Chinese Fashion Designers

Domestic and international press such as WWD, Vogue Italia, Business of Fashion, Jing Daily, and AnyWearStyle, as well as industry insiders who have already recognized how the saturation of China with foreign luxury labels is growing wearisome on the market and a more mature consumer have found a solution with Chinese fashion designers.

But with only a short history under it’s belt and improving infrastructure, Chinese fashion designers are working against the odds and also getting a lot of help to establish homegrown yet international brands; consequently, they help diversify the domestic market in China.

3.29.12 – Boundless Fashion in China (Honora Shea, The Genteel)

China has many new designers, but only a handful can claim to be “first generation”. Of this small but prestigious group of design pioneers, Zhang Da stands out for his creativity and originality when approaching design. His deep understanding of his cultural heritage combined with a thoughtful aesthetic has landed him a job at Hermes’ new venture Shang Xia as the clothing designer, but his own label Boundless continues to push boundaries in the world of fashion.

From the article:

“Boundless collections are each based on a distinct experimental design. Zhang’s “Flatline” collection posited a new, two-dimensional silhouette of simple circular and rectangular shapes in stretch cotton blends. These shirts, dresses and skirts take shape only once settled on the wearer, falling differently depending on body type. Other lines, such as “Curvilinear” and “One-Size-Fits-All,” take similar conceptual approaches, investigating and uprooting standard notions of form and asking wearers to conceive of alternatives to traditional silhouettes.”

3.6.12 – CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Unveils China Initiative (Rosemary Feitelberg, WWD)

Uma Wang will be spending 3 months in New York to learn about the American fashion industry, while Proenza Schouler will head to China to do the same in a first ever cultural swap orchestrated by the CFDA and Vogue.

Uma Wang

From the article:

“While details are still being ironed out, the initiative is expected to become an ongoing one, given the interest and potential for growth in each respective market, according to the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s executive director, Steven Kolb. “We never want to do anything as a one-off. We really like to connect and invest in things that have real meaning and depth,” he said.”

1.11.12 – ChinaFile: An Antidote to Glam (Hung Huang, WWD)

In her new weekly feature on WWD, media mogul Hung Huang discusses the state of Chinese fashion, and describes what she calls a “zen” style coming out of China. She cites Exception de MixMind, Wang Yi Yang’s Cha Gang and ZucZug, as well as rising star Uma Wang as top designer brands coming out of China.

Uma Wang

From the article:

“The trend, best described as a 21st-century Zen, is a local antidote to glam. At the forefront of this trend is a brand called Exception. The brand has established 90 stores across China and has a annual turnover of more than 900 million yuan ($150 million). It recently opened a 1,800-square-meter flagship store in a glitzy mall alongside international brands, in the Southern city of Canton, where it is headquartered.”

12.23.12 – S/S 2012 Collection By Beijing Designer, Vega Zaishi Wang (No Author Attributed, Jing Daily)

Beijing-based designer Vega Zaishi Wang launches her Spring/Summer 2012 collection, which features her signature silhouettes in a restrained color palette that is sophisticated yet retains its feminine and playful nature.

Vega Zaishi Wang S/S 2012 Collection: "Like a Piece of Her"

From the article:

“Taking a distinctly different approach than last year’s “Cape” collection, which centered on dramatic, flowing pieces in bold blues and reds, recently Wang debuted her S/S 2012 collection, “Like a Piece of Her.” Featuring pieces in a restrained palette of navy blue, black, cream and rich red, the collection is at once more angular, tailored and still playful than other recent collections. Come next spring, we wouldn’t be surprised to see these designs worn by China’s more fashion-forward types.”

12.8.11 – Thecorner to Promote Chinese Designers (Debra Bruno, WWD)

Five designers, including Christine Lau, Riko Manchit Au, Shangguan Zhe, Uma Wang and Zou You, will be featured on thecorner.com as part of partnership with Vogue China and Vogue Italia.

From the article:

“A new project organized by Vogue China and Thecorner.com, the online designer site, will feature five emerging Chinese designers as a way to support emerging talent and to educate Chinese consumers about the value of embracing designer fashion made in China.

“These last couple of years, we’ve really started to feel a dramatic change, a new generation,” said China Vogue editor in chief Angelica Cheung. “They’re more mature professionals; they have their own design, their own point of view.””

December 2011 – Xander Zhou (Karchun Leung, Satellite Voices)

At an exhibition for his most recent and highly acclaimed menswear collection, Xander Zhou gives Shanghai a chance to see his work up close and personal at the Johnnie Walker House at Sinan Mansions:

From the article:

“Xander Zhou is one of the most high profile and well known menswear designers in China and he succinctly knows the needs of men and fashion. His collection is both basic with a twist as seen recently with his collaboration with Johnnie Walker Scotch, who invited him to check out the roots of the whisky house, from which he created a series of exclusive pieces using traditional tartan. Last week he unveiled these are the Shanghai Sinan Mansion.”

December 2011 – Franca’s Point of View (No Author Attributed, iLook)

11.10.11 – Talents in Shanghai (Franca Sozzani, Vogue Italia)

China Fashion Collective assisted Ying Wang (Alexander Wang’s mother) with organizing a lunch for Franca Sozzani and up-and-coming local Chinese design talent. 14 designers attended the event, which Ms. Sozzani was so impressed by that she posted about it on her blog and featured them on the Vogue Italia website.

From the article:

“During her visit to the Orient, Editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani met some of the most promising up-and-coming Chinese designers in what can be defined as the first event of its kind since, as Timothy M. Parent points out in an article about the history of fashion design in China “there have been no Chinese-based clothing brands since 1996″.

As a matter of fact, the country known up to now as the manufacturing giant or as fashion’s creativity breeding ground already boasts three generations of promising young designers including the protagonist of the event launched during Milan Fashion Week at Palazzo Morando, Uma Wang.”

Below are the designer profiles featured on the website:

Zhang Xi
Zhou Yuan
Jiang Ling
Zhang Da
Yan Ming
Vega Zaishi Wang
Qiu Hao
Tali Wu
Alison Yeung
Lina Ma
Cheng Ping
Xiao Ling

10.3.11 – Refined and Redesigned: Decoster Concept (Sandy Chu, AnyWearStyle)

Ziggy Chen, head designer at first generation Chinese brand Decoster, talks about heading to Shanghai Fashion Week for the first time in the brand’s long history with his new “Decoster Concept” label.

From the article:

“Launched in 2000, Decoster has since expanded to 16 provinces and three autonomous regions in China. This October it will present its high-end line, Decoster Concept for the first time at Shanghai Fashion Week. AnyWearStyle sat down with head designer Ziggy Chen to discuss the new line, China’s fashion industry, and the upcoming show.”

6.7.11 – Cacharel Taps New Designers (Joelle Diderich, WWD)

An article about Chinese-born designers Ling Liu and Dawei Sun becoming the new artistic directors for Cacharel. Part of a larger shakeup in the fashion industry, these designers deserve the spot with their impressive accolades.

From the article:

“Cacharel has named Ling Liu and Dawei Sun, the design duo behind the label Belle Ninon, as artistic directors for its women’s, men’s and children’s collections, as well as accessories. The Chinese designers will present their first collection for spring in a catwalk show during Paris Fashion Week in October, the French brand said Monday.”

6.6.11 – Uma Wang Wins Audi Progressive Designer 2011 Award (No Author Attributed, Jing Daily)

Top Chinese designer Uma Wang wins the Audi Progressive Designer Award, which is only in it’s second year… The first year the accolade went to accomplished Asian-American designer Phillip Lim, so I suspect big things from Uma Wang in the near future.

From the article:

“Beijing’s fashionable crowd was out in full force this past weekend, as Uma Wang–one of Jing Daily’s top emerging Chinese designers to watch–received Audi’s Progressive Designer 2011 award at the Audi showroom on East Chang’an Avenue. Known for her deconstructed designs, asymmetrical cuts and clever juxtaposition of materials and textures, the Central Saint Martins-educated Wang launched her eponymous fashion house in London in 2005, quickly making a name for herself on the internationals stage. Only two years later, Wang made her way back home for her inaugural China runway show, sponsored by Audi. Since then, Uma Wang has made a serious splash in the Chinese fashion industry, presenting the opening collection at Shanghai Fashion Week 2009 and receiving accolades such as the Finest Craft and Best Creativity awards at Shanghai Fashion Week (2009 & 2010) and Beijing CCDC Best Designer award (2010). In the past year, Wang’s retail presence in China has grown along with her reputation, with her designs now sold at Hong Huang’s Beijing boutique Brand New China and the Uma Wang flagship in the Shanghai’s swish Xintiandi neighborhood.”

6.2.11 – Spotlight: Huishan Zhang (Imran Amed, Business of Fashion)

A spotlight on rising designer Huishan Zhang, originally from China but trained at Central Saint Martins. I also suspect big things from him in the future.

From the article:

“One such example is the talented, Chinese-born Huishan Zhang, who attended one of my very first lectures at CSM a few years back and graduated with a BA in Fashion Design & Marketing in 2010. Since then, Huishan has been proactive about keeping in touch as he made decisions about both the business and design direction he wished to take with his own brand. He is a young designer who listens to the advice offered to him by an informal group of well-connected mentors who he has personally sought out to advise him. Listening is a skill sorely lacking in many young designers, who years later often say, “I wish I had listened…””

6.2.11 – Chinese Designer Chi Zhang Unveils FW11 Collection (No Author Attributed, Jing Daily)

Chi Zhang presents his AW11/12 collection in Beijing’s D.Park Club in 798, an avant-garde collection that featured Swarovski-studded gas masks.

From the article:

“Though the shorts and skimpy ensembles on display wouldn’t hold up to Beijing’s notoriously harsh winters, they reiterated what many in the Chinese fashion world already knew: Chi Zhang’s designs aren’t for everyone, but they’re some of the most interesting currently coming out of China.”

5.17.11 – Shang Xia’s Jiang Qiong Er: Behind China’s Home-Grown Luxury (No Author Attributed, Jing Daily)

Slowly proving to be a real home-grown luxury brand, this article questions: “How Far Can Jiang And Shang Xia Go To Build Luxury With Chinese Characteristics?”

From the article:

“Jiang Qiong Er, artistic director and CEO of Shang Xia, the “designed in China” sub-brand of French luxury titan Hermès, is widely considered one of the most promising individuals working to build Chinese-style luxury today. Fluent in French, conversant in English, and a native Mandarin speaker, Jiang has, since the official launch of Shang Xia last fall, leveraged her experience in the luxury and design worlds to integrate traditional Chinese and contemporary Western culture and create a cosmopolitan and sophisticated new brand that is distinctly Chinese in spirit and craftsmanship.”

4.25.11 – Interview: Alison Yeung, Creative Director of Mary Ching (No Author Attributed, Jing Daily)

Designer Alison Yeung of Mary Ching discusses the issues and possibilities of creating a homegrown brand in China.

From the article:

“Founded by designer Alison Mary Ching Yeung in 2006, Mary Ching is one of the first high-end footwear and accessories brands to emerge from mainland China. Driven by Alison’s own eclectic aesthetic, Mary Ching seamlessly fuses Asian elements with vintage fashion without ever succumbing to “East Meets West” conventions.”

4.10.11 – What About Chinese Fashion Designers? And Fashion in China? (Franca Sozzani, Vogue Italia)

In a perceptive analysis of the current state of the Chinese fashion industry, Franca Sozzani compares the Chinese situation to the Western one, and champions emerging designers trying to really do something different from the West… And her chosen champion is none other than Uma Wang.

From the article:

In the current Chinese generation, awaiting for the stroke of genius from one of the emerging fashion designers, no signs of radical changes are perceived. For most of them the Western style, a bit sexy, a bit minimal, a little baroque and a little decorative is the example to follow. A little of everything without making an individual choice.

3.16.11 – Chinese Creativity: Who are the Emerging Designers? (No Author Attributed, Jing Daily)

Jing Daily selects its top Chinese designers to watch, which includes Jenny Ji, Uma Wang, Qiu Hao, Vega Wang, Xander Zhou, and Chi Zhang.

From the article:

“Last month, Reuters quoted fashion executives and designers as saying that Chinese designers “will drive catwalk trends more than deep-pocketed Asian buyers as China’s creativity becomes fashions’ next big thing.” While China’s money has been an economic driver, and Chinese design cues have been picked up by some designers, the next part of fashion’s eastward tilt may be the rise of Chinese creativity.”

1.5.11 – Jiang Qiong Er, Shang Xia’s CEO and Artistic Director (Robb Young, Luxury Society)

A great interview with Jiang Qiong Er about the origins of the Shang Xia brand and where the brand will be taken.

From the article:

“How and where did the idea for Shang Xia actually happen? Did Hermès find you or did you find Hermes?

JIANG: Four year ago, I was invited by Hermès China as the first Chinese artist designer to create their window shop installation in China, and then I was presented to (CEO) Patrick Thomas and (general artistic director) Pierre-Alexis Dumas. Shang Xia is the result of a beautiful encounter between myself and Hermès. We found that we shared the same vision and passion for the excellence of craftsmanship, Chinese culture, and for a dialogue between tradition and innovation, as well as heritage and emotion. We then started to build the philosophy and the core values for the dream of Shang Xia together.”