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Madrid Fashion Week kicks off in front of the public

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Designers, models and fashionistas flocked to Madrid on Thursday where the first major European fashion week is held in front of an audience for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid has kicked off, taking the industry’s first step towards normalcy after a devastating year for the fashion industry.

“The digital format is here to stay, but our goal is to bring events in person when health conditions permit,” the show’s director, Nuria de Miguel, told El Pais.

It’s not quite back to pre-pandemic times as the audience around the catwalks will be limited to around 190 people, or around 24% of total capacity, to ensure social distancing.

The event will also provide FFP2 masks to everyone involved and require employees to pass rapid tests. Seven shows will take place exclusively online.

Most of the 22 parades take place at IFEMA, Madrid’s main convention center, which was the site of the country’s largest pandemic field hospital less than a year ago.

“Our goal is to energize the entire fashion industry. The fact that the designers want to continue having in-person shows despite the difficulty of last year has shown that these shows are important for sales, communication and visibility, ”said de Miguel.

According to the Spanish fashion association Acotex, the Spanish fashion industry saw its sales fall by 47% in the year to February 2021.

“The prohibitions on meeting in large groups for lunches and dinners and the virtual absence of events and celebrations do not encourage people to buy dresses, costumes or accessories that they will not have. chance to show, ”said the association. on its website.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Madrid and the subsequent Madrid event Es Moda have support from the local government, despite the increase in coronavirus infections.

The Madrid region reported 2,790 new cases on Thursday, up more than 200 from the same day last week.

Critical care units in the capital region are under more pressure than anywhere else in the country, with 38% of available beds currently occupied by COVID-19 patients.

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