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AFP
February 15, 2020

London Fashion Week opens under shadow of novel coronavirus

World

AFP
February 15, 2020

LONDON: London Fashion Week opened on Friday with more than 60 shows scheduled over five days, including from Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger, but with participation dented by the novel coronavirus epidemic. The British Fashion Council (BFC), which organises the event, said it expected attendance from Chinese media and buyers “to be significantly reduced” due to the travel restrictions imposed as a result of the outbreak.

To reach those unable to visit from China, the world’s biggest consumer of luxury goods, the council announced a partnership with media group Business of Fashion China to relay images and details of catwalk shows. It would help “ensure that our two audiences remain incredibly connected”, said BFC chief executive Caroline Rush. The COVID-19 epidemic — as the World Health Organization has formally named it — has so far claimed around 1,400 lives and infected more than 60,000 people. The vast majority have been in China, the source of the outbreak, but it has also spread around the world, including to Britain where nine cases have been identified. Fashion week organisers said they would carry out “deep cleans” every evening at the event’s central London hub, while anti-bacterial hand sanitisers will be made available throughout the venue.