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Alibaba’s Tmall is Taking Over New York Fashion Week With a “China Day” This Week

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It’s all kicking off at New York Fashion Week. But while we wait for news on exactly which designer label made the shoe that Cardi B supposedly threw in the direction of Nicki Minaj — earning herself a mark that looked like she’d had some cupping done on her forehead — we’re looking NYFW-wards here. Because Monday will see Chinese online shopping behemoth Tmall take over the catwalks for their “China Day.”

Look, they’ve got a snazzy GIF poster and everything:

You might’ve seen that Tmall’s parent firm Alibaba has been in the news a bit itself lately, what with company founder Jack Ma apparently “retiring.” But this is an intriguing move as well (albeit one that probably won’t garner quite as many headlines of course).

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Tmall is the business-to-consumer arm of Taobao. While the latter has had its fair share of tussles with fakes, Tmall is one of the go-to sites for any consumer-facing brand looking to make it in the China market. This will be the second time the platform has held a “China Day” at NYFW, with the last one coming back in February, which notably featured sports brand Li-Ning attempting to lose their “Nike knock-off” image with a catwalk show.

Related:

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Tmall, for their part say that “China Day” is:

“part of Tmall’s efforts to cultivate homegrown fashion talent and the growing creative culture in China, creating a new meaning for the term ‘Made in China’ and promoting the trend of ‘Designed in China.’

“The initiative aims to help Chinese brands expand globally, through designer-buyer matchmaking, e-commerce collaborations and showcases at fashion week events.”

To this end, they’re promoting three Chinese brands as part of the event, apparently after “rigorous rounds of screening”. They’re backing the home team by offering a spot to JNBY — a company with 1,500 stores worldwide that also hails from Alibaba’s hometown of Hangzhou; Shenzhen-born Central St Martin’s graduate Angel Chen and Shanghai-based “experimental” sporty line Particle Fever take the other two places on the bill.

But beyond the brands, Tmall’s “China Day” will be marked by some innovative tech initiatives too. The catwalk shows will be livestreamed via the Taobao mobile app and Youku and there’ll reportedly be virtual reality elements. At the heart of the initiative will, of course, be buying stuff — users who spot something they like on the runways will be able to add it to their digital shopping basket immediately thanks to what Alibaba is calling their “See Now, Buy Now” program.

Here’s some video from the NYFW “China Day” in February that featured Li-Ning, Edison Chen-founded label CLOT, plus labels Chen Peng and Peace Bird:

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Made in China 2.0: How Li-Ning Sneakers Went from Beijing Outlets to New York Fashion Week

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Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.