TOKYO — After canceling the March installation of Tokyo Fashion Week due to the COVID-19 outbreak, organizers are gearing up for a new incarnation of the event, which will include a combination of physical and digital shows, as well as a variety of safety measures.
The spring 2021 season of Tokyo Fashion Week is set to run from Oct. 12 through 17. It’s the 31st season of the event, and will feature 35 brands on the official calendar, down from 42 a year ago. Of those, 24 have opted for an online presentation of their collections, and just 11 will stage in-person shows. Due to travel restrictions and other reasons, the majority of shows by international designers will be presented digitally.
New participants this season will include the brand Ryunshu, which has until now presented its collections in Paris, and a collaboration online show by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned jewelry brand Fred and Edison Chen and Kevin Poon’s label Clot.
For physical shows, organizers have mandated that brands follow a variety of health and safety measures, including the enforcement of mask-wearing, temperature checks, and limiting attendees to only half of each venue’s stated capacity. But unlike fashion weeks in cities such as New York, none of the shows are expected to be held outdoors.
Travel bans stemming from the coronavirus pandemic have shaken up fashion weeks around the world and limited the ability of designers to show outside their country of residence. In the case of Tokyo, this means that some homegrown favorites are showing locally for the first time. Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons held shows for its men’s labels Shirt and Homme Plus in its Tokyo offices in late July, and is expected to stage a women’s show next month.
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten signed on as the headlining sponsor of Tokyo Fashion Week starting with the spring 2020 season a year ago, but the pandemic has resulted in a lower profile for the event than usual. When the March installment was canceled, Rakuten worked to sell collections from brands that had intended to participate in an online pop-up store. The fall season of the e-commerce shop went live on Aug. 19. For spring, fashion week organizers will also offer brands participation in a business-to-business and wholesale marketplace on the Joor platform.