From event cancelations to affected sales, the Coronavirus pandemic has drastically hit the Fashion industry. The contagion has not only brought public life to a standstill but its impacts continue to generate economic losses.
Fashion conglomerates such as LVMH, Kering and Burberry Group saw a sharp decline in the value of their shares as a direct result of the outbreak in China. Fear of further spread of the virus has led to production houses in affected areas shut down while consumers are not taking to the streets to shop. As a result, there is not only less shopping worldwide but some fashion houses were even forced to close their shop doors.
Rising concern over the outbreak in Italy which came during Milan Fashion Week led to unrest and cancellation of fashion shows. Giorgio Armani canceled its Feb 23rd Milan Fashion Week show, presenting its Autumn / Winter 2020 collection behind closed doors through a live stream on its website and social media channels.
Other designers and Fashion houses have decided to preemptively cancel shows scheduled in the coming weeks in various locations as a precautionary measure. Italian luxury brand Gucci canceled it’s Cruise 2021 which was meant to take place on 18 May in San Francisco. Prada decided to postpone its cruise show which was originally scheduled to take place on 21 May in Tokyo. Burberry also announced that it had postponed its Autumn / Winter 2020 show which was scheduled for April 23 in Shanghai. Chanel canceled its Cruise 2020 show which was to take place on the Italian island of Capri on May 7. Versace’s May 16 cruise event and Max Mar upcoming cruise show scheduled for May 25 in St. Petersburg were both canceled.
But not just shows Fashion weeks scheduled to take place in or close to affected countries have announced postponements or cancellations. The Seoul Fashion Week which was scheduled from March 17-21 and China Fashion Week scheduled to be held March 25-31 in Beijing has been postponed with dates TBD, while the Shanghai Fashion Week, which was meant to begin on March 26 and Tokyo Fashion Week also known as Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo has also been canceled.
With numerous brands having to close stores worldwide and disruptions in production and supply chains has led to an impact on sales with losses estimated to amount to billions. Fashion houses like Armani, Prada, and Moncler were directly affected by the drop in exports after the outbreak in China, their largest market. Ralph Lauren reported a decrease in sales to the tune of 55 to 70 million dollars while Capri Holdings, which owns Versace, Michael Kors, and Jimmy Choo, reported a revenue loss of 100 million dollars. While the majority of events and shows will take place on the Internet however, a live streamed show can never be as effective as one that is seen on site.
With the Coronavirus pandemic having direct financial consequences for the fashion industry, it is difficult to imagine how Fashion is to carry on its function as a cultural asset in the near future.