In light of COVID-19, Shanghai Fashion Week postponed its biannual event. It eventually pivoted online and launched a consumer-facing cloud fashion week in conjunction with Alibaba’s ecommerce platform, Tmall. Over the last decade, Shanghai has been growing its reputation in China and across Asia. In recent years, it has cemented its position as a vital base for the country’s host of emerging, independent designers and has become a crucial landmark on the global fashion week calendar.
This was an ambitious and frankly brave undertaking for the organizing committee; however, it was a necessity. The transition online means that brands won’t miss out on this season and companies will continue to advance their digital prowess. Livestreaming formats at the cloud fashion week are both experimental and commercial: brands on China’s Labelhood platform are producing content based on creative storytelling, such as styling while other wholesale online streams are focused on commercial sales. Brands who already have a strong online following will naturally fare better. Local heroes Babyghost had 3,000 views only a few hours after going live [sales figures yet to be released] so this is a move that has likely paid off.
For some in China, however, the event was a loss of ritual as digital shows quickly switched over following a two or three minute slot. In addition, the cloud is largely only accessible within China’s own ecosystem leaving international audiences missing out; this is a valuable marketing and branding opportunity loss for the event especially given the potential audience reach worldwide. Finally, though, in light of a general weariness of the current fashion week system setup and its associated carbon footprint, this online make-over can be viewed as an opportunity for fashion councils and designers to rethink how they operate. Shanghai has taken the lead in this new lane.
The Jing Take reports on a leading piece of news while presenting our editorial team’s analysis of its key implications for the luxury industry. In this recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debates that sprout up on Chinese social media.