Chinese Creativity: Who Are The Emerging Designers?

    Chinese designers seem to be split into a few movements, informed by a handful of emerging trends. Here are some of the emerging Chinese designers we're watching closely.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    Jing Daily Picks Some Of China's Top Designers#

    Beijing designer Vega Wang (Image: Sina)

    Last month, Reuters quoted fashion executives and designers as saying that Chinese designers “will drive catwalk trends more than deep-pocketed Asian buyers as China’s creativity becomes fashions’ next big thing.” While China’s money has been an economic driver, and Chinese design cues have been picked up by some designers, the next part of fashion's eastward tilt may be the rise of Chinese creativity.

    As designer and retailer Elio Fiorucci told Reuters, “the next big issue for fashion is not China's economic boom but Chinese creativity," adding that while the Western world knows little about China’s aesthetic sensibility, China’s emerging designers may surprise us, since they have the talent and a deep knowledge of the Western fashion world. Gianluca Brozetti, Chief Executive of Roberto Cavalli, qualified these sentiments by saying that while the culture and creativity of Chinese designers will certainly be appreciated in the West, it will take time to make a major impact due to the lack of economic power.

    Editor, blogger, journalist and media figure Hong Huang believes that China’s fashion climate needs additional confidence, since Hong sees the fact that the Chinese market constantly looks for Western confirmation before being ready to buy. With Shanghai Fashion Week about to kick off, and Beijing Fashion Week just around the corner, Jing Daily is looking forward to the newest collections by some of the top emerging designers in China. Some we're watching closely:


    La Vie#

    Shanghaiist described her as a “soft-handed Vivienne Tam” and with a focus on being an ethical and eco-friendly designer, Jenny Ji is looking towards the future.

    A look from Jenny Ji's October runway show (Photo Courtesy of Shanghaiist)

    Uma Wang#

    Recently profiled by Vogue Italia, Uma Wang proves to have more of an international profile and appeal than many of her contemporaries.

    A look from Uma Wang's Fall Winter 2010 Collection (Photo Courtesy of Uma Wang)

    Qiu Hao#

    Qiu Hao is another designer who doesn’t take Chinese references literally, instead choosing to underline his designs with a subtle Chinese design philosophy.

    A Woolmark Prize winner (previous winners include Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent), Qiu Hao presents Chinese individuality in his collections, most of which feature his signature knots and fluid draping.

    A look from Qiu Hao's Fall Winter 2010 Collection


    Zhang's personal brand, Na(too), regularly creates wearable yet quirky designs, which explore the connections between people, fashion and the environment though unique cutting and use of fabric.

    An image from the Na(too) Fall Winter 2010 lookbook


    Vega Zaishi Wang#

    Naming designers Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester as influences, Vega Zaishi Wang creates design concepts for each of her collections, the latest being a "Cape” series, with each look individualized with personal touches like irregular hand-stitching. As Wang recently said, her latest series is designed “to encourage Chinese girls to become stronger, more confident, and independent,” and we hope that her future collections express equally strong viewpoints.

    Vega Zaishi Wang design

    Xander Zhou#

    Xander Zhou's First Menswear Collection in 2007

    Zhang Chi#

    Zhang Chi's Fall Winter 2010 Ad Campaign (Photo Courtesy of Zhang Chi)

    Lu Liu#

    Lu Liu in her Beijing boutique (Photo: LumDimSum)


    NE-TIGER's designs are imbued with Chinese design and cultural elements

    Hong Kong#

    Barney Cheng#

    Barney Cheng's Spring 2011 collection (Photo: ButterBoom)

    Alex Wang#

    Not to be confused with New York's Alexander Wang, Hong Kong designer Alex Wang's creations echo the extravagance of his peer Barney Cheng. Employing intricate beading and embroidery, Wang's designs are a regular sight at red carpet events.


    Chinese designers seem to be split into a few movements, informed by a handful of emerging trends. The first, which encompasses designers like Zhang Zhifeng of NE-Tiger and Jenny Ji of La Vie fall into the "East meets West" trend, following older fashion houses like Shanghai Tang or, to a lesser extent, JNBY.

    Another trend is the Beijing-Shanghai split. While Shanghai fashion designers seem to prefer the deconstructed, with a particular focus on draping and quirky shapes, Beijing designers agonize over careful tailoring and severe colors. With China’s Fashion Weeks coming up and Chinese creativity now firmly in the spotlight, Chinese designers now have a platform from which to prove themselves to the international fashion world and broadcast their often uncelebrated talent.

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