First Giorgio Armani locked spectators out of the show and then we said goodbye to Seoul Fashion Week, and now Tokyo has axed its event amid coronavirus fears. Originally scheduled for 16 to 21 March, The Rakuten Fashion Week organisers shared a statement on their website discussing their decision and their disappointment “Our primary and utmost concern always being the safety/security of all parties involved. After heavy discussions with related parties, we have come to the painful decision of there being no other choice than to give up RakutenFWT 2020 A/W".
They made it clear, though, that they would find other ways to support the designers that were due to attend. "For those brands which were scheduled to participate in RakutenFWT 2020 A/W, JFWO will continue to do our very best within our power, to provide support in gaining business opportunities, such as introducing collections on the RakutenFWT official website, support in having looks introduced in national and international medias".
As a small (barely visible) silver lining, the designers will utilise the wonderfulness that is technology, as the fashion week organisers will display collections on their website so customers can still browse them remotely. However, for lesser-known designers or first-time participants, the cancellation will no doubt be devastating – both for morale and for business.
There are currently 241 infected individuals in Japan and the government is taking every precaution to ensure they don’t have to cancel Tokyo’s Olympic Games that are due to happen in July, by being stricter with protocol and even closing schools for a month. Authorities worldwide are struggling to contain the outbreak and numbers have been rapidly increasing, with the death toll reaching 3,000 people and the disease now present in every continent except Antarctica (it already has enough problems, what with all its ice melting).
Wash your hands, people.