A preview of Wang's spring 2021 collection. She will be showing the full collection at the upcoming Shanghai Fashion Week.

LONDON — After presenting the world’s first purely digital fashion week in partnership with Tmall last March, Shanghai Fashion Week is leading another first — making a full physical comeback with more than 90 shows running from Oct. 8 to 18.

Xiaolei Lv, vice secretary-general of the Shanghai Fashion Week committee, said the goal of reverting to physical showcases is to boost the confidence of the local industry and help the market to recover from COVID-19 disruptions.

“Compared with past seasons, the pace of Shanghai Fashion Week’s subsequent development will slow down and gradually become more stable, focusing on the enhancement and enrichment of the connotation for each sector,” she added.

A preview of Yueqi Qi's spring 2021 collection. She will be showing the full collection at the upcoming Shanghai Fashion Week.

A preview of Yueqi Qi’s spring 2021 collection. She will be showing the full collection at the upcoming Shanghai Fashion Week.  Courtesy

On the runway, emerging Chinese talents with global recognition such as Shushu/Tong, Yuhan Wang, Angel Chen, 8on8 and Yueqi Qi will present their spring 2021 collections alongside local standouts including Lily, Mukzin, Le Fame, Hazzys, Urban Revivo and Cabbeen at the official Taiping Lake Park venue near Xintiandi, and shopping complex One East for those who are showing with Labelhood, a Shanghai-based emerging designer support platform, community and fashion retailer.

SFW will continue its digital collaborations with Tmall, and re-brand the online showcase as a part of the Tmall Fashion Festival.

Other highlights this season include Israeli designer Galia Lahav’s China debut, and Uma Wang’s first collaboration with China’s well-known underwear-maker Threegun, which was founded in 1937. Wang said she has designed around 30 looks for the brand, with the idea that underwear shouldn’t only be worn underneath clothes. She studied the brand’s archive and used Threegun’s innovative breathable fabric made from wormwood in the capsule.

A preview of Uma Wang x Threegun capsule.

A preview of Uma Wang x Threegun capsule.  Courtesy

All models will be street cast, with no fancy makeup. Wang wants to showcase Chinese women’s true beauty and confidence. “This collaboration is not just about creating atmosphere and aesthetics, but also about bringing something comfortable and casual, with quality and style. I pay a lot of attention to detail in our designs, whether it’s intimate lingerie, straps or dresses, I want to convey values and ideas about the female body and inner strength,” she added.

Sustainability is another key focus SFW is pushing this season. The SFW committee is gathering textile suppliers including Dupont, Lenzing, Tencel, Luckywool and Esquel Group to showcase their latest sustainable material in “Ulio Space, a material utopia exhibition.” Lv hopes this can inspire and encourage Chinese brands and designers to integrate them into their designs.

“We’ve been talking about sustainability for a long time, and with Ulio Space, we are turning it into reality. The goal of making such an exhibition is to evoke the designers’ imagination of materials that can be used in a good way in the next season’s design, and eventually be worn by people on the street,” Lv said.

Shaway Yeh hosting a panel discussion with Wendy Yu and Caroline Rush at Shan Future Forum during Shanghai Fashion Week.

Shaway Yeh hosting a panel discussion with Wendy Yu and Caroline Rush at Shan Future Forum during Shanghai Fashion Week in 2019.  Courtesy Photo

Shaway Yeh, China’s leading sustainability advocate, editor and curator, will continue her Sham Future Forum online from Oct. 13 to 15 with speakers such as Marco Bizzarri, chief executive officer of Gucci; Helena Helmersson, ceo of H&M; Stuart Mccullough, ceo of The Woolmark Co., and Eva Kruse, founder of Global Fashion Agenda, and designers Heron Preston, Feng Chen Wang, Richard Malone and Sankuanz. The speakers will discuss topics including the value of design, digitalization, the circular economy, and the new frontier of fashion and biological technology.

“We bring in voices in the frontier of bio-design, regenerative agriculture and marine ecology, as inspiration to rebuild the broken fashion system through restoring our relationship with nature. We also document independent designers seeking solution through sustainability and diversity,” Yeh said.

The trade show business during Shanghai Fashion Week will be back in full force, too. Italy’s IGFD Group will join the official trade show lineup of Ontimeshow, Shanghai Showroom, Nova by DFO, Not Showroom and Tube Showroom with Modalink, which focuses on bringing international brands to China.

Ontimeshow, the largest one among them, said it is expecting more than 15,000 visitors to check out 250 brands such as Deepmoss, Qiuhao, Haizhen Wang and Ricostru at the West Bund Art Center venue, opposite to Centre Pompidou Shanghai.

It is also hosting a two-day forum focusing on sustainable fashion with sustainable production and consumption consulting firm Greenext, and partnering with the digital wholesale platform Joor to bring the trade show online.

Looks from Shuting Qiu spring 2021 collection.

Looks from Shuting Qiu spring 2021 collection.  Courtesy

Brands worth checking out in the showrooms include Samuel Guì Yang, Penultimate and Shie Lyu, a ITS International Talent Support finalist and H&M Design Award 2019 semifinalist from the New School’s Parsons School of Design at Not showroom, and LVMH Prize-shortlisted designer Caroline Hu and Shuting Qiu at Tube showroom.

While Shanghai Fashion Week is not expecting any international press to attend the shows in person, global retailers are pressing ahead with their local events.

Harrods will bring its exclusive experience with “The Harrods Studio” concept to Shanghai’s Middle House once again from Oct. 14 to 16. There will be three purpose-built studios for streaming events with influencers and industry experts across China on Harrods WeChat and Weibo.

Michael Ward, the retailer’s managing director, said the event “will provide a Harrods home to some of the most innovative content-makers and creators, who will be developing exciting content across our channels over three days of Shanghai Fashion Week.”

“I look forward to personally welcoming our guests to The Harrods Studio, where we will be breaking down the important topics in the industry today, as well as discussing more about Harrods’ exciting plans in China over the months ahead,” he added.

Farfetch, meanwhile, is launching a Browns pop up, offering a mix of Chinese and international emerging brands near SFW’s Xintiandi venue.

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