Shanghai Fashion Week, which typically takes place after Paris Fashion Week in March, has officially been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. The organisation made the official announcement yesterday via the Chinese social media platform WeChat. CNN reports the death toll in mainland China has surpassed 1,000 as of February 11.
“We hope that everyone will stay vigilant and pay attention to the government’s advice,” wrote Lv Xiaolei, Shanghai Fashion Week’s vice secretary-general. “The organisation will focus on keeping up trade, communicating with all parties, and finding a solution to the situation.” According to Dazed, China Fashion Week, which starts on March 25 in Beijing and is China’s other major fashion event, has not declared whether it will postpone or cancel its event. Art Basel Hong Kong, another major cultural event in China that was meant to take place in March, was also canceled in light of the epidemic.
It’s not just Fashion Weeks that have been affected by Chinese prevention policies. Last week, designer A Sai Ta of ASAI, which is produced in Shanghai, announced that he was canceling his London Fashion Week fall ‘20 show because of manufacturing delays due to facility lock-downs. All over the country, quarantines, shut-downs, and closures have deeply impacted local and international business.
China is considered to be the world’s largest luxury market. Many Western fashion brands have hosted fashion shows there to directly sell to consumers, including Valentino, Prada, and Dior in 2019. According to Dazed, Burberry is still planning to hold its fall ‘20 show in Shanghai this April, following its regular runway show during the upcoming London Fashion Week.
Business of Fashion reported that on February 7, Burberry stated that the virus’ impact on sales was larger than Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, with visits to its Chinese stores down by 80 percent. The outlet further reported that brands like Coach, Michael Kors, Canada Goose, Estée Lauder, and others are already preparing themselves for a steep decline in Chinese sales.