Shanghai Fashion Week 2018 Spring/Summer is currently offering a swath of fashion and a bolt of vitality all across the city. More than 100 catwalk shows, collection presentations, industry forums and related exhibitions are being staged, taking the seasonal event to an all new level.
Since its inception in 2003, the biannual Shanghai Fashion Week held in the Spring and Autumn has adhered to the multiple release pattern of "standing on both local and international vision" and the unique position of "emphasizing both creative design and commercial operation."
For the past 15 years, Shanghai Fashion Week has built up an ecosystem of fashion collection showcases, trade businesses and related events, proving itself as an essential platform for both Chinese and international brands.
"The event has transformed from a simple distribution platform into a lively showcase targeting both pioneer designer groups and established fashion brands," said Zhu Yong, deputy director and secretary general of Shanghai Fashion Week Organizing Committee at the Fashionlosophy Forum.
While Xintiandi Hall continues to offer a wide range of high-profile shows from domestic and international original fashion designers as a highlight of the week, more vibrant events and release platforms have also been created in recent years to enrich the experience.
For example, Labelhood-Pioneer Fashion & Art Festival is an independent platform and fashion incubator for avant-garde Asian designers. Unlike a traditional fashion showcase that features only catwalks or static displays, Labelhood combines music, videos and installations to bring every detail of its new collections closer to the audience.
Crossover collaboration is another characteristic of Shanghai Fashion Week. Under the theme of "boundless," this season works to narrow the gap between the catwalk and average consumers with a number of events open to a nonprofessional audience.
The Shanghai Fashion Weekend, which will return for the second season from Friday to Sunday at Shanghai Postal Museum, will kick off a fascinating weekend with immersive runways, interactive exhibitions and music performances.
Driving local consumption
Trade shows are another highlight of the fashion week. Due to the increasing number of "buyers" in China, more and more high-profile clothes have entered the closets of average consumers.
With an aim to attract the biggest seasonal orders in Asia, Mode Shanghai Fashion Trade Show has gathered 1,200 apparel and lifestyle brands from 30 countries and regions this season. The event takes up an area of 30,000 square meters, a 40 percent increase from last season.
According to a survey released by UnionPay Advisors in April, the portion of professional buyers attending the Mode show has also soared, from just 16 percent in 2015 to 58 percent in 2017. The number of boutique stores has increased from 1600 in 2015 to 3700 in 2017 nationwide, an astonishing 130 percent growth.
Zhou Lan, division chief for the Department of Market System of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, -believes that from a business perspective, Shanghai Fashion Week is driving consumption upgrade.
"With the increasing number of boutiques, the format of future business will change from supermarkets and department stores to more franchised stores and collective stores of multi-brands, which is also the contribution of fashion week to business reform," Zhou said at the Fashionlosophy Forum.
She also believes that Shanghai Fashion Week is a good driver for the upgrading and transformation of the industry as "a bridge between design and brand building."
With the rising awareness of Shanghai's fashion week, more Chinese designers are becoming known and sought after in overseas markets.
At the same time, designers of international brands are also actively pursuing the Chinese market, which has created a greater opportunity - and greater challenges - for both the Chinese and international fashion industries.
In March, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Chinese fashion/lifestyle/entertainment management company Suntchi announced a five-year partnership to help one another tap into their respective markets.
Such successful bilateral cooperation has made it possible for more Western designs and brands to enter the Chinese market.
Founded in 1962, the CFDA is a nonprofit organization with a membership of 500 designers. During the Fashionlosophy Forum, both parties -co-announced a plan to launch China Day at New York Fashion Week: Men's to help more outstanding Chinese brands -appear on international fashion platforms.