Style The Chinese New Wave changing the perception of Made in China
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The Chinese New Wave changing the perception of Made in China

- Contributors
La New Wave cinese cambia la percezione del made in china |

Despite of its global impact, we are used to follow the fashion system under the spotlight of big cities like New York, London, Milan and Paris. Other capitals are slowly joining the fashion calendar and, among these, Shanghai, cradle of some new talents whose design could have never prevented from catching our attention.

The role of China within the fashion industry is gaining more and more significance: on one side, Chinese consumers are attributed with 75% of the global luxury market growth, on the other, a new generation of designers, operating in and out of the motherland, is establishing a style that hardly goes unnoticed. If China gives birth to many talents of the industry, few are the ones that chose their own country as a base for their artistic and professional training. The majority of international students in schools like New York Parsons, or London Central Saint Martins, are Chinese. Over 120 designers on NYFW calendar are Chinese. The reasons behind this phenomenon refer back to Chinese protectionist policies which, having prescribed the censorship of some of the contents coming from the west and the use of many social media channels, make it harder to communicate with countries where fashion is on the lead. In response to this, from 2001, Shanghai Fashion Week is one of the last ones on the calendar and hosts many of those talents that, despite having studied elsewhere, come back on the runway of their own country of origin. Accompanying the official schedule, Labelhood, an festival of art and fashion dedicated to homegrown talents.

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Familiar with the names of Alexander Wang, Philip Lim, Derek Lam or Vera Wang, Chinese-American designers for whom their culture of origin has never been a central inspirational vocation, today we acknowledge a new generation of designers that, in an ever-globalizing world, reaffirm their own heritage through their collections. Is it the dominant influence gained within international market or the desire of exploring personal identity that determined this shift in direction? If until recently Chinese consumers tended to invest on western brands, today, the growing desire to feel represented and the development of their market determined the propensity towards local designers over international ones. Designers, in their turn, claim a certain sense of pride and confidence, declaring as a starting point of their creative process their culture of origin.

Here follow the profiles of some of the designers changing the perception of Made in China once for all.

Angel Chen

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Born in Shenzeng and relocated to London at the age of seventeen, Angel Chen is one of the pioneers in China’s repositioning within the fashion industry. Right after having graduated from Central Saint Martins, class 2014, she launched her own eponymous label that showed at Shanghai Fashion Week on the same year. Her collections alternate elements belonging to the streetwear world to regional characteristics of Chinese craftmanship. With a colorful aesthetic and a singular way to match materials, her work’s main inspiration source remains the world of youth culture. In spite of her stable presence at Shanghai Fashion Week, Angel Chen presents her collections in western countries first. For three consecutive seasons in she showed Milan, while this year in New York, as part of the Tmall China day. Her SS19 collection is inspired to Madame Ching, legendary pirate lived during Qing and Ming dynasty.


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Marrknull was launched in Bejing in 2015 by the creative duo of Tim Shi and Wang Wei. Their aesthetics evolve around the commonplaces of Chinese popular culture. Last collection’s mains inspiration sources were China’s social landscapes and “real” people’s behavior within this context. Designers are fascinated by the way these characters dress and behave and they captured them in the act of taking pictures or selfies with the iconic metal stick in a campaign resembling Martin Parr’s style. Through an innovative way of deconstructing male silhouettes, attention to structural changes in clothing, and breaking gender limits, Marrknull’s collections take on a multicultural direction. After their debut on the runways of London, Shaghai and New York, this year they’ve been selected winners of VFILES runway show in New York.


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Xander Zhou

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Xander Zhou is Beijing’s young designer specialized in menswear apparel. His education began in his hometown with industrial design studies, to then develop his fashion education in the Netherlands. A character with an eclectic personality who identifies as his main style icon his mother with her hundred pairs of high heels. His starting point is the fabric and the way this relates to male silhouettes. His ability consists in creating a bridge connecting eastern and western culture. Protagonists of his last collection are in fact typical mandarin costumes collars, embroidered silk shirts and coats, Chinese dragons and ideograms, but also cargo pants and workwear.


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Text By Enrica Miller

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