It’s arguable that the Chinese fashion design scene is hitting its stride this year. In the midst of the excitement in the run-up to New York Fashion Week, Opening Ceremony announced they’re stocking a wide range of Chinese designers at their New York City boutique for the first time, with co-founder Humberto Leon telling WWD that he finally feels China’s fashion community has their manufacturing and branding quality up to international standards. Featured labels include longstanding players in the international scene, like Beijing-based Xander Zhou, Lane Crawford staple Ms Min, and many more. Meanwhile, other Chinese fashion stars are gearing up to debut their collections on international runways for the autumn/winter 2016 season, and followers of London, Paris, and Milan Fashion Weeks can be certain they’ll see both new and familiar faces.
Yet others are maintaining a presence in the more local fashion scene, and their Instagram feeds are filled with insights into the work of some of China’s best budding and established talent. Keep reading below for 10 designers to follow for behind-the-scenes snaps and sneak peeks at what’s to come in time for spring.
Vivienne shows off her Joy & Peace heels at #nyfw! Vivienne Tam collaborated with the Joy & Peace footwear brand to create custom leather laser cut heels and boots to complement her #FW16 collection. The Joy & Peace x Vivienne Tam collection will launch this Fall in Joy & Peace stores in China, HK and Macau with plans to subsequently launch in the US. #JoyPeace #JoyandPeace #JoyPeaceHQ #Joy #Peace #JoyandPeacexVivienneTam
1. Vivienne Tam (@vivennetam)
Self-proclaimed to be the “Original Authentic ‘East-Meets-West’ Luxury Lifestyle Brand,” Vivienne Tam has a social media account full of photos unveiling the preparation behind her New York Fashion Week show, along with notifications of sales at her Soho store. The Guangzhou-born, Hong Kong-raised designer herself beams with enthusiasm in many of the pictures, but some might find it more satisfying to scroll through runway photos or her website for a more thorough look at her intricate designs.
2. Xiao Li (@xiaoli_studio)
The Qingdao-born, London-educated designer’s collections are most recognizable by their billowing silhouettes and candy-like colors. Xiao Li’s structured knits incorporate silicone detailing, while other collections boast equally innovative materials. British Vogue once described her style as “marshmallow chic.” She’ll be showing her autumn/winter 2016 collection at London Fashion Week later this month as part of the Mercedes-Benz International Design Exchange.
3. Masha Ma (@mashamainsta)
Beijing luxury fashion staple Masha Ma, who has dressed the likes of Lady Gaga and collaborated with Naomi Campbell, has been keeping her 12K followers in the loop about her autumn/winter 2016 collection via a black-and-white mood board with the occasional splash of color. Time magazine hinted in early 2015 that the designer has several Ma by Ma Studio shops planned for China and is aiming to get her high-end label to a more internationally recognized level.
4. Xander Zhou (@xanderzhou)
Aside from being an influential menswear designer, Xander Zhou is also the men’s fashion director at T Magazine China, the Chinese-language edition of the New York Times style guide. His photos feature both worlds, plus a sampling of his travels and commentary on Beijing life. Zhou was also the first China-based designer to get the rights to do a Star Wars-themed collection last year, but he’s since moved on after the release in January.
5. Young Chinese Blood (@youngchineseblood)
Young Chinese Blood is a brother-sister, Shanghai-based venture aiming to help China’s gentlemen look dapper with their collections of pocket squares, bow ties, wallets, and totes, all inspired by their favorite picks in art, literature, and architecture. Co-founder Xing Zhao’s Instagram account features sneak peeks at his classic, yet contemporary designs, plus gems in his own closet, like a vintage Balmain silk tie from Japan.
6. Ms Min (@msmin_official)
Xiamen-based designer Liu Min’s label, like many others in China, started out on Taobao and is now among the offerings at Lane Crawford, as well as Chinese boutique Dong Liang. In 2014, she made her debut at the Met Gala shortly after showcasing her spring/summer 2014 collection at London Fashion Week. Her latest Instagram updates feature her capsule collection for the year of the monkey, a series of beautifully embroidered bomber jackets, plus monochrome videos showcasing the movement of her 2016 Chinoserie collection.
7. Nicole Zhang (@nicolezhang1133)
Nicole Zhang has blossomed from her more sporty looks that premiered on the runway in 2013 into a designer with a penchant for sparkle. Her latest offerings include an all-gold shirt and pants set, a shimmery golden satin blazer, and embellished gold tunics, somewhat strangely mixed in with denim looks and off-the-shoulder dresses with frayed ends—and those aren’t even the wildest pieces in the collection. Zhang’s transformation might be an acquired taste, but her more simple outerwear is on offer at Dong Liang studio for old school fans.
8. Yirantian (@yirantian_official)
Jing Daily featured Yirantian Guo as a “Designer to Watch” in 2012, but now is a good time to add her to your feed if you haven’t already. The London College of Fashion graduate’s latest endeavor involves contemporary jewelry, featuring metallic statement earrings that complement a decidedly neutral palate for her spring/summer 2016 collection.
9. Uma Wang (@umawangofficial)
A regular at Milan Fashion Week, Uma Wang has long been a staple in the Chinese designer scene. Her alternate Instagram account @umastudio has more history, but her official account is the one that hints at what’s to come at her autumn/winter 2016 menswear show. It also provides a peek at the luxurious men’s coats for next season on display at her Paris showroom.
10. Triple-Major (@triplemajor)
This multi-brand concept store by Ritchie Chan features colorful and quirky collections from an international pool of independent designers, but they also produce their own line. The latest, called YAO, is a mix of unisex blazers, sweatshirts, leather sneakers, and printed totes, all featuring fun Traditional Chinese Medicine-inspired graphics.