International Young Fashion Designer Competition, Marisfrolg, Nuit Blanche, Jefen By Frankie Attract International Attention
Last week saw the 13th annual China Fashion Week kick off in Beijing. With around 50 events, including fashion shows, professional competitions, conferences and forums held during the week, schedules were definitely packed.
As fashion week winds down — it ends tomorrow, March 30 — several outlets have posted photo and video highlights. Today, the Huffington Post has a good slideshow of China Fashion Week’s “Trippiest Get-ups,” with shots of experimental designs from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and Taiwan Shih Chien University Graduates Show. Additionally, coverage on Stylites in Beijing has been, as expected, particularly active, and 163.com (Chinese) has photos from every show that’s taken place this week.
This video from 6.cn (Chinese) gives a good overview of some of the highlights of this year’s fashion week. Even if you can’t understand Chinese, the visuals stand for themselves.
While it’ll be a while until China Fashion Week can stand among the ranks of London or New York Fashion Week, a quick glance at some of the photo slideshows is convincing enough that collections by Chinese designers are improving by the year. If the point of fashion week is to gain as much attention as possible both for individual brands as well as the Chinese fashion industry as a whole, then China Fashion Week will likely be considered a mixed success — far more successful at home than abroad, although coverage of the events has been surprising, with outlets like the Huffington Post, the BBC and the Associated Press posting slideshows.
However, without the participation of major fashion houses, and without any widely-known Chinese brands to attract the attention of global media, China Fashion Week hasn’t made the same waves as, say, Asia Week in New York. As Wang Qing, chairman of China Fashion Week Organizing Committee told the Global Times last week, many top brands were interested in taking part, but the committee’s rules excluded them:
We insist on and pursue originality and exclusiveness, otherwise our fashion week will become purely commercial promotion, which is not the direction China Fashion Week goes.
Although, as the Global Times notes, many of the country’s up-and-coming designers were included in China Fashion Week, several A-list Chinese designers decided not to take part, with Zhang Zhaoda and Luo Zheng saying that their resources only allow for one fashion show per year and that Spring/Summer is a more lucrative option. Designer Liang Zi also told the Global Times that she only participates in Spring/Summer fashion events.
It appears that, for the lesser-known designers or students and recent fashion graduates, China Fashion Week is an excellent platform to get their names out there. But in terms of attracting substantial international attention — which might not be the aim of most smaller brands anyway — it’s not the right venue, at least right now. Nonetheless, according to participants and attendees like South Korean designer Lea Seong, who said she has taken part in both Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter fashion weeks in China for the past four years, “every year [China Fashion Week is] getting better.”