Fashion week to go online amid virus outbreak

Tan Weiyun
"It has taken less than a month from a proposal to substantial operation," Shanghai Fashion Week Committee said this week.
Tan Weiyun

Under the global gloom of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Shanghai Fashion Week will go online from March 24 to 30, announced the organizing committee early this week.

The epidemic that originated in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, has quickly swept from Asia to Europe over the past month. Some major fashion weeks have been canceled or ended abruptly in Milan and Seoul — two hard-hit places outside China.

Shanghai Fashion Week was initially postponed, but moved online with the cooperation of Alibaba Group, which owns the world’s largest online shopping marketplace.

“Its been a tough decision for us, but it has taken less than a month from a proposal to substantial operation,” Shanghai Fashion Week Committee said. “It’s a brand-new exploration for fashion designers and traders, also a water-test for the future of the industry.”

Big brands such as Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Moschino, Tod’s, Versace and MSGM have turned to the Internet to release their autumn/winter collections as coronavirus cases are being confirmed around the world.

Shanghai Fashion Week will take a different approach. It will be a seven-day online mega-show with more than 100 fashion houses displaying and selling their new collections in Tmall’s various livestream virtual shopping rooms, where viewers can get to know the latest trends for the coming season, interact with the hosts and directly place their orders.

It’s the first show that truly links the catwalk and commerce in a one-stop, all-around, immersive fashion experience for both designers, buyers and sellers. And the online version will generate massive online crowds with broad exposure.

According to a report from iiMedia Research, Taobao and Tmall are the biggest marketplace for livestreaming business with more than 20,000 hosts from the grassroots and to celebrities.

Among them, more than 400 virtual shopping rooms can achieve monthly sales of 400 million yuan (US$57 million) sales every month. Over 90 percent of viewers polled bought the promoted product.

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