Forget on-trend shoes and of-the-moment bags, thanks to the new coronavirus Covid-19, the must-have accessory at London Fashion Week 2020 is a hand sanitiser.
In what is expected to be a more subdued event, Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council warned that numbers would be down due to the absence of many Chinese attendees because of the virus outbreak.
Some designers were also said to be struggling because of the suspended transport links and temporarily closed factories in China.
“We've had one designer that isn't able to show because their collection hasn't arrived from China due to the logistics issues,” Rush told Reuters.
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The virus, which originated in China late last year, has claimed more than 1,380 lives and spread to other countries.
But, those who are due to attend the fashion week festivities should rest assured that the main talking points will be the style showcased on the catwalk and not the fear of contamination.
Ahead of the opening Rush assured that London Fashion Week was taking precautions against the spread of the virus by providing anti-bacterial sanitisers and undertaking regular deep-cleaning.
“Hygiene is a priority ... there is anti-bacterial everywhere,” she said.
And though some may not be able to attend in person, Chinese journalists, buyers and social media influencers will still be able to join in LFW.
“We have been finding partners like Business of Fashion China to push that content out,” Rush explained, adding that content would also be promoted on Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat.
The British Fashion Council also shared a post on Instagram explaining that they have created a platform to host imagery, video and press releases from LFW, which can be accessed remotely for Chines trade partners and audience.
“In the spirit of collaboration and solidarity during these unprecedented times, the partnership will see BoF China include a QR code after all its LFW reviews for its readers to access the online content,” the post explains.
Luxury labels like Gucci-owner Kering have already warned that coronavirus could mean smaller crowds at the month-long catwalk season, with London due to be followed by shows in Milan and Paris later this month.
The virus outbreak seemed far from attendees minds as the London leg of the catwalk shows kicked off on Friday morning with Chinese designer Yuhan Wang, who overcame the difficulties wrought by the coronavirus to present a first solo collection of Victorian-inspired waisted jackets and black lace blouses.
Additional reporting Reuters.