Protective clothing on the catwalk during Chinese Fashion Week

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At the beginning of December, various protective suits were on display at the China-Dandong Fashion Week. As creative as it may seem to present workwear in this way, it did not go down well with everyone. And I understand why.


Protective clothing on the catwalk during Chinese Fashion Week

It was the first time this year that they could hold a physical fashion show in Dandong province. And given the prevailing pandemic, the organization decided to respond to this. The show opened on December 5th with a presentation of the latest protective gear. Models walked the catwalk in different colored suits. The suits on display were mainly for healthcare professionals as protection against COVID-19. But there was also fire-resistant clothing and protective clothing for people in the cleaning industry on display.

You can watch a compilation of the show in the video below. According to Yu Wenfu, one of the initiators, the clothing has improved enormously. For example, doctors would sweat less in these new fabrics. He thought the fashion show was a good idea because “Innovation combined with high-end fashion is always a plus”.


A crazy idea?

Whether we should display work clothes on a catwalk is debatable. Some say work clothes and fashion do not mix, while others think it’s refreshing and fun. I believe that presenting clothes on a catwalk is not only applicable to the fashion industry. As a jury member at the Dutch Corporate Fashion Awards in 2018, I saw various styles of workwear on display in the fashion show. It’s a relaxed and entertaining way to view this type of clothing. The downside is it is hard to judge the properties of the clothing, which is very important when it comes to workwear. But you can solve this problem by having a presenter or a screen where you can project this information.


Critical notes

Criticism surrounding the fashion show had to do with the role of China in the COVID-19 outbreak. The city of Wuhan is, of course, considered the starting point. People criticized the Chinese government for not being transparent about when they discovered the virus, and many feel this contributed to it spreading quickly. As the virus spread, China was still not the best boy in the class. Many countries ordered their protective equipment such as mouth masks from China and, some subsequently turned out not to meet quality standards. International media, therefore, accused China of promoting protective equipment and earning money from a global pandemic that they caused.


Even though these products have been rejected several times in the past year, the country (according to the China National Textile and Apparel Council) still made 70 trillion from the sale of protective products. And that is what matters: the enormous amount of money involved in this industry. I don’t expect Fashion Week to take much notice of international criticism. They also sold a lot of PPE before COVID-19, and their promotion will remain important as long as they continue to do so.



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