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China’s AliExpress debuts at Milan Fashion Week with special “buy while watching” event

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s marketplace platform AliExpress made its debut at the ongoing Milan Fashion Week on Friday, with an exhibition and a catwalk event that stretched out to virtual clients across the world.

This was the first time the Milan Fashion Week — Italy’s biggest fashion event — opened its doors to a global e-commerce platform.

While the exhibition set up at the textile museum offered visitors the chance to appreciate several Chinese designers’ collections, the evening event, called “Starry Night”, featured latest pieces by various Italian designers and by Chinese brand Mishow.

A further novelty marked the occasion, since online followers were allowed to follow it through AliExpress’ live streaming tool “buy while watching”, and to benefit from its “magic mirror.”

The latter — an augmented-reality-powered digital screen offered by Alibaba — was designed to let potential shoppers virtually try on the clothes featured in the showcase.

“AliExpress is dedicated to becoming a platform for lifestyle, innovation, and latest trends,” the company’s general manager Wang Mingqiang said in a statement.

“We want to use this opportunity (at Milan Fashion Week) to reinforce our commitment to bringing more quality products, and a unique, fun experience to consumers.”

President of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion Carlo Capasa welcomed the event, saying they were “very excited to have AliExpress taking part in the program.”

“This initiative shows that Italy and China — if able to complement each other more deeply — could further develop their cooperation plans,” AliExpress merchant operation team director Shirley Yuan, told local Adnkronos news agency.

“In this perspective, the Milan showcase is a fertile ground for new projects,” she added.

Launched by Alibaba in 2010, the AliExpress platform operates in several languages including English, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and French.

This edition of Milan Fashion Week would run in the northern Italian city from Sept. 17 to 23.

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