Written by Oscar Holland, CNN
With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting the global fashion calendar’s most important season, TikTok is moving to fill the void with its very own online fashion month.
The hugely popular social media app announced Friday that it is partnering with luxury giants like Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent to bring users a series of live-streamed runway shows and exclusive drops and capsule collections.
The traditional “big four” fashion weeks — New York, London, Milan and Paris — are all still going ahead this September, albeit with limited guest numbers, outdoor events and digital showcases. But TikTok’s Fashion Month, described by the platform as “immersive,” offers a novel response to the sharp decline in physical shows since Covid-19 took hold in Europe and the US.
Alice + Olivia co-designed their exclusive capsule collection with TikTok.
“With the majority of people still quarantined at home, and limiting their social engagements, brands have had to quickly pivot to discover new ways to connect with their customers while also bringing creative streetwear and runway to fans,” according to a press release announcing the event. “That’s where TikTok comes in.”
The platform is set to host two live streams per week, featuring showcases by brands including JW Anderson, Puma and Alice + Olivia. Gen Z style icons, who have made their names on the platform, including Wisdom Kaye and Ariam, are set to take part in a number of the events. The final night’s show, hosted by 22-year-old singer-songwriter Nick Tangorra, will also see some of the app’s popular “creators” making their runway debuts.
But while the events are scheduled to run through October 8, later shows may not be available in the US, with the Trump administration threatening to ban TikTok on September 20 unless its Chinese owner sells the app.
President Trump — whose executive order cites “credible evidence” that parent company ByteDance “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States” —
he would not be extending the deadline. TikTok denies the president’s claims, and has since
his administration over the executive order, which it describes as “heavily politicized.”
Brands participating in TikTok’s inaugural events may not all be giving up on the traditional fashion calendar just yet — Louis Vuitton is set to appear at Paris Fashion Week, for instance.
But their presence is a sign of how important TikTok and its users have become to the luxury market.
Fendi, Balenciaga and Dior are among the growing number of labels to open official accounts on the platform in the hope of tapping into its huge user base, which, the app says, includes
in the US alone. A variety of industry figures, including Bella Hadid and Cara Delevingne, are active on the platform, and Gucci is also proving a hit thanks to the unofficial “Gucci Model Challenge,” which sees users layering different garments to create styles reminiscent of the Italian label.
“We’ve seen the fashion industry reinvent what luxury fashion means to culture and society through TikTok by bringing fashion into the homes of our community during quarantine,” said the app’s fashion content partnerships lead, CeCe Vu, in a press statement.
“With the launch of our TikTok Fashion Month, this is just another way for our brand partners to leverage the platform’s authentic and community-driven approach to showcase their art, creativity and personalities in a unique and truly TikTok way.”