The Covid-19 epidemic has negatively impacted many different industries in China and around the world, but this is not really the case with fashion. In fact, the crisis has allowed a direct shift towards digital in China for the fashion industry. Shanghai Fall-Winter 2020 Fashion Week had to be canceled and finally took place entirely in live-streaming on the Chinese platform TMall, which was an unexpected success.
The Shanghai Fashion Week as a booming event
The notoriety of Shanghai Fashion Week is already booming, this digital edition has allowed the city of Shanghai to be a pioneer in this field, this event has met with great success. Like other editions, Fashion Week has allowed many independent designers to make themselves known and to increase their reputation in the country and internationally.
2.5 million users in 3 hours
The Fashion Week system is very complex and its cancellation immediately allowed to rethink its system. Using tools like SNBN or “See Now, Buy Now“, the technology allowed users to buy the designers’ creations from the show in a few clicks. Thus, more than 1,000 products from some 150 different designers were available and more than 2.5 million users were connected in 3 hours. The edition was, therefore, a great success which leads to the question of whether the next editions should follow this digital movement.
Digital as a new path for Fashion Weeks
The cancellation of the Fashion Week has caused huge financial losses worldwide for the Milan, Paris, or New York editions (as examples) and the epidemic has been the cradle of a whole new awareness for professionals in the sectors. The event is indeed particularly disastrous in terms of sustainability and a live-streaming edition allowed new trends to be known to the general public, as indicated by Mike Hu, head of the fashion and luxury department of TMall:
“For this edition of Shanghai Fashion Week, we have integrated some of Alibaba’s most advanced technological tools to bring a superior experience to our customers.” – Mike Hu
Thinking about a new way of operating events seems the logical next step, do we really need as many Fashion Weeks, generating a lot of waste and CO2 emissions? The simple fact of bringing thousands of people from all over the world by plane just for a few days seems incongruous. The digital option initiated by China appears then as the perfect solution. With some more time of preparation, a brand new online edition of the Fashion Week should be taken seriously internationally for the future.
The World is not ready for 100% digital but it surely help
Unfortunately, many countries are not ready to go 100% digital, especially in the luxury industry which involves storytelling, emotions, and exclusive dreamy effect. The Chinese market was the only one able to try the concept as a pioneer. The Shanghai edition having been prepared in a very short period of time, the opportunity to surf the digital trend could, however, push some avant-garde brands to join the movement.
If one thing is sure, is that we all need digital all the time; to use transport, to contact people, to eat, to relax, to learn… The Fashion Week case is the perfect example to illustrate the way digital is evolving to take more and more space in our lives. Digital is only at its beginning and every company from every industry should think about how to go digital to build their competitive advantage.