Shanghai Fashion Week combines packed international runway with online innovation

Postponed for almost two weeks due to Covid-19, Shanghai Fashion Week kicked off on Tuesday, 6 April, opening nine days of physical runway shows, exhibitions, tradeshows and online events.

This season’s Shanghai Fashion Week features more than 100 runway shows – Photo: Shanghai Fashion Week

Originally scheduled for the end of March, the Fall/Winter 2021 event features more than 100 runway shows from both Chinese and international brands. The shows are focused at the fashion week’s Xintiandi main venue, where Shanghai’s own Mark Fairwhale opened proceedings on Tuesday evening.

The venue also saw supermodel Lv Yan’s Comme Moi and 2019 ANDAM Award finalist Dawei make their Shanghai debuts on Wednesday, while contemporary womenswear brand Mayali –  the winner of last October’s Award for Emerging Talent Presented by Visa – will be hosting its first runway show in Xintiandi on Tuesday, 13 April.

Outside of Xintiandi, Labelhood, Shanghai Fashion Week’s incubator for young talent, has taken over the Tank Shanghai exhibition space in the West Bund neighbourhood. Here the Youtopia incubation project is hosting shows from newcomers including Anno Mundi, Fivekoh, Momonary, Sorgenti and Toile.

Emerging Chinese designers including Angel Chen, Rui, Yuhan Wang and Private Policy, are also hitting the cultural hub throughout the week, alongside fashion week first-timers like Louis Shengtao Chen, VII Victor x Wang Fabric Porn and Dumpty.

In addition, over at the Jing An Kerry Center, the SIFS showcase project is bringing global fashion to Shanghai, with shows from Florentine label Ermanno Scervino, New York’s Jason Wu, and bridal brands Pronovias, Muse Marry and Nicole Milano.

And if that wasn’t enough, Dior is debuting its pre-fall collection at the Shanghai Long Museum, in West Bund, on Monday, 12 April.

In parallel with the runway action, this season’s Shanghai Fashion Week brings together an “integrated ecosystem” of industry-oriented platforms for the 13h edition of the Mode Shanghai Fashion Tradeshow. This April the tradeshow focuses on “exchanges and mutual promotion between all sides of the industry” as part of a collaborative atmosphere aiming to support the sector’s recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With this objective in mind, a number of other B2B events have been organized to take place at the same time as the fashion week, including the Fashion in Circulation exhibition and symposium, which seek to strengthen ties between fashion brands and the supply chain.

Having hosted the world’s first purely digital fashion week in collaboration with Alibaba Tmall in March of last year, Shanghai returned to physical shows in October. This season, alongside its packed calendar of physical events, Shanghai Fashion Week has also doubled down on its digital initiatives. Notably, it has launched Shanghai Fashion & Lifestyle Carnival, an online platform allowing brands to sell pieces from their latest collections directly to consumers.

Top Chinese live streamers Austin Li and Viya have also lent their expertise – and impressive follower counts – to the fashion week, with Li hosting a Labelhood livestream show on Tuesday, 6 April, and Viya participating in a See Now Buy Now event with designer platform ITIB.

Finally, Shanghai Fashion Week has announced that Xiao Xue, former publisher and editor-in-chief of Elle China, has been appointed for a three-year term as the event’s ambassador, a role in which she is expected to use her position as a “Chinese fashion and lifestyle opinion leader […] to witness the innovation and change from the new season.”

“Today’s Shanghai Fashion Week is far more than just a show, but also the best platform for China’s fashion industry”, said Xue in a release. “I believe that this platform will play a greater role in leading industrial development, supporting Chinese brands, and promoting sustainability and women power. It is also the best stage for international brands to showcase in China,” she concluded.

Shanghai Fashion Week runs from 6 to 14 April.