes at home, cultivated an air of mystery and exclusivity that the majority of fashion week shows lacked.

It was a smart marketing move, reaffirming The Row’s position as an elite luxury brand that not all can, or should, be able to access. Case in point: the collection was shot on film, and journalists didn’t get their hands on photos to review until a week after the show.

“Luxury thrives on rarity and exclusivity, the very antithesis of the highly democratized social media landscape,” Photobook Magazine argued.

But is this analog process viable in a highly digital world? For some luxury brands that operate at their own pace, with a devoted, ultra-wealthy clientele, perhaps. That being said, TikTok makes high fashion accessible to the masses, and like a tree falling in the forest, if art is created and no one is there to see it, did it even happen?

The question comes back to who gets to see the art (couture) presented at fashion week, and why. Maybe your favourite TikToker isn’t qualified to critique this season’s Chanel collection, and you didn’t get an invite to the show, but you can certainly crash the party and watch them try: all you have to do is scroll.

And if you’re looking to stop the scroll, ASA has you covered with our team of TikTok and Meta marketing experts. Looking to get in touch? We want to hear from you.


Q: Should cell phones be allowed at fashion shows?

A: Not necessarily. While The Row banning cell phones certainly makes a statement, it does set an unattainable standard for smaller designers with new collections who rely on widespread coverage and an internet presence to make their designs known.

Q: What does the future of fashion look like in the digital age?

A: Fashion is inherently tactile – but with digital/tech and the art world merging, like with Bella Hadid’s live-stitched runway dress moment, the future of fashion is bold and expansive.

Q: Has TikTok made fashion week less cool?

A: Yes – and no. While the elitism that once harkened a fashion week invitation is long gone, having the ability to create successful content and gain entryway to once exclusive events poses questions about the democratisation of fashion.