La Vie by Jenny Ji, Day 3 at Shanghai Fashion Week

Local designer Jenny Ji has been an ardent and constant supporter of Shanghai Fashion Week for the past few seasons, and that has been a major plus for the event because consistency is what it is lacking most; usually designers show once and are never seen near the tents again, which leaves attendees speculating who and what they will see next season… This is probably one of the biggest turn offs for buyers, who typically like to see a few seasons in a row before picking up a new designer or brand.

But as much as Jenny Ji and her brand La Vie support the domestic development of the Chinese fashion industry, they are also working against it a bit… If China can ever hope to get buyers to the shows, designers have to 1 – be consistent and 2 – show the correct season. La Vie typically shows the current (and wrong) season collection (this time Spring/Summer) to promote sales in their stores, while everyone else shows the next (and correct) season (Fall/Winter). I understand the logic (if there are no buyers, why should you show a future season when you can promote what is available now?), but it’s like a vicious chicken and egg scenario… If designers keep on ignoring international standards for the industry and show the wrong season, how can they expect to gain the attention of buyers and become international?

So there is some good (consistency) and bad (wrong season)… Additionally, the clothes were good (albeit Spring/Summer), but the music was a bit disorienting (think high-pitch techno for the opening and jazzy lounge music for the finale). But the clothes are the important part, right? I think La Vie has a great foundation on which to grow the brand, but if they want to take it to the next level, they should probably show the right season and start positioning themselves as a more international brand.

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