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China: Shanghai Fashion Week Highlights

CHELSEA SALAC WRITES– Bud Konheim, CEO of Nicole Miller (lifestyle brand) claims, “Fashion used to be focused solely on Paris, Milan, and London. Today, it’s China.”

Indeed—Shanghai Fashion Week (SFW), which ran March 27 through April 3, has become a major international event.  

China has, in fact, become one of the world’s largest fashion markets— domestic sales have climbed to roughly 191 billion dollars—as a result of shoppers’ taste for luxury brands. It is even expected that China will exceed the U.S. in the retail market this year.  Compare this to ten years ago, when the country was absent from the international fashion loop!

426 brands from 28 countries were on display during SFW. The weeklong fashion show included strong lineups of international designers and local talents such as Vivienne Tam, Angel Chen, and Shushu/Tong. SFW became a worthwhile experience for international buyers as well as the press. As stated by designer Shushu/Tong, “The market has grown substantially in the past few years; more boutiques are buying from domestic designers and more clients are willing to pay for high-end brands.”

Fashion Week is not only a place to showcase diverse collections but to display Chinese traditions and culture.  Inspired by Chinese heritage and feminism, Shushu/Tongis inspired by notable female writers Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf in her collection’s vintage aesthetic designs. In addition, her collection exemplifies a modern, gothic Lolita, synonymous with her label, “rebellious sweet girl.”

Model wearing an outfit from Shushu/Tong’s 2019 Collection

Similarly, designer Vivienne Tam dedicated her collection to female empowerment, calling her project “Shero” (a merge of the words hero and she). “The collection reflects the unique qualities of women in the modern era,” she said. “I want to present the idea of female empowerment and independence to the audience in China.”

Clothing line from Vivienne Tam’s Fall/Winter 2019 Collection, pictured at Shanghai Fashion Week March 27 at the Bvlgari Hotel

Many of the outfits in Tam’s collection were embellished with studs and sequins. Of the 48 looks she presented, Tam incorporated traditional Chinese styles with international trends. She remarked,  “I hope to spread Chinese culture through my own design, and through continuous innovation transform the traditional Chinese culture into a modern lifestyle.”

Designers like Tam, Chen and Shushu/Tong are gradually breaking the stigma of the label “Made in China”.

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