Each year over four weeks in February and March, thousands of fashion executives, celebrities, influencers and models hopscotch between the world’s style capitals to attend runway shows. Attached to them is a multimillion-dollar economy that pumps both investment and tourist spending into New York, London, Paris and Milan.
For the second season in a row, all of that has been erased by the pandemic. Almost all shows will be virtual. All told, the four cities could miss out on more than $600 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
New York: More than 100 events are on the calendar, from panels to presentations on live-streams and a few runway shows that actually include physical elements. The Council of Fashion Designers of America said it expects business this spring to be tougher than last fall. New York’s fashion week usually generates hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue, surpassing that of the US Open tennis tournament.
London: The British Fashion Council is holding a digital-only event starting February 19 that will showcase both women and menswear by 95 designers — with names including Victoria Beckham. London’s fashion week usually brings in more than $374 million for the city, according to FashionUnited’s Business Intelligence.
Milan: When this year’s fashion shows begin in Milan on February 23, they will be fully digital. In past years, each of the four Milanese fashion weeks would bring in about 30 million euros in spending at places like hotels and restaurants. Capasa expects that income to be cut by at least 80 per cent.
Paris: This time, the womenswear Paris Fashion Week will be an online affair. It kicks off on March 1. The Institut Francais de La Mode estimates that Paris Fashion Weeks generated 450 million euros annually before the pandemic. While new estimates since the virus struck haven’t come out yet.