Shanghai Fashion Week to go ahead online as virus disrupts events

FILE PHOTO: Creations from the Shanghai Tang Autumn/Winter 2018 women collection are seen during Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shanghai Fashion Week, initially postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, will go ahead as scheduled online in a tie-up with Alibaba Group's BABA.N Tmall marketplace, its organizers said.

The event, which last October hosted eight couture shows in its Spring/Summer season, was among numerous trade and business events in Asia that announced changes to their dates this month due to the coronavirus.

The recent Fashion Weeks in London, Milan and Paris have been hit by the absence of many Chinese attendees.

However, the Shanghai Fashion Week committee said on Thursday in a statement on their official WeChat account the event will go ahead as planned between March 24-30. It told Reuters that people can participate by watching livestreams.

It said it was currently accepting applications from brands and expects that more than 100 Chinese designers and brands will eventually display their 2020 Autumn/Winter designs and also use livestreaming to market their Spring/Summer products.

“We hope this new form will allow designers to try different ways to display their design and different channels to market and sell,” the vice secretary of Shanghai Fashion Week Committee, Lu Xiaolei, told industry publication Business of Fashion.

Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace has cooperated closely with emerging Chinese designers and commercial brands in past years. Last year, a collection of Chinese brands showcased their products at New York, Milan and Paris’ Fashion Week events via China Cool, a project initiated by Tmall.

Selling through livestreaming, which sees telegenic and chatty hosts market products to consumers on e-commerce platforms, has surged in popularity among Chinese consumers in recent years. Besides Alibaba, JD.O and Pinduoduo PDD.O also have livestreaming offerings.

Reporting by Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong