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This Year's Fashion Week Will Be Available To Everyone, Online

By Mar 23, 2020 Business
Shanghai Fashion Week is mostly an invite-only event, open only to the chic, connected and good-looking. The rest of us have to hover around the periphery, peeking around the hoarding or snapping photos of models and designers as they come and go from the tent in Xintiandi. The regularly scheduled Autumn Winter 2020 shows held at Xintiandi and other arty locales around the city were cancelled due to epidemic, but have been brought back as digital live streaming events starting tomorrow. That means this year, Shanghai Fashion Week is open to the masses.

Shanghai Fashion Week will have a portal of a runway tent, accessible to anyone with a Taobao account. Instead of presenting their wares on the catwalk, fashion labels will stream their shows through Tmall stores like Shanghai brand collective Labelhood. It's kind of like TV home shopping, or the influencer method, where KOL hosts push consumers to purchase directly through ecommerce portals.

Fiona Lau, creative director at Ffixxed Studios, is open to the digital format. This season the Shanghai-based independent brand will host a virtual showroom for stockists consisting of video call appointments, a livestream with Labelhood that includes a three-minute creative video and 15 minutes of zhi bo streaming. Next month, they might also do a physical showroom. “Maybe doing physical is out of date,” Lau said. “Maybe it's good enough to do video, or close up pictures.”

Lau counts Ffixxed as lucky. Their earlier schedule saw them finish their garments in early winter. Other brands are going into this online Fashion Week with unfinished garments, since COVID-19 halted production after Chinese New Year.

The virus’s economic impact will be felt industry wide as brick and mortar shops in second, third and fourth-tier cities place fewer orders due to overall decrease in demand, according to Lau. But she adds, an online Fashion Week could help the situation by increasing brand awareness and driving public interest that will increase sell through in stores. Fashion Week going public could actually end up buoying the industry.

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Shanghai Fashion Week will be streamed online via their portal from March 24-30.

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