Chinese market is very fond of high end fashion marketed to them by Western luxury brands, with most of the luxury brands overseas creating their flagship stores in the major cities in China like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. A lot of these Chinese consumers look into fashion luxury brands not based on style, but on the status they get from owning them. Now that majority of the high class society in China owns quite a few Western luxury branded products, they are now looking into the real “made in China” by Chinese luxury designers who studied from different parts of the globe or with international influences and raising the Chinese style and culture with their fashion designs, making China the new London or Paris of Asia.
Chinese designers getting ahead of the fashion race
A huge number of Chinese designers are now studying in different parts of the globe to study fashion and art, all determined to make their marks in the world’s best catwalks. With different backgrounds, different schools in both China and outside, these designers are out and about to spread the Chinese fashion fire inside and outside of China.
Born in Jilin, a northeastern city in China, Xander Zhou was part of a very architectural family, with both parents working as architects. With his familial influence, Zhou went into the industrial design program in China, but dropped out before finishing his science course. He left for Holland afterwards to go into a fashion school.
Zhou has been keen on fashion since he was a child and has been altering his clothes ever since, but his first influence in going to fashion was his friends sending him a sewing machine as a gift where he made his own clothes in.
A lot of his designs are heavily influenced by his architectural background as well, with the cutting, the lines, and the material used a bit similar to what he sees in the industrial design industry.
Zhou had his first fashion show in Amsterdam in 2004, and spent a few more years in Europe until 2007, when he went back to Beijing, China to open up his first menswear accessible luxury collection “Mass Production” with different showrooms in Paris.
A lad from China’s east coast, Qingdao, Huishan Zhang was really into fashion since he was a child. With very supportive parents, Zhang at 17 studied fashion in New Zealand. As though he couldn’t converse very well in English, Zhang was a poor student but with very big ambitions. While studying in New Zealand, Zhang found out about the works of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano and wanted nothing more but to study where they had studied, Central Saint Martins.
Zhang took a four-year BA fashion design course after getting a place at Central Saint Martins. His first collection for autumn/winter 2011/12 got hallowed windows during the London Fashion Week last September of 2011 and sold out within a month at Browns. He has a very solid London base and is now entering the international market. His main goal is to become a leading Chinese luxury brand where he could target the modern and new Chinese lifestyle.
Other Chinese designers all at the heart of the race
Of course there are a lot more Chinese luxury fashion designers already at the heart of the Chinese brand uprising, here are three of them, all graduating from Central Saint Martins are going back to China to establish their luxury brands more for the new Chinese generation.
Uma Wang is already a very established designer from China for more than a decade. She moved to study in Central Saint Martins in London and in 2005 started her own label, Uma Studio, famous for the fusion of knitwear and leather. Wang’s designs are stocked worldwide with her main flagship store at Xintiandi in Shanghai.
Mash Ma is famous for her feminine designs with a mix of modern cool elegance. Her first collection was launched in London. And now, Ma has a total of 3 lines with 12 collections a year and is selling in different parts of the continent including, of course, China and online.
Qiu Hao sought to follow his father’s footsteps as a great architect, but with problems encountered, he switched his study to fashion. He bought his own sewing machine and taught himself how to cut and sew. He opened his first clothing line in 2001, called Neither Nor, and in 2003 opened One By One in Shanghai with partner QiaoQiao. In 2006, he opened his own label called QiuHao in Shanghai. His collections are now stocked throughout China.
Next big thing: Chinese luxury brands
Chinese luxury brands are the next big thing in China. Little by little, the Chinese are getting more and more into their own country’s products. Soon, not only will the Chinese be attracted by the elegance and style of the luxury brands by Chinese designers, as the whole world is starting to notice the Chinese luxury goodness as well.
A cliche to fight against
The made in China is persistent in the minds of everyone : bad quality, poor design are some of the most common adjectives to describe the “Made in China”. As a consequence Chinese fashion still have a long way to go in order to counter and change this cliché.
For them to accomplish that feat they would need a well crafted webmarketing strategy insisting on the high quality of their creation and the fact that their chief designer has also been studying in foreign countries to learn his/her craft.
To accomplish this they would need to:
- Have a website providing an experience to the visitor matching the positioning of their brand with high resolution multimedia content.
- Use Key Opinion Leaders as a proof of trust and quality coming from celebrities susceptible of influencing millions sucha as Yaochen, the Queen of Weibo and her 50+ million followers
- Publish in renown online journals about their brands and creation to benefit from these e-journals support