As the death toll from the novel coronavirus approaches 1,000 – with more than 40,000 people infected – Jing Daily has spoken to stakeholders from luxury brands to small fashion business owners, lawyers and consumers to understand how the luxury fashion industry is coping with the growing crisis. Supply chain disruptions “Many industry trade shows are now cancelled,” said Vincent Djen, the director of Cheng Kung Garments and the chief strategy officer of REmakeHub, a company that provides circular solutions for plastic waste. Spinexpo, the industry sourcing exhibition dedicated to innovation in yarns, fibres, and knitwear, and the China (Shanghai) International Optics Fair, which are usually held in Shanghai in February, have both been postponed. Which luxury fashion brands do China’s millennial girl bosses prefer? Two Chinese staffers, one from a luxury brand and another from a beauty company, said that they are working off-site to revise their planning and projections for the first half of the year. Many industry insiders have shared concerns about whether Milan Fashion Week in late February and Shanghai Fashion Week in late March will go ahead. The postponing of trade and fashion shows may lead to a slowdown in new business, but a more immediate concern is the disruption of the supply chain. Many factories have delayed resuming production following the Lunar New Year break because of the fear of inappropriate health procedures for their workers, which will have a ripple-on effect throughout the global fashion production cycle. Djen says most of the autumn 2020 collection orders from Europe arrive in February, with manufacturing taking place in March to meet the major delivery month of April. This could now could be delayed until May or June. As a result of the crisis, the production of the autumn and winter collections may also be delayed if the situation worsens, affecting most European companies who rely heavily on Chinese manufacturers. What airlines are doing to stop coronavirus from spreading “If brands have not diversified their production outside China, there isn’t much they can do to minimise the losses,” suggested Xi Yang, a lawyer at the Seattle-based international law firm Harris Bricken that specialises in investment with China. “Factories are closed now and will not resume production any time soon. Even when they resume production, it does not guarantee they will have enough manpower to complete orders placed, or they will make products that meet the buyers’ standard.” Retail slump Many cities in China are following governmental orders to remain in soft lockdown mode. Consumers who would normally hit the stores over the Lunar New Year holiday opted to stay home to minimise their exposure, which resulted in sharp declines in foot traffic in shopping malls in January. Many malls chose to drastically reduce their business hours or shut down completely. It is difficult to quantify the loss. On January 28, Dalian Wanda Commercial Management Group, the landlord of many high-end retail malls in China, waived rent for all Wanda Plaza’s tenants across the country from January 24 to February 25, with estimated costs of 3 billion yuan to 4 billion yuan (US$429 to US$572 million). Why rich Chinese millennial women are turning to etiquette schools Going digital seems to be the only bright spot for many vendors. One live-streamer said that they had shifted their product selection from skincare and make-up to cleaning supplies. Shanghai-based beauty brand, BrighterBeauty, also pivoted, announcing on WeChat, Weibo and SMS on January 30 that they can now make orders for facial sprays, collagen shots, probiotics, and protein powder via the WeChat Mini Program and enjoy fast home deliveries Industry veterans are positive about the development of online retail. “Sars in 2003 escalated a number of e-commerce companies’ growth, such as Taobao and JD.com, brands should treat the crisis as an opportunity to develop omnichannel,” suggested Gu Guojian, a retail expert, to Chinese media linkshop. The virus has dampened the desire to shop. “Not in the mood”, “Who am I showing off to”, “Health comes first now”, are a few common sentiments that we’ve read. In some cases, the fear of the coronavirus latching itself onto the exterior of a package has stopped people from shopping except for necessities like groceries and cleaning supplies. It seems that only grocery or convenience stores are weathering this crisis well. What’s next? The biggest question on every business owners’ mind is how to ensure the safety of employees when they do return to work? The government has been issuing new employment rules to ensure companies provide better protection and better benefits during epidemics. Amazon plans to launch a fashion platform – will it be a hit? “Some cities have been issuing new rules almost every day, be sure to check and follow all of them,” advised Yang. “In addition to being law-abiding, at the end of the day, the employees are human beings who want to stay safe and healthy, and do not want to be punished for the virus outbreak.” Many companies have adopted new safety measures for staff and customers. However, there is a silver lining behind every disaster. “Asia has room for monetary and fiscal policy responses, and these virus shocks tend to be short-lived and cause a V-shaped trajectory in economic activity, as there is a lot of pent-up activity once the virus peaks,” was what Rob Subbaraman, the head of global macro research and co-head of GM research, at Nomura, told Bloomberg. A key Chinese figure in the fight against the virus, Zhong Nanshan, the director of the State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease in China, has predicted that the wave of infections will reach its peak in mid-February (although there is still not yet any effective cure). Valentine’s Day: 4 luxury gift ideas you never expected to find in pink It’s possible that consumption will rise once the virus is under control, and consumers are confident about spending some of their disposable income on upmarket goods. “This [situation] can take up to six months, so it’s possible that this is a two-quarter rather than a one-quarter thing,” suggested Arend Kapteyn, chief economist at UBS global, to Bloomberg on January 28. “But it’s way too early to knock down your China forecast sharply.” Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter . This article originally appeared on Jing Daily.