Shanghai Fashion Week (SFW) is still catching up with The Big Four—New York, Paris, London and Milan—in both glamour and and its revenue impact, based on a comparison of media buzz generated from the respective fashion shows.
Behind the scenes, however, the increasing number of buyers and transaction volume reflect the growing clout of the trade show since its launch in 2003. Growing affluence has increased the demand for luxury items while the Chinese market always has the advantage of scale. Between 2015 to 2017, the number of buyers attending the show increased from 285 to 2,213 while its transaction volume grew by about 70%.
Satellite events and showrooms taking place across various locations in Shanghai during SFW play an integral role as the commercial backbone of the trade show.
Terence Chu, founder and managing director of the APAX Group, has scored a coup in getting New York-based designer Vivienne Tam to launch her fall/winter collection at the Shanghai International Fashion Showcase platform at the upcoming SFW scheduled to take place from March 27 to April 3. It feels like a coup because Tam has previously presented her collection at China Fashion Week, a rival event organised by Mercedes-Benz in Beijing.
“To have Vivienne Tam unveiling her collection in Shanghai instead of New York shows that SFW is comparable to other international shows,” Chu, who also serves as an adviser for SFW, told CEI. “A higher volume of orders generated from SFW will show that the event is impactful to its industry peers, not just locally, but internationally." In other words, the strategy can help attract international designers to the event.
The Shanghai International Fashion Showcase, which only presents collections from overseas designers, is established in partnership between APAX and the organising committee of SFW to bring in international designers to the show. Other trade platforms at SFW include Tube Showroom, Not Showroom and Mode Fashion Trade Show that also showcase Chinese designers.
Chu said the Shanghai International Fashion Showcase aims to bring at least one star attraction to every session of SFW, but up-and-coming designers remain the bread-and-butter of its portfolio. "The platform can offer many solutions to haute couture designers who do not have a retail presence in China. SFW is a good way for them to reach out to buyers and test the waters in the Chinese market," he said.