From Milan to Paris, Chinese designers desert the runways
Feb 13, 2020
After the postponement of Chinese shows and fashion weeks, due to the coronavirus outbreak, China's designers are the latest to forfeit. A number of designers, who are mostly based in Europe and featured on the London and Paris calendars, won’t be able to present their collections at the upcoming fashion weeks.
For the upcoming fashion week in Milan taking place between February 18 and 24, three Chinese brands have announced that they were unable to complete their collections in time, due to delays in shipments that were caused by the country’s current coronavirus epidemic.
In Paris, several labels have had to drop out of the runway and presentation calendar, including Masha Ma, Shiatzy Chen, Uma Wang, Jarel Zhan, Calvin Luo and Maison Mai. “They are not in a position where they could present their collections at the next Paris Fashion Week,” indicated the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, who will “make its entire communication network available to them during this period, in order to share the work that they so dearly wanted to present, both in France and abroad.”
In light of this cancelation, Shiatzy Chen’s CEO Harry Wang commented, in a release: “We believe that this is the most appropriate course of action, after much reflection on the subject."
The Italian fashion's governing body, Camera della Moda, wanted to show its solidarity with China. Its "China we are with you" campaign will launch on Tuesday, February 18, devoting an event to the country on Milan’s opening night.
Throughout the week, it will also broadcast multiple video exchanges between the two countries, providing the Chinese industry professionals who stayed at home with the possibility of seeing certain runway shows live.
For this campaign, eight emerging brands have been selected to present their work at the Fashion Hub Market, a space dedicated to young designers. They include Xun Ruo, Leaf Xia, Han Wen, Pinhui Zhao, Emma Sweet, Zijue, Dot Minute and Shengyi Liu, who have been selected by Chic, the Chinese retail giant using its Chinese-Italian platform Fashion Town. Han Wen, based in New York, will even present a runway show.
It will also be possible to see a few Chinese labels in Paris. Notably the label Dawei created by Dawei Sun, who attended both the Beaux-Arts and the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Sun is based in both Beijing and Paris, and has shown on the French runway since last year.
“The studio is based in Beijing and resumed work on Monday. They are currently advancing on the fall-winter 2020/21 collection, which will be revealed on February 25, in Paris. We’ve had to change our work schedule a bit and have also revisited our initial plan for the collection. But there have been no major changes,” Dawei commented.
“Beijing is much further north than Wuhan or Shanghai. That’s why we haven’t felt the impact of the epidemic as much. Production will be affected of course, since factories have only been reopened with a reduced staff,” Dawei concluded. The brand By Fang has also confirmed that it would be presenting its collection with a showroom.
But beyond Chinese designers, fashion representatives from China will also turn up in significantly lower numbers. “Two Chinese exhibitors and one from Hong Kong will show at Tranoi,” said Boris Provost, the head of the Parisian salon taking place from February 28 and March 2.
“They’ll be present because they aren’t concerned. However, we already know that we will have fewer Chinese visitors. We have around 200 Chinese buyers, of which some haven’t returned home since the January shows. Others will simply not be able to come and large accounts will need to send reduced teams,” continued Provost.
Kering, whose brands include Gucci, Balenciaga, and Saint Laurent, will be seen on the Milan and Paris runways. The group is, however, expecting a 30-40% drop in attendance. Visitors coming from Asia will probably not be able to attend the shows due to the implementation of pandemic-related travel bans.
The expected drop in attendance will be of even greater strategic importance, considering that the Chinese are the leading luxury consumers in the world. To make up for this absence, the sector is putting together digital solutions as a fallback, so that they can still present their collections to Asian players and partners.
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