Shanghai Fashion Week Returns Despite Strict COVID-19 Restrictions

SHANGHAI — After being forced to go digital due to Shanghai’s two-month-long lockdown last season, Shanghai Fashion Week is returning with a physical edition.

From Thursday to Sept. 30, the spring 2023 edition of SFW will host more than 64 shows with a focus on local designers.

Chinese model Lu Yan’s contemporary label Comme Moi, seasoned local designer brands 8on8, Nume, Xu Zhi, Staffonly, Mayali and Garçon by Garçon will show at the official Taiping Lake Park venue near Xintiandi.

SFW will continue its partnership with Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, with livestream shows and postshow runway video releases.

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To celebrate its 20th anniversary, SFW will host a series of talks, including the China Fashion Industry Forum in partnership with McKinsey Co., and the SFW She Power: Fashion Women Forum II.

Some 12 showrooms and trade shows, including a smaller version of Mode, SFW’s official trade show, will continue as planned.

Labelhood, the Shanghai-based emerging designer support platform, will return to The Bund, taking up two historical buildings at Rock Bund, a shopping mall complex.

M Essential Noir, Annenono, Ao Yes, Un Morceau, MTG, Yiben Chen and Yehua Fan will make their runway debut.

“For us, being able to host the event is already a success,” said Tasha Liu, founder of Labelhood.

Stricter screening protocols have been set in place as China sticks to its zero-COVID-19 policy. Show staff must show proof of 24-hour COVID-19 tests for five consecutive days ahead of the event, while fashion showgoers will be required to show 24-hour valid COVID-19 test results to enter SFW venues.

At Ontimeshow, the largest fashion trade show during SFW, sites will be disinfected daily.

For many brands, hosting fashion shows offsite became a popular option in previous seasons, but as the hurdle to gain event approval from local authorities became highly difficult due to COVID-19-related restrictions, sticking with the official venues became the safer option.

Ontimeshow will expand to nine show venues covering more than 29,000 square meters. Its Room Room showroom will feature nine new brands, such as Self-portrait, Qiuhao and Private Policy.

According to Aroma Xie, cofounder and marketing director at Ontimeshow, after noticing an uptick in lifestyle brands on the market, Room Room will introduce 14 fragrance brands to its showroom.

Zemira Xu, Founder of Tube Showroom, said the showroom will reintroduce brands launched during the alternative Hangzhou Showroom last season, including Bad Binch Tongtong, Office H and Structura.

“We will see how this season fares in terms of buyer attendance before deciding if we should do a popup showroom in another city,” said Xu. “At this point, no one is planning ahead of time anymore.”