Poesia by Chris Chang, Backstage SS14. Photo by Fender Hsu
China produces some of the most innovative fashion design in the world, yet its presence in the west has remained largely elusive. But progress is being made through connections in (significant) baby steps, most notably through the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture's invitation to Ma Ke to become a guest member in 2008 for her haute couture line WUYONG, and the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Exchange Program’s 2012 invitation to Uma Wang to meet with Anna Wintour in New York. However, we're still missing that comprehensive overview of the who's who of Chinese fashion.
Enter Fashion China, the first highly-illustrated introduction to the contemporary Chinese fashion scene, to be published in March by Thames and Hudson. A showcase for the country’s hottest design talent, the forty one featured brands have been chosen by author Gemma A. Williams together with a panel of industry insiders and experts.
Until now, the language barrier has limited the English-speaking world’s access to Chinese fashion but with this new title, Williams opens up an overlooked but incredibly rich seem of talent and creativity. Published to coincide with one of two fashion weeks held each year inChina (Shanghai and Beijing), Fashion China features over 350 illustrations that demonstrate why and how Chinese fashion is unique and cutting edge - from opulent couture to avant-garde minimalism, and from bold patterning to street chic.
In her foreword, Chinese media powerhouse Hung Huang (television host, author, actress, the publisher of fashion magazine iLook and one of the most widely-read bloggers in China) champions the ambitions of Chinese fashion whilst interviews with all the designers reveal their training, inspirations, motivations and outlook, as well as how they view their work in the context of the global fashion industry.
Long of great importance to the international luxury market, and renowned as a manufacturing base for western clothing brands, Fashion China reflects China’s place on the world stage today and, in particular, it’s growing cultural and artistic confidence. Many of the designers featured in the book trained at world-renowned fashion colleges (including Huishan Zhang, Uma Wang and Qiu Hao, who all trained at Central St Martins in London) and are at the vanguard of an increasingly globalised contemporary fashion industry, whilst also opening up Chinese culture to new audiences. As supermodel Liu Wen puts it in the book, ‘fashion has always been about sharing art and culture and this book will be a great reflection of what China has to offer.’ Original, authoritative and ahead of the curve, Fashion China is an essential new must-read for design students, buyers, retailers and fashionistas everywhere.
Fashion China, published by Thames and Hudson, is available on 9th March for £18.95.
Gemma A. Williams is an Irish-born fashion curator and writer currently living in London. Her practice creates and promotes fashion narratives, with a particular emphasis on emerging fashion designers and markets. She has worked for Alexander McQueen, Modemuseum in Antwerp, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, London College of Fashion and the British Council.
Xander Zhou, photo by Trunk Xu