Flexibility by the yard



Models walking along a red carpet outdoors, with the audience sitting on their left and right.

Those who have the courage to try something new must be prepared for the unknown: agility and flexibility are some of the basic qualities of pioneers. However, the coronavirus pandemic is putting even them to the test. The Laufmeter project, for example, has had to constantly adapt its business strategy over the past eight months, moving from big-audience fashion shows to an online shop. The story of the transformation in 13 images.


A camera team standing between two rows of models walking across a public space in front of an audience.

Photo: Michèle Büschi

Laufmeter has been bringing Swiss fashion designers out of their studios and into the public eye since 2013. The fashion shows for 2020 were already on track, the posters and programmes for three cities had been designed and the labels selected. Then the coronavirus arrived. Click here to continue the photo story:

Cutout of a paper carrier bag displaying the logo Laufmeter Modeschau uf Dr Gass

Graphic: Grégoire Bossy

Because of the pandemic, the paper bag for Laufmeter Zurich was never made. «We suddenly had to cancel all our events. That hurt. Fortunately, we were able to stop the printing just in time,» explains Project Manager Michaela von Siebenthal.

Models walking along a red carpet in a city centre with the audience standing on their left and right.

Photo: Sara Wasabi

Packed crowds at the 2019 fashion show in Bern. Something that is not possible in 2020. The cancellation of all its events appeared to jeopardise the unique Laufmeter concept.

Group photo of models dressed in black.

Photo: Angelika Annen

The Laufmeter team had to quickly adapt their strategy and shift the focus away from big-audience events to the online shop that had originally been planned for implementation much later.

Cutout of notes on a whiteboard. The words «Online Shop» are ringed in blue.

Photo: supplied

Over a year ago, the Migros Pioneer Fund had encouraged the project management team in workshops to not only expand the fashion shows but also set up an online store. Michaela wasn't particularly keen on the idea at the time...

Group photo of male and female models in black, grey and pink clothes.

Photo: Angelika Annen

...but she and the project team began setting up the shop nonetheless. The first photo shoot for the beta version of the online store took place in the autumn of last year.

A sign taped to the wall of a house with the words «Laufmeter Shoot».

Photo: Thomas Erb

«Looking back, it was a stroke of luck,» admitted Michaela. «It meant that we could build on what we had already prepared for the shop relatively quickly.» The second photo shoot for the web shop took place during the lockdown in May 2020, observing all the safeguards.

Collage of a group photo of male and female models.

Collage: Angelika Annen

The group picture is a collage of different images, as the models were only allowed into the studio individually and could not therefore be photographed as a group. «Necessity is the mother of invention after all,» said Michaela.

Screenshot of the Laufmeter web shop’s homepage.

Photo: supplied

Finally, everything was ready and the Laufmeter online shop was officially launched on Monday, 8 June 2020!

Video still showing twelve designers looking at the camera.

Videos: trinipix. Graphic: Grégoire Bossy

Laufmeter showcased its twelve labels via short video profiles under the heading «12 Labels, 1 Online Shop». All of the footage was shot via Zoom during the lockdown.

Desk with boxes, tape, scissors and pens.

Photo: Michaela von Siebenthal

The web shop has proved a resounding success and already notched up thousands of visits. Michaela and her team send out packages to customers every day.

Screenshot of a Zoom meeting of the Laufmeter team.

Photo: supplied

To ensure that they can continue doing this, they'll need to continue being inventive because the consistent use of the online-first strategy will bring constant change. This will span everything from collaborating with the labels and adapting the marketing strategy to the team's mindset.

Models walking along a red carpet outdoors, with the audience sitting on their left and right.

Photo: Anne-Camille Vaucher

It's still not clear whether there will be a fashion show next year. «The situation is changing daily. The only constant right now is that our team is currently concentrating on expanding the product range. Twenty-five Swiss labels are already represented in the online store,» said Michaela.

The coronavirus presents us all with completely new challenges. This is why the Migros Pioneer Fund accompanies the current pioneering projects individually and offers a helping hand for flexible solutions. In order to provide swift and unbureaucratic assistance for new concepts and ideas in the activity areas that the Migros Pioneer Fund supports, we have adapted our project scouting. For emergency aid and measures to secure livelihoods, we refer to the information points of the Swiss Confederation, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and the umbrella organisation swissfoundations.

The Laufmeter pioneering project

Through a combination of street fashion shows and an online store, «Laufmeter» is securing itself a firm place within the Swiss fashion industry in the public's mind. The highlight of the new range is clothes for any figure and size. The pioneering project enables a more conscious use of resources, even in wardrobes.


Logo laufmeter


Find out more about this Migros community involvement initiative - perhaps it's just what you're looking for?

Photo/stage: Anne-Camille Vaucher

Your opinion