As the world watches the saga that is coronavirus unfold, there are worries of significant impacts on everything from human health to global economics. It is strange to think that a viral infection can touch so many seemingly unrelated aspects of life. If nothing else, coronavirus is a reminder that no aspect of life is truly isolated.

The fashion world is being impacted by coronavirus in ways that might not be felt for a while. But the impact is real, nonetheless. From the postponement of Shanghai Fashion Week to the prospects of a global recession, we are witnessing what an uncontained virus can really do to a world ill-prepared to deal with it.

Jeopardizing Fashion Shows

The first major coronavirus casualty in the fashion world is Shanghai Fashion Week, originally scheduled for March 26 to April 2. Organizers just announced that the event will be postponed. New dates have not been set, and there are genuine concerns about whether the event will go on at all. Meanwhile, there is growing fear that China Fashion Week could also be in jeopardy.

Shanghai Fashion Week is China’s biggest fashion event. It is also one of the biggest fashion events in all of Asia. It brings together Asia’s most experienced designers alongside up-and-coming names destined to shape the industry in the years to come.

What many do not realize is that fashion week events give designers the one shot they have to present their collections to prospective buyers. Cancel a show like Shanghai Fashion Week and you leave dozens of Chinese designers with no buyers.

Reliance on Fashion Shows

What makes the postponement so concerning is the fact that retailers depend on such shows for their stock. According to The Stockist in Salt Lake City, most men’s and women’s clothing boutiques are always at least a season ahead in planning their inventory. They purchase those collections that are more or less sold to suppliers during fashion week shows. If shows don’t happen, wholesalers don’t buy. Then retailers have nothing to put on their shelves for the upcoming season.

The loss of both Chinese shows would put a significant dent summer and fall inventories. Canceling the shows could also jeopardize the careers of younger designers who were counting on them to get their names and collections out there.

Jeopardizing International Travel

The proverbial icing on the cake here is the reality that coronavirus is interrupting international travel. Travel to and from the Chinese mainland is already restricted. Things could get worse if the virus spreads significantly in other countries. It is conceivable that all international travel could at some point be in jeopardy.

If that were to happen, fashion week events the world over would be at risk. Whether the venue is New York, Paris, or Milan, those who participate in fashion week events come from all over the world. Restricted international travel could potentially harm attendance to the point of making shows completely inviable.

The good news is that there is no reason to panic just yet. Even though coronavirus has spread to other countries, most of the activity is confined to mainland China. If we can keep it confined, we can also limit the damage it does – in terms of both human health and economics.

Coronavirus is not just a public health issue. It impacts nearly every aspect of life for the simple fact that human existence and health are inexorably linked. Remember that when you go shopping for clothes this summer. If inventory seems limited and prices appear a bit higher, you might be witnessing the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on the fashion industry.