Fashion Week Preview: Xander Zhou
The coronavirus has come for Fashion Week, but Fashion Week is unbowed. With the 2020 edition of LFWM going all-digital, the event's key designers talk us through how they've adapted to showing clothes in a world where showing clothes is (almost) impossible.
What's been the biggest challenge with producing a lockdown fashion 'show'
My circumstances are perhaps a bit different from many of the other designers showing in London, in that I have been "stranded" in Europe since my last show at LFWM while my studio and team are in Beijing. While many others might have found ways to get together at some point and create something as a team, of course while respecting all social distancing rules, I have had to rely solely on videoconferencing and other virtual ways to interact with my team and work on all my projects.
"It's a watershed moment only for the fashion industry, but for humanity as a whole"
What's been the biggest opportunity?
I am not sure I would want to talk about opportunities under such circumstances, but if I try to look at things from a positive perspective, I would say the situation has forced us to pause and reflect. One could see it as a forced break, and breaks are very seldom because you're always in between shows, getting ready for the next one. These past months have forced us – or allowed us, if you want – to set our own pace.
What non-fashion skills have you picked up during lockdown?
I have definitely improved my Korean cooking skills. I might consider starting a restaurant if the fashion industry does not survive this crisis. People always have to eat at some point.
How have you seen London's fashion community come together in the past few months?
I haven't, really. Probably because I haven't been back in London since January, but also because as a non-British, non-London-based designer I have never really felt part of London's fashion community. Perhaps I am like my brand – from another planet.
Is this a watershed moment for the fashion industry?
I prefer to think so. Not only for the fashion industry, but for humanity as a whole. Let's hope we will all emerge from this saner and wiser. These past months there have been discussions about rewiring the fashion system. I am not sure that the system itself is the problem – it is the people and their preconceptions. Much of the tolerance on display in the fashion industry is not genuine, in my opinion.