COVID-19, Fashion Week and Beyond—How Coronavirus Has Impacted the Fashion Industry
“The situation is bad outside, it’s not nice. Milan is completely deserted. No one walks on the street … the only shops open are the food shop and chemist.”
— Alessandro Oteri, luxury shoe designer speaking to Business of Fashion
Some may have considered Giorgio Armani canceling his Milan fashion show back in February (opting to livestream his Armani collection from an empty showroom) a drastic step, but the Coronavirus is now a global pandemic. The United States has imposed a 30-day ban on travel from Europe into the U.S.—a little over one week since the very last of the fashion flock returned state-side from the semi-annual tour across Europe, beginning with fashion shows in London, then Milan, and culminating in Paris.
But, Nga Nguyen was among the fashion set—attending this season's Gucci show in Milan, and Saint Laurent in Paris. She just came forward to the New York Times revealing that she tested positive for COVID-19; the article names her 'Patient Zero' for fashion. She has been treated in a hospital in Europe—she lives in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“People said I flew home, that I already knew when I was at the shows — neither of which is true — that I am spoiled, that because I showed my cleavage in one picture, that’s why the virus was attracted to me, that it’s time for greedy fashion people to stop and think.”
— Nga Nguyen (Fashion's Coronavirus 'Patient Zero') speaking to the New York Times
Meanwhile, China's new cases of COVID-19 are declining, Europe is currently the epicenter of this Coronavirus outbreak.
Italy announced an extension of its existing lockdown strategy, now with mandatory closure of restaurants and shops that do not provide essential services.
The Prime Minister of France announced beginning midnight March 15, all restaurants, cafes, and “non-essential’ stores in the country will close to help restrain the spread of COVID-19. Only grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and public transportation will remain open.
With the number of cases of the Coronavirus quickly increasing in Spain, the prime minister announced that residents will only be allowed to leave their homes to buy essential goods, and go to work, hospitals and banks, with restaurants and bars all closed.
Amongst all these precautionary measures instituted by governments, many fashion brands are taking precautions regarding their upcoming resort collections. The Hermès resort show scheduled for April 28 in London has been postponed. Burberry was scheduled to have a show in Shanghai on April 23 and that show is now postponed. Ralph Lauren canceled in New York show planned for April. Prada has postponed it's May 21 show in Tokyo, Japan.
Hypebeasts must try their hand at scoring Supreme's latest drop online as the streetwear brand known for their infamous lines of people waiting on the street, and their goods' resale values, has closed all retail locations in the US, UK, and France.
Chanel has not made any announcements regarding its scheduled runway show on May 7 in Capri, Italy—we wait with bated breath.
Updated Wednesday, March 18, 2020
This year's Met Gala and CFDA Fashion Awards have been postponed indefinitely.