Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
China Daily Global / 2020-04 / 24 / Page015

Fashion week makes history by going digital

By He Qi | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-04-24 00:00

The first installment of the biannual Shanghai Fashion Week this year was undeterred by the ongoing pandemic, shifting all its shows online through a collaboration with e-commerce giant Alibaba in a move that has drawn plaudits, He Qi reports in Shanghai.

When the Shanghai Fashion Week decided to move all its shows online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local brand Le Fame found itself in unfamiliar waters.

Founded in 2015, the brand was already in the midst of preparing for the runway debut of its 2020 autumn/winter collection. Having to make the shift from the physical realm to the digital one left the team perplexed.

"Finding a site that works and producing special effects through technologies with a tight deadline looming overhead led to many uncertainties. We were all stressed out," says Su Yawei, co-founder of Le Fame.

"It was the first time for everyone on the team to be involved in a project like this. There was no way we could rehearse in advance and we could only depend on our imagination."

On March 26, after two weeks of preparation, Le Fame completed its first "cloud launching" fashion show which was themed around retro aesthetics reminiscent of 1960s Shanghai.

Following the 30-minute fashion show was a three-hour livestream that drew 200,000 viewers. The livestream featured segments where an anchor introduced the brand and the new collection and well-known fashion bloggers discussed such topics as aesthetics, fashion concepts and their thoughts on brands like Le Fame that feature traditional Chinese elements.

"Brands have different purposes for online shows. We are not positioned to drive sales but rather to promote the concept of our brand so as to link online with offline, in turn boosting the brand's development," Su says.

"I've also found that livestreaming can forge a closer connection with customers."

This year, SHFW teamed up with Alibaba's online marketplace Tmall to showcase its latest autumn/winter collections online. Over 20 brands broadcast their runway shows on the platform every day from March 24 to 30. This initiative meant that SHFW is the first fashion week in the world to be completely held in the digital realm.

According to data released by Tmall, the opening show of the online fashion week received 2.5 million clicks in three hours and 4 million views in total. In addition, the brands involved in the fashion week raked in more than 500 million yuan ($70 million) in combined earnings.

"This biannual fashion show takes a long time to prepare. It would be a painful choice to cancel it," says Lyu Xiaolei, vice-secretary-general of the Shanghai Fashion Week's organizing committee.

According to Lyu, deciding on the "cloud launching" approach was not easy either as the committee had to garner the support of all involved parties as well as execute the plan within less than a month.

"It is a special way of presenting fashion during this special period. We hope that the designers can try different ways of launching and selling their creations through such an approach. 'Cloud launching' also signals a new direction in the future development of Shanghai Fashion Week," Lyu says.

Driven by such popular livestream hosts as Li Jiaqi and Viya, Taobao Live-Alibaba's livestreaming channel-has become an important platform for companies to showcase their goods.

According to a report released by iiMedia Research, the number of active professional livestream hosts and contracted livestreaming institutions on Taobao Live have been growing rapidly, with more than 400 livestreaming channels selling over 1 million goods a month.

Furthermore, more than half of Taobao users have experience with livestreaming and more than 90 percent of users would buy products recommended during livestreams. All these factors laid the foundation for the decision to take the fashion week online, according to iiMedia Research.

Online catwalks, live shows and online shopping are the three most important components of the online fashion week, according to the Shanghai Fashion Week's organizing committee. Audiences can understand the latest trends and directly place orders during livestreaming sessions when popular fashion bloggers discuss different clothing styles and the various features of products.

"Previously, only a limited number of people could get tickets to the fashion week. Buyers, media and audiences from around the world had to fly to Shanghai for the event. But the online show breaks the limitation of time and region, covering a larger population and providing higher exposure," Lyu says.

"This fashion week has provided a more direct communication platform between designers and consumers," says Liu Xinxia from LABELHOOD, a platform aimed at connecting the young generation of China with the world through fashion culture.

But having such a direct communication platform will also bring about new challenges. For instance, Lyu says that consumers can directly ask vendors questions through an online medium and it would be the onus of the latter to deal with such queries promptly and professionally.

Lyu adds businesses must also devise ways to retain the interest of their viewers as there are many alternative livestream channels they can choose from.

Among those who praised the initiative to bring the fashion week online was Imran Amed, founder of media company Business of Fashion.

"The impact of the epidemic is not limited to certain countries, but it has inevitably disturbed the world," he says.

"We all need to find a way to succeed, so we are very excited about the new experiment that was going on in Shanghai and believe that we can all learn from it."

Liu says: "This is an innovation from a global point of view. We recommend new designers to integrate with the new business environment in China."

Models present Le Fame's new collection that was launched online during the 2020 autumn/winter Shanghai Fashion Week on March 26. CHINA DAILY

Su Yawei (left), co-founder of Le Fame, prepares for the online launch of his brand's collection. CHINA DAILY

Most Viewed

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349