City starting to close gap with world fashion capitals

Updated: 2015-04-24 11:25

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai(China Daily USA)

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City starting to close gap with world fashion capitals

Fashion models present the works of local designers at the 2015 Fall Winter Shanghai Fashion Week. Lu Kun, Ban Xiaoxue and Guo Yirantian were among the top Chinese designers to have their clothes showcased.

Like his colleagues at the Shanghai International Fashion Center, a subsidiary of state-owned Shangtex Group, which organizes the twice-yearly event, he sees it as a greenhouse where China's own Michael Kors or Tommy Hilfiger may be cultivated.

Founded in 2003, Shanghai Fashion Week was initially blasted as a public relations exercise that squandered vast sums of money in a bid to promote China's fashion industry, with international luxury brands lured as a face-saving measure.

But the doubting Thomases misread the city's ambition, which from the outset was to transform Shanghai into the world's fifth fashion capital.

In the first year alone, Lanvin and Vivienne Westwood brought their collections and made a big splash.

Recently, as competition ramps up and China shows signs of ending its infatuation with foreign luxury brands in favor of less ostentatious homegrown products, the focus has been shifting back to domestic designers.

According to statistics from, over 80 fashion weeks are now held each year around the world.

Despite the presence of big names in Shanghai this month like Diesel founder Renzo Rosso and artistic director Nicola Formichetti, young local designers accounted for over half of the shows held.