It was a ghostly sight as Giorgio Armani held its Milan Fashion Week show in a vacant theatre. Mr. Armani came out himself in the end and took a row in front of empty seats. It was the night before the show when it became pretty clear that Corona virus has hit hard in Italy with hundreds of confirmed cases. The fashion house thought it would be much safer to go ahead with the live streaming. The models came in pink and teal Armani Privé gowns without a celebratory mood.
The coronavirus is spreading swiftly and economists dread that it might cause a major impact on the global economy. In fashion and design industries, the immediate impact was noticed as annual events were canceled in Europe and Asia. Milan-based Salone del Mobile and MIDO, the biggest furniture and eyewear fairs both are postponed from the spring until June. Shanghai Fashion Week and the Barcelona-based Mobile World Congress have been canceled.
China- place where Corona virus is originated from is a major hub of industries, including fashion industry. Currently, China manufactures more than a third of clothing and textiles globally. Fashion brands across the variety of manufacturers in China. From luxury brands like Prada and Armani to fast fashion brands like H&M and Zara. The factories in China are shuttered and it is still not clear that when the will be reopened.
Designer Thakoon Panichgul, says he’s heard from factories that his summer collections will be about a month late. Moreover, other fashion brands are also facing delays of 25-45 days. The crisis is so bad that they are unsure when the factories will turn around.
The bigger question right now is whether brands will pull themselves out of China altogether because of the severity of this crisis. Moreover, moving production to different parts of Asia or Europe will be time-consuming and will not even ensure that when they will deliver the supply order for fall. Right now they are looking at the consequences of having all their eggs placed in one basket.