Retail in Asia

In Trends

Shanghai Fashion Week goes digital


Shanghai Fashion Week (SHFW), one of the industry’s most anticipated events of the year, pioneered a new approach with Tmall to engage its global audience in an intimate viewing experience.

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Leveraging Alibaba’s technologies, the weeklong show is the first-ever fashion week event to host its entire roster of runway shows online and go fully digital. All shows are exclusively livestreamed in China on Tmall, China’s premier B2C marketplace, and Taobao Live, Alibaba’s dedicated livestreaming channel, from 24th to 30th March.

More than 150 brands and designers from around the world, from international brands like Diane von Furstenberg to rising Chinese independent designers such as Shushu/Tong and Angel Chen, showcase their latest autumn-winter collections via the Alibaba Group digital platforms.

COVID-19 has forced the cancellation and rescheduling of many global fashion events, including the Milan Fashion Week originally scheduled for February. To support independent designers and brands, Alibaba is offering a full suite of digital solutions to ensure SHFW can go on without skipping a beat.

“We have integrated some of Alibaba’s most-advanced technologies to bring a new and elevated experience to consumers,” said Mike Hu, general manager of Tmall Fashion and FMCG.

“This partnership with SHFW allows us to leverage our experience in digitizing brick-and-mortar retail stores and explore a new format for brand and product launches, bringing together technologies like livestreaming, short-form videos, DingTalk and Tmall Flagship Store 2.0 in a full-chain solution,” he added.

These technologies, more than just a lifeline and an innovative way for brands and designers to survive in this challenging environment, can be vital tools to help the industry engage with tech-savvy customers and fans in a new, digital era and to be more agile and more quickly respond to other unforeseen circumstances.

The “cloud launch” format this year also broaden out the reach and appeal of traditional product-launch events. Instead of a press conference, brands interact with consumers virtually across an extended timeline and physical locations, from warm-up previews to the live broadcast and post-event interviews. Designers can share their creative ideas with an audience of potentially thousands or millions instead of just a few hundred.

Another major focus for Tmall at this year’s fashion weeks is crossovers, especially those merging beauty with fashion, said Hu. The platform plans to team up with global brands to launch 360-degree marketing campaigns that cater to Chinese audiences, he added.

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Moreover, unlike traditional fashion events, watchers of this year SHFW can immediately purchase the items they see on the runway. The “See Now Buy Now” format allows consumers to buy the articles on the spot without having to wait for the collections to hit the shelves.