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Corona virus is affecting the fashion industry

New York – The expanding shadow of a global epidemic caused by the coronavirus

Corona virus is affecting the fashion industry

outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, is seeing multiple ramifications beyond the actual health threat. China and the neighboring countries constitute the largest expansion market for luxury brands worldwide.

In order to contribute to palliating the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak, several global fashion and luxury goods companies are stepping up and donating funds to fight the contagious virus. LVMH Group has donated 2.3 million dollars to the cause while Kering Group has provided another 1 million dollars.

Global fashion and luxury brands unite to fight coronavirus

“Our thoughts are with the many impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak, and therefore we have decided to donate the funds as an immediate contribution to assist,” François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s CEO, told ‘WWD’.

Other major companies are also doing their part to combat the outbreak. L’Oreal has given 720,000 dollars to the cause, Swarovski contributed 430,000 dollars and Estee Lauder and Shiseido plugged in another 290,000 dollars each. 


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Canceled shows and designer masks

Protective face coverings have become this season’s must-have accessory among show-goers.

Fashion reflects the world we live in, as Coco Chanel said, and the inconsistency of response within the fashion industry to the escalating threat of the epidemic holds up a mirror to confusion apparent all over the planet, as governments and authorities struggle to align coherent strategies to deal with an unpredictable and rapidly evolving problem.

Violet tulle face masks hit the catwalk at the Maison Margiela show, and glittery balaclava-styled masks were seen at Marine Serre.

(Months ahead of the zeitgeist, Serre was dressing models in masks back in 2019. Her aesthetic has been nicknamed “athleisure for the post-apocalypse”.) Showgoers have been offered masks to wear at several collections in recent days, including at Dries Van Noten and Paco Rabanne.

On Friday French label Agnès B joined five Chinese brands – Shiatzy Chen, Masha Ma, Uma Wang, Calvin Luo, and Maison Mai – in canceling its Paris show.

A cocktail party for the finalists of the prestigious LVMH prize, usually one of the most packed see-and-be-seen-at events of the fashion week, was called off, as was a karaoke party hosted by Net-a-Porter, and a party at the Ritz for the New York brand LoveShackFancy.


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 Corona virus has hit fashion from multiple angles

Having first appeared in China, whose population makes up about 40% of customers for luxury fashion houses, last week’s Milan spike in coronavirus cases coincided with Milan fashion week.

Giorgio Armani canceled invitations to his catwalk show with less than 24 hours’ notice, staging the event to empty seats and instructing guests to stay home and watch the live stream from their hotel rooms.

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Corona virus is affecting the fashion industry 

On the same day, however, the Dolce and Gabbana show, and a live press conference to announce Raf Simons joining forces with Miuccia Prada, went ahead in Milan.

In China, the closure of shops, cancellation of social events, and low national mood are decimating profits. The international outbreak and consequent slowdown in tourism also spells bad news for an industry in which 40% of luxury sales are to international travelers.

A report this week by Bernstein and Boston Consulting Group estimates the cost to the worldwide luxury industry in 2020 could be $43bn in sales. Fashion weeks in Beijing and Shanghai scheduled for March have been canceled.

Nor is the impact of coronavirus limited to designer fashion. China is the world’s biggest garment producer, and with factories closed and supply chains cut, retailers and wholesalers of high street fashion, supermarket school uniform ranges and sportswear brands are concerned that orders will not be fulfilled in time to meet shop-floor demand. For the wider fashion industry, the impact of coronavirus may only just be beginning


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