Amidst the growing number of victims befallen to the Coronavirus which began in late January in Wuhan City in the Hubei Province of China, global industries are feeling the impact in tandem. Among these is the fashion industry. The effects have been most evident during this season’s A/W20 shows across the fashion capitals. Rather than their usual vantage point on the FROW, top fashion buyers, editors and luxury consumers in China were forced to stream the shows in isolation following grounded flights to and from China’s major airports.
The epidemic also led to the cancellation of a number of runway shows during Milan Fashion Week, including Armani where instead the show was filmed in an empty theatre and uploaded onto the brand’s website and social-media platforms for fear of “exposing guests to any dangers to their health,” said a company spokesperson.
Victoria Beckham spoke of the situation after she presented her A/W20 collection at London Fashion Week, explaining to CNBC, “China is a big market for us and it has affected business.” Chinese consumers account for 38 per cent of the global fashion industry, per BBC News.
Chanel’s restaging of its Métiers d’Art show in Beijing originally scheduled for May has now been put on hold with no new date revealed yet, while Prada’s upcoming Resort 2021 show planned for May in Japan has also been postponed.
Historically, China has always been a large-scale producer of cotton, fabrics and silk, with factories generating pieces for high-street brands like Marks & Spencer all the way through to luxury designers such as Tory Burch. High-end goods groups have put contingency plans in place, closing stores and offices in China and clamping down on staff. Now, retailers can see new collections delayed by months. “Companies suggest factories remaining closed may start to impact stock availability,” says UBS analyst Olivia Townsend.
Historically, the industry has quickly bounced back from similar situations, and it was business as usual in Paris with runway shows going ahead as planned and the fashion caravan showing its resilience.
Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock.
From Harper's BAZAAR Arabia March 2020 Issue.