Beijing enjoys a mask-less catwalk amid the pandemic at the China Fashion Week - GulfToday

Beijing enjoys a mask-less catwalk amid the pandemic at the China Fashion Week


Models display creations from the Heaven Gaia collection by Xiong Ying.

Over the weekend, crowds packed a former industrial warehouse in Beijing as the China fashion Week got underway, with models strutting mask-less on a square runway and guests oblivious to social distancing norms.


Similarly vibrant scenes are being seen elsewhere in China as consumers return to cinemas, live performances and restaurants.


To many, they indicate a late-summer recovery in Chinese household spending is broadening and propelling the next stage of the economic recovery.


Sales of consumer goods, a proxy for consumption in China, rose across the board at the end of the third quarter, led by auto purchases, as household incomes returned to positive growth and employment conditions improved after being slammed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


fashionchina8 Creations from the YAMIDO Spring/Summer 2021 collection show by Shuo Jiang.


The recovery made China a lone bright spot in the retail world and a major source of earnings for global consumer brands from Starbucks to Louis Vuitton.


Still, Chinese spending on services lagged that on goods, and sectors such as hospitality and catering sector fared particularly badly due to social distancing rules, restrictions on operating hours, and caps on capacity.


But with the easing of curbs gathering pace in the third quarter, the hospitality sector is poised to accelerate its recovery. Already, its contraction in output narrowed in the third quarter versus the previous three months.




September's retail sales growth was still a third of pre-COVID-19 levels, but economists expect the overall consumer market would stage a sharp rebound in coming months, after entertainment venues from cinemas to KTVs reopened in August.


fashionchina7 A model presents a creation at the show.


On Oct. 1, the first day of the "Golden Week" holiday, China's box office raked in 745 million yuan ($111.42 million), the highest single-day sales in 2020 and the second-best ever for the holiday.


And during the eight-day National Day break, China saw 637 million domestic tourists, though the number was only 79% of last year's total.


In Beijing, local rock bands have been playing to enthusiastic crowds each weekend at the Temple Bar nestled in Beijing's many winding "hutong" alleyways, since the bar resumed such live gigs in September.


Benjamin Barthélémy, a Parisian who runs a film production studio in Beijing, said many small entertainment businesses had started recovering from COVID-19 in the past two months.




Next month, Tmall, Alibaba Group's e-commerce marketplace, expects over 2,600 foreign brands - an all-time high - to take part in the annual online "Double 11" shopping festival with sales set for another record in its 12th year.


fashionchina1 Child models walk the ramp wearing yellow creations during the show.


The booming online consumption is helped by an improving job market.


In the first nine months, China created 8.98 million urban jobs, nearly hitting the government's full-year target of over 9 million. In the third quarter, household income growth turned positive, up 0.6% year-on-year.


For some sectors, the recovery has taken a different form.


Riviera Events, a Singapore-based event management company with branches across China, did not hold any virtual event before 2020.


Now, half of their events are online.


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