Shanghai Fashion Week (SFW) was postponed with the Pearl of the Orient under lockdown for roughly two months (March 13-ish to June 1-ish) as China continues its zero-COVID strategy. But nobody puts this fashion dahling in the corner and SFW went on to host its digital edition from June 17 to 19, celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Themed “The Future of Constructors,” the three-day Digital Fashion Week featured new creations by 36 designers slash brands for their AW22 creative bonanzas, with fashion shows and behind-the-scenes content livestreamed on, for example, Douyin, China’s TikTok.
SFW first launched its partnership with Douyin in 2021, tapping into the country’s tech ecosystem, including social media, to reach potential consumers.
The Future of Constructors garnered 85+ million views across a wide range of digital platforms.
Let’s Get Digital
Visitors could search for the “Shanghai Fashion Week” (“上海时装周” in Chinese) tag on Douyin or follow the SFW official accounts on WeChat, Weibo, Bilibili, YouTube, and Instagram to keep up to date with the week’s latest fabric flows.
The LABELHOOD designer incubator, a long-term SFW partner, teamed up with sportswear pillar Nike to invite top celebrities like national basketball player Yang Shuyu, skateboarding champion Pan Jiajie, and hip-hop dancer Zhou Yuxiang to launch its opening show. “Funny” detail: in March 2021, Nike (and H&M and Adidas and…) faced serious backlash in China after the brand’s statements resurfaced expressing concern about the alleged use of Uyghur forced labor in cotton production. Sales took a plunge, many Chinese called for a boycott of the brand and celebrities abandoned their endorsement deals. Seems the kids are pretty much alright now, though.
Back to SFW 2022. Lulusmile, a women’s fashion brand inspired by illustration art, hosted a virtual fashion show with the world’s leading shared digital platform ROBOX. The brand also plans to offer customers a virtual shopping experience in the future.
Private Policy and Leaf Xia integrated some hot-to-trot VR into their digital showcases. The latter offered up a blast of colorific oversized garments with a showcase bringing whole new meaning to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Chinese designer Feng Chen Wang, whose designs were worn by the Olympic flagbearers during the Beijing 2022 opening ceremony — just FYI, joined hands with the metaverse innovation center InertPlan to stage a virtual show themed “Feng Chen Wang World.” Meanwhile, YES BY YESIR launched its first cross-dimensional fashion show starring virtual idol CHUAN.
CHUAN made its (yes, people, “its” – let’s not get carried away with the whole pronoun thing here) first public appearance on the Internet on September 3, 2021, and gained tens of thousands of followers on Chinese social platforms in under three days, becoming the metaverse’s first male model. CHUAN is a “trans-realistic and trans-dimensional Chinese man with ‘different’ eyes and a friendly, natural face whose job is to build a brand’s bridge between the metaverse and real life.” Just quoting Laneige, a Korean beauty brand employing “it.” Now you know.
YES BY YESIR at SFW 2022. Theme: The Office| Say no to slack off, say yes to future. Behold:
Wear Your Greens
On a green note, then. Chinese designers anno 2022 are keeping it real when it comes to incorporating sustainable practices, a feat once again proven by their most recent Shanghai fashion beats. Ming Ma for one transformed jacquard upholstery from furniture markets into corsets:
Ting Gong in turn created entire looks from the hundreds of leather scraps she’s collected over the years; the adorning hand-knotted nets were created by the local women of a fishing village in China’s southwestern Guangxi Province. Shuting Qiu repurposed materials from past seasons, using them in more than half of her AW22 collection. Qiu also extended her collab with a women’s craftsmanship collective from the city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province.
But even with this successful digital season, visible to aficionados and buyers worldwide at least, we dare say fashion is an innately palpable happening—tickling (at times “tackling”) all the senses. It’s about seeing pieces move, hearing the catwalk stomps shake up the room, and gauging audience approval rates. Persistence pays off, so…
Here’s to the SS23 physical season (?) and another 20 years!
FEATURED IMAGE: VIRTUAL MODEL CHUAN FOR YES BY YESIR. IMAGE COURTESY OF SFW 2022
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