Designers use China Fashion Week to strut onto international catwalks

Updated: 2012-10-26 08:05

By Gan Tian (China Daily)

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 Designers use China Fashion Week to strut onto international catwalks

A model wears Chinese label NE-Tiger at a fashion show in Beijing on Thursday. The show is part of China Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013. Zhu Xingxin / China Daily

Fashion designer Wang Yutao, 38, who runs his personal label with money from his own pocket, was named "the pioneer designer" during China Fashion Week last year.

The award allowed him to attend Berlin Fashion Week in January, which he described as a "mission impossible" if he tried to do it on his own.

Opportunities like that for independent designers are why Wang attends China Fashion Week every year

Promoting independent fashion designers like Wang is the mission of China Fashion Week. The event, which opened in Beijing on Thursday, is seeing a growing number of independent local fashion designers who run their own labels.

"Independent fashion designers do not have enough financial support like those who work in a company. They also lack the experience of running a show. But by attending China Fashion Week, they can grow up quickly," Wang says.

More than 150 independent designers participated in the event, including Yang Ziming, Wang Peiyi and Hu Sheguang.

Young designers bring more vitality to China Fashion Week, says Yang Jian, secretary-general of the organizing committee.

Yang Ziming, 41, had a show for his menswear Cabbeen at D Park, China Fashion Week's official venue for holding shows, on Thursday night. He used colorful stripes and blocks in the collection, inspired by the legendary experience of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, a French aviator who wrote the novel Little Prince.

"As a fashion designer, I found inspiration from every part of my life, and I don't have any limits in realizing my ideas, since I am running my own label," Yang says.

Taiwan fashion designer Pan Yi-liang, who runs her own label Gioia Pan, says China Fashion Week is a window for international fashion buyers to see China's local designers.

Pan ran her own label in Taiwan for years but came to Beijing in 2007 in hope of making it to the runway for China Fashion Week. It is a much larger platform for designers, she said.

Over the next few days, fashionistas will also see works from Wang Peiyi and Gao Yang, who are already gaining recognition on the international runway. Wang and Gao, both of whom specialize in using black and white to illustrate women's elegance, are the new media darlings. Their designs have been featured in the country's top fashion media, including Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar.

The China Fashion Association, which is in charge of running the fashion week, has promoted independent designers as a group to gain respect and attention from international audiences, says Hu Nan, executive secretary of the association.

The event boasts five professional contests, including sports equipment design, leather wear design, and lingerie design.

These competitions attract a large number of young designers.

The committee will provide the winners of the competition with more opportunities, including financial support if they want to run their own show.

To attract more independent fashion designers this year, the organizing committee is also having a Chic Trendy Brand Show in D Park - the first domestic clothing and lifestyle exhibition focusing on street fashion and original design.

(China Daily 10/26/2012 page7)