Shanghai Fashion Week (SHFW) has teamed up with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall to broadcast its entire roster of runway shows online from March 24 to 30 on Taobao Live, Alibaba’s live-streaming channel, making it the first fashion week event to go fully digital. The organisers had announced earlier this year that the event would not take place due to the coronavirus outbreak but instead of completely forgoing fashion shows and presentations, they decided to make them accessible to buyers, media and the public at large through the digital service. Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week last month also experimented with live streaming but only for some key shows to accommodate Asian editors and buyers who couldn’t travel to Europe amid the outbreak. Many industries – from gyms to night clubs – have turned to live streaming since the coronavirus outbreak, which has already led to the cancellation of global events such as the Cannes Film Festival and the Met Gala, both scheduled to take place in May. SHFW is one of the industry’s most anticipated events of the year, showcasing more than 100 brands and 100 designers from around the world, including rising independent Chinese designers Angel Chen and Shushu/Tong . Besides catwalk shows of autumn/winter collections, viewers will be able buy items online while they watch, giving them the chance to acquire exclusive designs in advance. In addition, media outlets and viewers will be able to make comments during the live-streaming sessions. Shows off, sales plummeting – fashion reels from coronavirus The organisers will set up a green screen and use augmented reality technology to boost visual effects. The epidemic has forced the cancellation and rescheduling of many global fashion events. To support independent designers and brands, Alibaba – which owns the Post – is offering a variety of digital avenues to ensure SHFW goes on without a hitch. “We have integrated some of Alibaba’s most advanced technologies to bring a new and elevated experience to consumers,” Mike Hu, Tmall’s general manager of fashion and FMCG, told Chinese state news agency Xinhua. “This partnership with SHFW allows us to leverage our experience in digitising bricks-and-mortar retail stores and explore a new format for brand and product launches.” The “cloud catwalk” is hugely innovative compared with traditional fashion shows, an industry insider said. “This ‘cloud show’ avoids the convergence of people and saves venue and labour costs,” the insider said. “As 5G technology matures, many shows will be trying to get closer to young people through live streaming.” The partnership drew a lot of attention from the online community, with many saying they are looking forward to the first cloud fashion show. “Bring more fashion weeks to Taobao Live please,” read a typical comment. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.