Global Time SFW Interview
Global Times Interviews The MARGINALIST for this seasons SFW
Shanghai Fashion Week Vs. International Fashion Weeks
This seasons Shanghai Fashion Week surprised us with new emerging designers stepping onto China’s national platform via diverse channels instead of reserving itself to the traditional official Taiping park runway. The Hub as well as Labelhood Fashion (supported by Elle China) both independent from the SFW calendar, has also showcased new, established and also emerging western designers on board such as House of Holland, to Simon Gao, Missy Skins and more.
What does this mean for the evolution of SFW?
SFW is starting to explore its landscapes and boundaries in terms of fashion organization and designer labels. Trade shows such as Ontime, Showroom Shanghai, Alter and more are also becoming increasingly relevant and influential on an international scale where key buyers and media are starting to visit the venues.
Diverging from traditional rules of SFW and opening itself to more designers is a key part in the growth and evolution emerging fashion weeks.
As a fashion and lifestyle blogger for The Marginalist and editor for several fashion and B2B luxury magazines, I travel to international fashion weeks every year in order to cover insider trends, interviews, and key shows. Hence, despite the current efforts of bringing SFW on an international pedestal, I’m still seeing a very large discrepancy between the quality of the shows and it’s overall sustainability compared to MFW/PFW. Nevertheless, I think SFW has the commercial capability and potential of becoming an international Fashion capital in several years to come.
Why the discrepancy?
Unlike Shanghai Fashion Week and or other emerging Fashion Weeks, internationally recognized fashion weeks have a strict federation with high standards and diverse processes in order allow brands to enter on the official fashion week calendar (ie. The Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode has been managed and curated since 1973 by some of the most renown influencers in fashion). This enhances the credibility of the current brands showcased on the calendar as well as giving them an aggressive international media exposure and support. Thus, brands cannot simply pay to get in the shows, they must be recognized and accepted by the federation of the international fashion week board first where every year consistence and brand sustainability must be kept coherent to a certain level. This is not yet the case for SFW, where every year we do not know who will or will not showcase at FW, the schedules can be quite random where there is also an accepted minimum fee to get into the calendar. The “open secret” of being able to also sell and buy fashion week tickets right in front of the Taiping entrance is also a “not so glamorous” effect.
On a more professional note, during MFW/PFW I often see Anna Wintour (Editor in Chief Vogue America), Francesca Sozzani (Editor in Chief Vogue Italy), and Angelica Cheung (Editor in Chief Vogue China) sitting front row beside A-list Western celebs. In contrast, I’ve never seen these big media giants attending SFW, which gives off a clear statement of acceptance.
This year, something that has highly disappointed me in one of SFW’s main shows was the level of obvious F&B endorsement showcased during the catwalk, where models were walking the runway while drinking the sponsored product (I wont state the name). This is simply greater proof of the current level of SFW that wouldn’t pass in international fashion weeks.
Moreover, product quality and the show itself in Milan /Paris Fashion Week has always been epically entertaining while maintaining a high sense of professionalism showcasing skillful craftsmanship and work. For fashion I must say “devils are in the details”; from the lighting, venues, creativity, model selection, to make up trend looks, hairstyles, colors and structures of the clothing, it is not for no reason that international fashion weeks are extremely recognized. Even with a major crisis in Europe with over +35% unemployment and booming tax rates, the luxury and fashion scene does not sell itself through overdone sponsorships or reduce significantly the quality of their clothing and production, they keep the dream going.
For what concerns street style “on the street” looks, I usually receive rich and true style inspiration from going to the international fashion weeks, where creativity with layers, mixing colors and contrasting fabrics together and creating cool effortless mixes I wouldn’t have previously thought of is always refreshing to the eyes. Of course sometimes we do spot the odd look seeking for attention look where last year it was a women in 5 inch red lipstick heels and a big gown created out of newspapers.
In Shanghai, I think in general we are still trying to hard to pull off an iconic “mix n match look”. Simplicity is always the hardest but most elegant thing to pull off. Following the trends but never abiding to them is important and an act of balance between the personal internal and external self.