After a fully-digital edition, the glitz and glam of Shanghai Fashion Week returned to the city from September 22 to 30, and it was one of the most anticipated and inclusive Fashion Weeks to date.
With catwalks and trade shows spread across the two central locations — Xintiandi and Rockbund Museum — and countless pop-up events across the city, SFW was the biggest offline event held in the metropolis since the citywide Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year.
Among hordes of street photographers, ethereal models hopping from one venue to the next, and a calendar packed with fashion events, we’ll admit it was challenging to keep up with all that was happening. If you missed the action, here are five highlights from Shanghai Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023.
Aside from official video releases and livestreams in partnership with Douyin, an unprecedented wave of user-generated content populated Chinese social media due to the accessibility of this season’s offline shows.
While the initial showcases were still primarily invite-only, this time around, SFW held additional rounds that were open to those who purchased or ‘earned’ tickets.
Thanks to an innovative campaign pioneered by fashion incubator Labelhood, SFW was no longer the exclusive stomping ground of the press and VIP guests. Labelhood’s ‘giveaway model’ allowed netizens to obtain complimentary tickets to the runway shows by following and sharing SFW-related content.
Some familiar names made a comeback for the offline edition of SFW, attracting crowds of long-term fans. Shanghainese label Shushu/Tong showcased a sensual collection inspired by the transition from girlhood to womanhood, with models strutting confidently on the notes of legendary local producer and DJ Rui Ho.
Rui Ho’s electronic tracks also played during the Yirantian show on the closing day of the week-long event. True to the brand’s interest in dressing modern and independent women, Yirantian’s new collection featured minimalist yet daring designs with unusual cuts and unique details.
Alongside established brands, some emerging labels also turned heads during SFW. The designer duo behind Mind The Gap (MTG) presented a collection inspired by the Flower Goddess worshiped by China’s Zhuang ethnic minority. The looks mixed traditional fabrics and jewelry with modern cuts and elements of sportswear while maintaining a zero-waste approach by relying on recycled materials and sustainable fibers.
Other up-and-coming brands to watch were Y2K-inspired Nan Knits and Louis Shengtao Chen, the latter of which presented its ethereal collection in a dreamlike show, with models walking among fake clouds and swinging from the ceiling of a historical building in the Rockbund Museum.
Besides the shows featured at SFW, a few other major fashion events also took place around China. Luxury powerhouses Louis Vuitton and Valentino both chose to hold events in the secluded coastal community of Aranya in North China, perhaps in an attempt to dodge potential Covid-19 outbreaks.
Another show that made the rounds on social media was organized by visionary brand Windowsen in Shanghai. The show was an eclectic carnival of extravaganza, featuring nightlife personalities such as underground DJs, performers, and musicians instead of regular models.
Serving queerness and bizarre alien-inspired looks, Windowsen proved that fashion is not meant to be worn exclusively by skinny, tall models. Fashionable clothing can look good on every body type.
Shanghai Fashion Week presented an occasion for thousands of fashion lovers and professionals to gather after a year-long hiatus. As a result, head-turning looks were spotted everywhere around the city, with dozens of street photographers congregating around the two main venues: Xintiandi and Rockbund Museum.
Cover image via Xiaohongshu
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