Virus Takes a Toll on Fashion Week

Outbreak keeps buyers, journalists, and clothes from reaching show
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2020 3:18 PM CST
Virus Takes a Toll on Fashion Week
Gerda Liudvinaviciute, Ingrida Jasinske and Ruta Petrauskaite, from Lithuania, wear face masks in a show Saturday in London.   (Isabel Infantes/PA via AP)

Climate change demonstrators firing smoke flares blocked traffic in central London to call for the cancellation of London Fashion Week, which opened Saturday against a backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak. The scare has reduced attendance by investors, buyers, and journalists, Sky News reports, and the long-term effects of the outbreak on the industry were a main topic of conversation. "I think any industry that has a Chinese audience, that has production in China, is being affected by the coronavirus at the moment," the head of the British Fashion Council said. (Sky adds that designer masks are the "must-have" accessory this year.) In addition, some product from China hasn't reached London, forcing designers to make changes. "With all the factories shut down and the couriers not working I had to just cut down the looks," Yuhan Wang said.

To ease virus fears, catwalk areas are being cleaned between shows, and check-in desks offer hand sanitizer. Outside, protesters carried signs reading "No fashion on a dead planet," with some wearing gas masks. They called on the Fashion Council to work to change environmental policies. "London is home to the cutting edge of sustainable and ethical design," an organizer said, per the Express, "and yet, London Fashion Week lags behind." The fashion event's organizers have said they intend to support sustainability, per the AP, and included a "swap shop" this year where used clothes can be exchanged for donated items. The event runs through Tuesday. (Sustainability in fashion is an issue in Hollywood, too.)

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