SHANGHAI – Despite a two-month delay due to extended isolation measures due to COVID-19 in Shanghai, Shanghai Fashion Week managed to launch online last Friday.
Shanghai Fashion Week was one of the first fashion weeks to go digital in March 2020, two years later, this is the second appearance of Shanghai Fashion Week in an online show to promote local talent to the general public and increase market confidence.
Including 36 fashion brands, including Shuting Qiu, Shushu / Tong, Feng Chen Wang and Private Policy, the three-day online event was broadcast live for the first time on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
The festival featured a wealth of content, including fashion films, behind-the-scenes stories, fashion commentary and virtual reality showcases. Viewers can also get involved through a range of social media platforms, including WeChat, Bilibili, Sina Weibo, YouTube and Instagram.
About two million Douyin users joined the three-day online presentation. The hashtag “Digital Fashion Week in Shanghai” has recorded 66 million impressions since Monday, the short video platform revealed.
“This will be an opportunity to bring new energy to the industry,” said Xiaolei LV, Deputy Secretary General of the Shanghai Fashion Week Organizing Committee of the Shanghai Fashion Week Organizing Committee. “Even in the face of challenges, Shanghai Fashion Week can thrive.”
“While the timing isn’t perfect, this is the first time we’ve encouraged designers to showcase their collections fully through digital media,” said Tasha Liu, founder of fashion retailer and new talent support program Labelhood, part of Shanghai Fashion Official Calendar Week.
“In the future, these digital creatives who are in partnership with designers will be greatly inspired, and viewers will be more eager to connect with brands,” she added.
Shutting Qiu-based designer, based in Shanghai-based Antwerp, opened the event with a dream fashion film inspired by feminist artist Florine Stettheimer. She produced her video in Hangzhou when she left Shanghai in May.
“I think we have gone much further in sustainability than the epidemic, ”Qiu said. “For example, the reuse of raw fabric has increased by about 20 percent, including the use of eco fur and eco leather. We have started to pay more attention to cooperation with local craftsmen. “
Shushu / Tong showed a fashion film shot a few days after Shanghai eased its isolation measures. The collection drew inspiration from forbidden love and featured floral fabrics in muted palettes.
“While we couldn’t host a physical fashion show, I think it’s still important to present ourselves in some way or in form, to tell the story of this collection in full,” said Liushu Lei, half of the designer duo behind Shushu / Tong.
Menswear designer Feng Chen Wang took the opportunity to launch her custom collection. In collaboration with virtual reality startup Inert Plan, the brand created eight virtual layouts that represented the real life of the brand.
“Originally planned to launch this collection in March, we were blessed that the project was moved to June, which gave us more time to perfect the details of the visual presentation,” said the designer.
“Our closure challenges were a little different from most designers, we had to work remotely on our collection for spring 2023 so we could arrive at Paris Fashion Week next week,” she added.
Double Fable, MTG, Ting Gong and Ao Yes are some of the brands that debuted this season.
After studying art and design in the Netherlands, Gong returned to China to launch her first collection of women’s clothing inspired by imported sustainable textiles and life on the road. Her fashion presentation ended in Xiamen after she recently left Shanghai.
“The brand concept will evolve, but I want to make adjustments so that I don’t have to follow the seasons too much, with a more organized collection,” Gong said. “Since we have not made any orders from the showroom this season, I want to host an independent showroom when I return to Shanghai.”
Ao Yes co-founder Austin Wang began preparations for a genderless brand with his partner Yansong Liu in October last year. They aimed to create a sensation during the April edition of Shanghai Fashion Week.
The brand eventually participated in Ontimeshow’s Roomroom Showroom, but Wang said “as a new brand, it’s more important to deliver a brand image than to sell”.
Ao Yes hurried after the isolation to make a video in which the brand shows modern oriental design, with a visual collage of urban China through all times.
For Hiazhou B1ock Jiajun Wang concept store buyer, Digital Fashion Week can “help designers gain online exposure” and “have more resources to interact with consumers, fashion enthusiasts and enable them to participate and communicate.”
For example, Douyin launched a hashtag contest called “Styling the Fashion Week” that invited influencers and users to create content on the platform.
But Chengdu Clap fashion boutique buyer Jony Qiu is critical of the effectiveness of Digital Fashion Week. “I don’t know if digital fashion week can make up for lost time. In the end, I don’t think either hard-working designers or curious buyers get much out of this, ”Qiu said.
“When it comes to making online orders, I feel that there has not been much effective communication between designers, showrooms and Shanghai Fashion Week,” he added.
In survival mode, many salons in Shanghai have plans to maintain off-line showrooms in other major cities. For example, Not Showroom should present a pre-collection of brands for spring 2023 in Hangzhou, while Showroom Shanghai, Ontimeshow and Tube Showroom are also looking for options outside of Shanghai to host events in the showroom.
“This gives more brands and customers outside of Shanghai to connect,” said Wang of B1ock.
Both buyers believe that as the market goes through a sobering phase, the recovery will be gradual. “The epidemic has made customers more cautious in terms of market prospects, budgets have been reduced,” added Wang of B1ock.
Clap’s Qiu believes the entire designer fashion market will go through a correction phase.
“With the economic downturn, many designer boutiques are in a state of boiling frogs in hot water,” he said.
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