Shanghai Fashion Week wrapped up last week. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, organizers brought the entire autumn-winter 2020 edition online, making it the world’s first fashion-week event at this scale to go fully digital.
More than 150 designers and brands live-streamed their collections from March 24-30 via Tmall, Alibaba Group’s ecommerce platform.
To enrich the viewing experience, some designers went on camera to share their inspirations with fans in real-time. In contrast, others made use of the event’s “See Now, Buy Now” format, which allows the audience to purchase catwalk items with their phones.
Opening showcases on the first day attracted 2.5 million views. By the end of the fashion week, the event’s streams had totaled over 11 million views and helped generate more than RMB20 million ($2.82 million) in gross merchandise volume.
In under two weeks, Pinko staged a “See Now, Buy Now” runway show, featuring 25 looks from its current collection against a virtual backdrop.
The garments were designed with confident and determined modern women in mind – those who were “ready to take life always by the horns, even in difficult times like these,” said Pietro Negra, CEO and founder of Pinko.
Pietro Negra, the CEO and founder of Pinko.
Negra said the brand would invest further in live-streaming to build higher interactions with consumers on Tmall. He noted, particularly in China, where young consumers are highly informed and digitized, brands need to step up efforts to win their attention and loyalty.
“For Pinko, Tmall is not only a sales channel but a vehicle for promotion and awareness,” Negra said.
The San Francisco-based company also tapped into first-hand feedback to inform future product innovation and customer experiences said Michelle Tang, who heads the China Growth division at Rothy’s.
“The health and safety of our community is our number one priority, and we’ve been thrilled to see more brands and events digitize and adapt to connect with consumers online,” she said about Shanghai Fashion Week’s decision to stream its showcases in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The purely digital event is also in line with Rothy’s brand ethos. It results in less waste and commuting while allowing more people to participate and potentially drive the industry towards more sustainable solutions, both online and offline, Tang said.
For emerging and indie designers, moving ahead with Shanghai Fashion Week not only offered them a platform to keep their business activities going during the outbreak but also gave them exposure to more than 800 million monthly active users who visit Alibaba’s ecommerce sites.
Meanwhile, Labelhood, a Shanghai-based fashion-designer incubator, rolled out a series of live-streams to promote young designers. Throughout the week, it also hosted “cloud after parties” featuring streamed performances of local musicians and DJs.
Babyghost co-founder Qiaoran Huang (right) talks to viewers in a live-stream session ahead of their showcase.
“Buyers in China’s fashion industry see Shanghai Fashion Week as an important destination to access new information about brands and forecast new trends. That is why we’ve never missed an opportunity to participate,” said Dido Liu, founder and creative director of the indie clothing brand Deepmoss.
Liu and her team had only used live-streaming once before, but they were eager to explore the new format for the event.
They also took the opportunity to show solidarity with those affected by the current health crisis, designing special-edition T-shirts with all proce from sales going to charity groups combating coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The traditional approach to runway shows can be restrictive. There are limits like the number of people who come watch the show, the marketing reach or which venues we could choose,” said Liu.
“This was a brand new possibility,” said Liu.
READ MORE: Alibaba Group Helps Chinese SMEs Deal With Economic Impact From Coronavirus Outbreak
If you like to talk about this story
Please head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay up to date with relevant news and business insights for your online business.