SHANGHAI — Despite a two-month delay due to Shanghai’s prolonged COVID-19 lockdown measures, 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 Shanghai Fashion Week’s second foray into online exhibition to promote local talent to the general public and build trust. from the market.
Featuring 36 fashion brands including Shuting Qiu, Shushu/Tong, Feng Chen Wang and Private Policy, the three-day online event was streamed live on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, for the first time.
The festival featured a plethora of content, including fashion films, behind-the-scenes stories, fashion commentary and virtual reality. showcases. Viewers can also tune in through a number of social media platforms including WeChat, Bilibili, Sina Weibo, YouTube and Instagram.
About two million Douyin users tuned in to the three-day online showcase. The hashtag “digital Shanghai Fashion Week” had registered 66 million impressions as of Monday, the short video platform revealed.
“This will be a chance to inject new energy into the industry,” said Xiaolei LV, deputy secretary general of the Shanghai Fashion Week organizing body, the Shanghai Fashion Week Organizing Committee. “Even in the face of challenges, Shanghai Fashion Week can move forward.”
“While the timing is not perfect, this is the first time we have encouraged designers to showcase their collections entirely through digital media,” said Tasha Liu, founder of fashion retailer and emerging talent support program Labelhood, which is part of Shanghai Fashion Official calendar of the week.
“Going forward, these digital creatives partnering with designers will be very inspired and viewers will be more eager to connect with brands,” he added.
Antwerp-educated, Shanghai-based designer Shuting Qiu opened the event with a fashion film inspired by feminist artist Florine Stettheimer. She produced her video in Hangzhou when she left Shanghai in May.
“I think we’ve gone a lot further in sustainability since the epidemic,” Qiu said. “For example, the reuse of dead fabric has increased by about 20%, including the use of eco-skin and eco-leather. We also started to pay more attention to cooperation with local artisans.”
Shushu/Tong presented a fashion film that was produced days after Shanghai eased lockdown measures. The collection was inspired by forbidden love and featured floral fabrics in soft palettes.
“Even though we couldn’t host a physical fashion show, I think it’s still important to present it in some way or form, to tell the story of this collection in its entirety,” said Liushu Lei, half of the design duo behind Shushu/Tong.
Menswear designer Feng Chen Wang took the opportunity to launch her bespoke collection. In collaboration with virtual reality startup Inert Plan, the brand created eight virtual looks that showcased the brand’s real-life savoir-faire.
“Originally planned to release this collection in March, we were blessed that the project was pushed back to June, this gave us more time to refine the details of the visual presentation,” said the designer.
“Our lockdown challenges were a little different than most designers, we had to work on our Spring 2023 collection remotely so we could get to Paris Fashion Week next week,” he added.
Double Fable, MTG, Ting Gong and Ao Yes are some of the brands that debut this season.
After studying art and design in the Netherlands, Gong returned to China to launch her first womenswear collection inspired by sustainable imported textiles and life on the road. Her fashion show concluded in Xiamen after leaving Shanghai recently.
“The brand concept will continue to evolve, but I want to make adjustments so I don’t have to follow the seasons too much, with a more edited collection,” said Gong. “As we have not taken showroom orders this season, I want to host an independent showroom when I return to Shanghai.”
Ao Yes co-founder Austin Wang began prep work for the genderless brand with his partner Yansong Liu in October last year. They aimed to make an impact during the April edition of Shanghai Fashion Week.
The brand ended up participating in Ontimeshow’s Roomroom Showroom, but Wang said that “as a new brand, it’s more important to deliver the brand image than to sell.”
Ao Yes rushed after the lockdown to produce a video featuring the brand’s vision of modern oriental design, with a visual collage of urban China through the ages.
For Hangzhou-based B1ock concept store buyer Jiajun Wang, the digital fashion week can “help designers gain online exposure” and “have more ways to interact with consumers, fashion enthusiasts and allow them to participate and interact.” .
For example, Douyin launched a hashtag competition 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 a digital fashion week. “I don’t know if a digital fashion week can make up for lost time. In the end, I think neither hardworking designers nor curious buyers are getting much out of it,” said Qiu.
“As for ordering online, my feeling is that there hasn’t been much effective communication between designers, showrooms and Shanghai Fashion Week,” he added.
In survival mode, many Shanghai showrooms have plans to host offline showrooms in other major cities. For example, Not Showroom is set to showcase the brands’ Spring 2023 pre-collection in Hangzhou, while Showroom Shanghai, Ontimeshow and Tube Showroom are also looking for options outside of Shanghai to host showroom events.
“This allows more brands and buyers outside of Shanghai to connect,” said Wang of B1ock.
Both buyers believe that as the market passes through a phase of sobriety, the recovery will be gradual. “The epidemic has made buyers more cautious about the market outlook, budgets have been cut,” added B1ock’s Wang.
Clap’s Qiu believes that the entire designer fashion market will go through a correction phase.
“With the economic downturn, many designer boutiques are in a state of frogs boiling in lukewarm water,” he said.
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