Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fashions next big thing: China

While the fashion magazines are sending their editors and journalists to Florence, Milan, New York and Amsterdam, more and more pundits are predicting the next Big Thing is not coming from either of those cities. No, neither is it coming from Italy, The US of A or even France, The next fashion wave that will hit the market will be coming from: China! Designer and retailer Elio Fiorucci told Reuters lately, “the next big issue for fashion is not China’s economic boom but Chinese creativity, and while the Western world knows little about China’s aesthetic sensibility, China’s emerging designers may surprise us, since they have the talent and a deep knowledge of the Western fashion world". I think that Elio could be right, although Gianluca Brozetti, Chief Executive of Roberto Cavalli, qualified these sentiments by saying that" while the culture and creativity of Chinese designers will certainly be appreciated in the West, it will take time to make a major impact due to the lack of economic power". Well, I wonder when was the last time Gianluca visited China, he probably still has a 1960's  travel guide on China on his bookshelf.
Ji Cheng,
(photo courtesy of Ji Cheng)
China has built up a reputation of cheap copycats and lacking quality, at least this is the perception of many Westerners. But they forget that almost EVERYTHING they use daily, from their ├╝bergerman Miele washingmachine to their Ultra Swedisch SUV Volvo has Chinese-made components in it. Yes, even their Good 'ol American iPhone is almost entirely built scratch up in China. The money those Chinese made with all of that is, for now, happily spent on Western brands such as imported Mercedes Benz's  and French Chateau Latour. But deep inside we all know that this is just a phase in which the Chinese will endulge themselves in what for long has been considered something forbidden. And we all know that, forbidden fruits are the sweetest.... until they are no longer forbidden. THAT is when the true road of self-reflection will start, and China is about to embark on that road. Its puberty is ailing, and adulthood is on the brink. Adulthood that comes with confidence. And its just the confidence that some Chinese designers still lack.

This is also the vision of Chinese media Mogul Hung Huang, or as westerners would say, Huang Hung. Hung is one of China's most influential Fashion critics, Publisher of iLook magazine, author, actress and a media figure, by CNN compared to Oprah Winfrey. She know also has a column Womens Wear Daily. Hung also thinks that confidence is all that is lacking. Jenny Ji, or rather Ji Cheng since I am not a supporter of the adopted western names by Chinese, designer behind the LaVie label is one of the promising designers in the new China. Having had her training in Milan, she clearly makes the connection between East and West in het ravishing designs. The Fall/Winter 2011 collection was marked with exquisite embroidery, a true feast of the eye, her Fall/Winter collection shown in London, calles Zen Awakening was far more contemporary, tremendoulsy wearable but still with the connection to its Chinese heritage. I predict a bright future for China's fashion industry, and when I say "Industry" this has less to do with Looms and more with design!
From Ji Chengs Zen Awakening line: [Photo: Christopher Dadey]

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