Shanghai Fashion Week to be Live Streamed by Alibaba

After much uncertainty over whether Shanghai Fashion week would go ahead or not, Shanghai’s catwalks will now be livestreamed by Alibaba on Tmall, China’s major e-commerce platform. While considered something of a “fallback” in a time of crisis, shouldn’t the move rather be viewed as a sensible step towards integrating tech with fashion?

The fashion industry can be rather set in its ways; luxury fashion houses have taken a long time to acknowledge the importance of establishing a major fashion week in Asia, while they are often slow to adapt to digital services and experiences. Giorgio Armani made a last-minute decision to live stream his latest range from an empty venue in Milan as Italy became the first European country to be seriously affected by the coronavirus. Armani found a considerate and effective means of showcasing his work in a time of crisis, but the move was once again reactive rather than proactive.



Digital platforms and particularly mobile usage are inevitable parts of how our actions as citizens, professionals, and consumers are changing. When Chinese citizens were told to work from home during the first week of February after Chinese New Year, a record 222 million apps were downloaded on Apple’s App Store. There is no turning back on our increasing dependency on mobile platforms, especially in emerging markets, where the first device people use to ever get online is usually mobile.

Brands need to embrace and experiment with digital platforms and services, to at least keep up with consumer trends, and at best lead the way in innovation. Live streaming has been a staple part of Chinese e-commerce for well over a year now. While Taobao streaming can feel like something of a digital QVC, luxury brands can still find ways to give an air of exclusivity when viewed in the palm of a hand.

Here at Verb China, we provide full service digital marketing support for luxury brands. Our multi-lingual branding experts, steeped in luxury and schooled in intercultural communication, help brands to grow in the Chinese market with confidence and sophistication.