SHANGHAI’S fashionistas have been donning their coolest garments in recent days and making their presence in the city’s major fashion spots for one simple reason: Shanghai Fashion Week.
The fashion week has evolved into a city phenomenon, with a variety of cool events and art projects that go beyond the catwalks usually held at Shanghai Xintiandi.
Established and emerging Chinese designers continue presenting their creativity with global ambitions while more international brands and designers are seeking a slice of the booming mainland market, looking for new opportunities via this city-wide fashion platform.
The center stage, however, still takes place in Shanghai Xintiandi where locally established and new design talents showcasing their latest collections on catwalk.
A total of 50 runway shows have been presented from April 7 to last Friday.
Among the many runways, the award-winning actress, acute-minded businesswoman and all-time fashion icon Carina Lau debuted her fashion brand ANIRAC, reflecting her personal understanding of women’s aesthetics. The brand has managed to highlight the best features of Chinese women, while at the same time dressing them with confidence and elegance.
The autumn/winter 2017 collection shown on the runway takes inspiration from Tasha Tudor, the widely celebrated American illustrator and her iconic style.
A total of 42 looks are presented offering guests a refreshing yet nostalgic perspective of the 18th century neo-classical style.While every piece is structured with the most clear-cut and simple outline possible, the exaggerated sleeves, eye-catching ruffles on the skirt and statement accessories have jointly portrayed a slender yet delicate image in the otherwise heavy and gloomy winter season.
Lau doesn’t compromise when it comes to quality. Such premium fabrics as wool, cashmere and velvet are incorporated to guarantee not only warmth but also a refined touch.
With the support of Taiwan Textile Foundation, fashion brand Daniel Wong showcased his 2017 fall/winter collection on the runway.
Exploration defines the attitude and thought behind Wong’s work, with strong and delicate visual prints. He is a master at using vibrant prints with various fabric textures to create a modern design, presenting an esthetic of mixing class and edgy flawlessly.
His latest collection — “The Odessey” — takes the iconic Daniel Wong prints and style to new heights, encouraging a bringing out of one’s inner wildness.
Before launching his namesake brand, Wong followed his graduation from Central St. Martins in London to work for Alexander McQueen. During his MA studies in Milan, he was discovered by Versace where he became the main print designer for the Versace House that includes womenswear, menswear, runway and also Haute Couture collection.
We Couture, the locally grown couture and bridal brand, also unveiled its fall 2017 couture collection with some delicate and elegant pieces shown on the runway under the theme “Symbiosis.”
A constant We Couture style is still there with the preponderance of mustard yellow, olive green, purple and other strong colors ideal for the autumn season.
The designer duo Demi Jiang and Derek Wong also integrated 3D printing technology for the fabric design to create a 3-dimensional lace type knitting structure. The hand-crafted process took the design team more than 600 hours to achieve the required perfection.
The recent Shanghai fashion weeks have also shown the changes that are in line with trends that industry professionals and consumers have been looking for something more niche, and those Chinese designers educated in West have found their right timing in the fashion world.
Tube Showroom has organized an ultra creative GO! On the Street! event before opening its showroom to the buyers.
Different spaces with designer pieces and edgy art installations were set up on Yuyuan Road, and industry professionals and media were invited to experience the original fun of “random shopping” on the street.
Tube has selected a mixture of edgy and cool designer labels at its showroom including Short Sentence, Angus Chiang, STAFFONLY, Calvin Luo, Consistence, Fengyi Tan, GRN x SANKUANZ and KKTP.
Tube aims to select the potential international design talents.
Three labels made their debut at Tube: Angus Chiang, Calvin Luo and Sirloin.
Meanwhile, Ontimeshow was well organized at West Bund from April 8 to 10. Covering an area of 16,800 square meters, professional buyers at the show can view many designer collections within several hours. As well as all the clothing on display, the venue offers a great place to discover lifestyle products and accessories with strong creativity. Ontimeshow gets more and more mature and international season by season.
Beijing-based Chinese designer Liu Lu participated and presented her fall/winter 2017 collection at Ontimeshow Westbund last weekend.
“It was my first time participating in Ontimeshow. The showroom design is clean and neat, with quite a few good participating designer brands with strong brand identity. Also, many domestic fashion boutique buyers would consider Ontimeshow as their top option,” Liu said.
DFO, another reputable fashion distribution showroom established in 2010, chose Sihang Warehouse as its showroom during the fashion week.
DFO represents brands from four market categories: Artisan, affordable luxury, contemporary-modern and luxe-street.
It’s clientele reaches more than 600 buyers, including regional franchisees, nationwide department store chains, multi-label boutiques, e-commerce and APPs from China and surrounding countries.
DFO’s chief executive Ding Meimei is an experienced brand strategist. With an understanding of the Chinese market and culture, she envisions DFO to be a professional platform for brands and buyers based on market statistics, sales analytics and high quality services.
The Chinese fashion label by Fang, who took a customized, exclusive space at DFO this time, has been working with DFO for five consecutive seasons.
“When DFO came to us, I believe they were looking for a new designer label with a ‘Chinese international’ profile, good media exposure locally and an existing footprint outside of China,” the creative director and founder Yang Fang said.
“At the same time, we were looking around to find a strategic partner to support our China sales development outside tier 1 cities where by Fang was already implemented. We found a very good match with DFO as their organization is international, well structured for managing growth.”
The fashion brand has experienced good results with DFO so far. It also participated to several interesting projects curated by DFO such as WhiteEast show in Milano, and press events in Paris. “As well we supported the integration of the Swarovski Collection program within DFO in the last two seasons which is relevant to us in order to show our main by Fang collection and the special Swarovski collection at the same venue,” Yang added.
Swarovski chose DFO showroom to announce its latest creative collaboration with Asia-Pacific fashion designers for autumn/winter 2017 from April 6 to last Friday.
Swarovski is a long-time supporter of original designs and creativity. Same as last season, the brand selected Chinese home-grown fashion labels Haizhen Wang, by Fang, Ping He, Simon Gao and Australian brand Romance was Born to integrate Swarovski crystals into special looks within the ready-to-wear collections.
One of the participating designers, Ping He said: “Swarovski crystals have become such a natural extention of our identity and I can only hope this year will further the bond between Swarovski and Ping He and push the boundaries of modern luxury womenswear.”
Dadashow, a new concept trade space under DFO, made its appearance at the same venue aiming to celebrate innovation, creativity, design and commerce. The mission is to provide emerging brands with an incubator environment where they can experience the new market on platform pillared by DFO’s industry knowledge. Furthermore, DFO brings to Dadashow its wide array of industry connections, resources, and know-how.
A total of 60 emerging fashion labels from 13 countries mostly unknown to Chinese market have participated at Dadashow and presented their latest collections.
Italian brand Bucobianco presented its collection at Dadashow. The label has also been selected among many Italian brands at White Milano. “We decided to come to Shanghai after the many requests received by Chinese showrooms and distributors. Our strength is due to its uniqueness of the drawings in the prints and in its colors,” the designer duo Giacomo Nee and Barbara Branciforti said.
Bucobianco was created in 2015 as a synthesis of the designer’s artistic creation in design, fashion and exhibition world. Every piece tells a story by using high quality fabrics Made in Italy printed, embroidered, or jacquard.
At the opening day of DFO showroom, White Milano presented a fashion show integrating four selected designers’ collections.
“My first contact with Chinese designers in Italy was in 2012 when we held the first show of Uma Wang. WhiteEast started in April 2016 and we did it for the last three editions of White. My aim with this project is to be a teaser at our main plan that is coming to China, creating focus and attention on Chinese designers in Milan on one side and presenting White to Chinese press and designers from Shanghai,” said Massimiliano Bizzi, founder of White Milano.
Bizzi said White Milano had always been focused on research on contemporary brands. “That is our DNA since 2002. Now that the whole market is interested in contemporary, White has a natural and distinctive advantage.”
He added that “Chinese consumers are very interested in contemporary brands as long as the balance between image, price, quality is there. They cannot find them in China yet and our mission is to bring them here.
“On the other side, part of our strategy is to share our Italian known-how and creativity with young Chinese designers who are in the process of growing their work to the international market standards.”