The Fashion World, Upended by Coronavirus
Twice a year, the luxury fashion houses of the world present their ready-to-wear clothing for the coming season. But this year, the fashion weeks intersected with an outbreak of a new coronavirus.
As the virus spreads, the industry isn’t so sure about its ability to move forward.
“Empty seats at shows are not the problem — it is what is happening in showrooms, the holdups in the supply chains and what they might mean,” said Pascal Morand, the executive president of an organizing body of Paris Fashion Week.
Fashion buyers employed by retailers and e-commerce platforms negotiate order sizes and prices with brands and decide what goes into stores. This happens during intimate showroom appointments separate from runway presentations.
This season’s orders have been down, designers said. Not necessarily for big companies like Valentino, Vuitton and Tod’s, their executives said, but for smaller independent houses, and particularly for those whose production takes place even partially in China.
In an effort to stop the spread of the virus, thousands of Chinese factories, already closed over the celebratory New Year period, have yet to reopen, bringing manufacturing to a near standstill and headaches for many fashion companies that produce samples and wares in the country. Significant added costs from order backlogs and logistics delays are now expected, as well as a looming threat to global trade.