Shenzhen design comes to New York

Updated: 2013-09-11 08:03

By KELLY CHUNG DAWSON in New York (China Daily)

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Shenzhen design comes to New York

Designer RenXin of the fashion brand Lizzy poses with a model in New York at the Shenzhen Designer Showcase, a gallery of 15 brands from the southern city. Kelly Chung Dawson / China Daily

In the largest fashion event in which a single Chinese city has been represented during New York Fashion Week, a delegation of 15 Shenzhen-based designers showcased their work in a pop-up installation gallery and fashion show at Lincoln Center yesterday. Sponsored by the government of Shenzhen; the Shenzhen Garment Industry Association; and the Shenzhen Economy, Trade and Informatization Committee, "Fashion Shenzhen" brought the city's fashion corps to New York for the first time.

"We're extremely excited for the learning experience and for the possibility for communication between Chinese designers and the US market," said Shen Yong Fang, president of the Shenzhen Garment Industry Association. "So many Western designers also want to expand their brands in China today, so it's all a two-way street."

Among the brands that participated in the pop-up installation gallery at 450 Studio Gallery yesterday were BBLLUUEE, Versino, Lizzy, Bennis, Guyan and Grace Deng. Two brands, Denghao and Ellassay, were also selected by New York Fashion Week organizers to participate in a fashion show at Lincoln Center. Designer Hao Deng of the brand Denghao was named one of the Top Ten Clothing designers during the 2011 International Fashion Week in China. Both Deng and Guoxin Xia of Ellassay have shown at London Fashion Week previously.

Although many of the participating brands aim to break into the US market, the experience of participating in New York Fashion Week will also boost the prestige of the individual brands in the Chinese market, Shen said. Additionally, organizers hope to be inspired by the experience in preparing for future Fashion Weeks in Shenzhen.

More than 50 percent of China's manufactured clothing originates in Shenzhen, with over 3,000 garment companies, a production value of $26.2 billion and exports of almost $10 billion. Shenzhen is the third fastest-growing city in the world.

Beyond the city's obvious manufacturing capabilities, Shenzhen has also become a center for design innovation as manufacturing companies have turned to a new business model that includes in-house design.

Dusen Wang, brand image management center director for the brand Ellassay, attributed several factors to Shenzhen's growing appeal as a fashion center. Local government policies encourage entrepreneurship, and as a result of the city's location near Hong Kong, a constant flow of immigration has contributed to a vibrant cultural backdrop. Additionally, the high volume of manufacturing companies has made it attractive to design companies with an aim to streamline production.

About 3,000, or more than 80 percent, of the city's manufacturing companies now have in-house design brands, Shen said.

Huang Sha Sha of Deng Hao noted that the brand uses elements from both East and West, and the trip has provided a chance for the designers to assess the tastes of American consumers.

For Shen, the experience has been inspiring.

"We've been incredibly impressed during our time here, not just because of the fabulously well-organized shows and the orchestration of the media and the celebrities, but also because of New Yorkers themselves,"Shen said. "The whole city has a fashion attitude. New Yorkers are often dressed better than the actual models."

(China Daily USA 09/11/2013 page2)