LONDON — A host of Chinese designers, editors, buyers, celebrities and influencers won’t be coming to fall 2020 fashion weeks in the wake of travel restrictions imposed by the U.S., the U.K., Italy and France to prevent coronavirus from spreading.
Brands such as Angel Chen and Ricostru have canceled their fashion shows in Milan, while Asai in London, Uma Wang and Shiatzy Chen in Paris are still deciding whether to stage a show, as their Chinese factories are impacted by the Chinese government’s policy on halting work until Feb 10. What’s more their clients and media partners won’t be even there to see the new collections.
Wang said she would do a show if she manages to board a plane to Paris from Shanghai, and her team in Europe is showing her full support amid this difficult period.
Rico Manchit Au, the designer behind Ricostru, said she canceled because half of her employees won’t be able to get back to work on time due to China’s travel restrictions and city lockdowns. Her suppliers are facing the same dilemmas.
“I have not decided how to showcase my new collection yet. I will have to wait and see how the outbreak develop and we have been adjusting our planning for 2020. I have also made changes to productions,” Au added.
Kate Han of Mukzin managed to land in New York before the travel ban took effect. Her show in collaboration Chinese beer brand Harbin is scheduled for Feb. 6, and Haoran Li, cofounder of the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nominee Private Policy, said their show will go ahead as planned on Feb. 8.
Yuhan Wang, who is already in London, won’t be affected by the flight cancellation. She is set to open London Fashion Week with her solo show, having graduated out of the Fashion East group display.
Chinese fashion press and buyers have been canceling trips, too. The Chinese editions of Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and InStyle have partly or fully halted their fashion week travel, according to their editorial directors.
Chuxuan Feng, owner of Huasheng Media, the publisher of the Chinese editions of T Magazine, WSJ Magazine, Wallpaper* and Nylon, confirmed to WWD that his editors won’t be going to any fashion capitals due to travel restrictions and the virus outbreak.
The Chinese press offices of European luxury brands are also skipping the season, according to multiple sources. One Italian luxury brand’s in-house communication manager confirmed that no one from its mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong SAR press offices would be going to Milan. There might not even be a China press section at some shows.
It is unlikely Chinese celebrities will be making their usual airport fashion shoots and encounter screaming fans outside show venues. Many influencers have decided to sit out this season, but some like Declan Chan and Dipsy say they are committed to the schedule.
Buyers also face travel hurdles. Michael Mok, general merchandising manager at Joyce, said his team may need to travel earlier, or cancel their trips, but its buying session is still a work in progress.
Eric Young, owner of Le Monde De SHC in Shanghai, said he is also figuring out whether to go to Paris.
These absences could have a profound impact on luxury and fashion brands’ business in China, as many will be missing a key amplification moment to create buzz for the world’s largest luxury market.