These Are the Emerging Chinese Designers Everyone Was Talking about at Shanghai Fashion Week

    Chinese designers are starting to make names for themselves in Paris, New York, and London, but SFW is their chance to make an impression in their home market.
    Central Saint Martin's grad Minki Cheng was a favorite of Lane Crawford buyer Jillian Xin. (Photo by Katie Wallis)
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Consumer

    Shanghai Fashion Week is China’s undisputed champion platform for independent fashion design—particularly with the inception of the Labelhood platform for free-form presentations by emerging designers, now in its third season. This Autumn/Winter 2017 season of Shanghai Fashion Week showed a number of young design talents take major creative leaps, and it likely won’t be long before the world knows these emerging Chinese designers' names.


    WMWM (Photo by Katie Wallis)
    WMWM (Photo by Katie Wallis)

    The brainchild of Mushroom Song, a 2015 graduate of London College of Fashion’s master’s degree program, WMWM's somber, serious aesthetic has garnered overseas fans in larger numbers than at home, where flash is sometimes favored over substance.

    WMWM’s largely monochromatic collections with exaggerated, androgynous shapes, and demure, covered-up cuts have particularly struck a chord in the Middle East, where the brand’s tendency towards modesty, and exceptional quality of construction are both appreciated.

    “I wanted to go to London because the feeling there is different,” Song explained. “In China, they don’t have the same culture of art and fashion exhibitions, and they don’t really have a culture of fashion. In places like London and Paris, I can discover things that are unique and different.”


    Danshan (Photo by Katie Wallis)
    Danshan (Photo by Katie Wallis)

    An impressive menswear newcomer, Danshan is the creative baby of Danxia Liu (a woman) and Shan Peng Wong (a man) who both graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2012 and combine their masculine and feminine sides in a brand that largely feels transgendered, or perhaps more accurately, post-gendered. Oversized silhouettes and relaxed fits borrow heavily from womenswear and textural interest is paramount, for example by layering a furry sweater under a corduroy jacket and over rustling, wide-leg nylon pants.

    The design duo site as their greatest influence, “the way gender dynamics are changing and how this relates to fashion.”

    Yingpei Studio#

    Yingpei Studio (Photo by Katie Wallis)
    Yingpei Studio (Photo by Katie Wallis)

    There’s a romantic and feminine element to London College of Fashion grad Ying Pei’s ruffles and languidly cut wool suits for women, but it’s never overtly girly—it’s a more assured, quiet, largely monochromatic brand of femininity.

    “Of my favorite brands [at Shanghai Fashion Week], one was Ying Pei because I really liked the presentation, it was very considered," fashion curator and author of ‘Fashion China’, Gemma Williams said. "This season she’s really graduated to a really mature level. The show was incredible—I liked the feminine use of suiting fabrics, and I thought the cuts were really interesting,”

    Roomy plaid suit jackets are worn atop sleek mid-calf skirts with high slits, or narrow leg pants cropped to the ankle, while ruffled details of varying sizes and proportions adorned hemlines, pockets and seams. The impression is one of easy wearing and easy movement without compromising on elegant tailoring.


    Minki (Photo by Katie Wallis)
    Minki (Photo by Katie Wallis)

    Hong Kong-born Minki Cheng is one in a long line of Central Saint Martin’s graduates making their mark at Shanghai Fashion Week.

    A range of nicely tailored cotton shirt dresses proved a highlight of Minki’s Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, some nipped at the middle with a cape effect at the back, others with a straight, boyish cut and hi-lo hemlines.

    The brand is already stocked at Liberty in London, Dong Liang in China, Shine in HongKong
    Penelope in Italy and Sauce, Dubai—and after an impressive Shanghai Fashion Week debut that list is tipped to grow.

    Lane Crawford womenswear buyer Jillian Xin said: “Minki was strong with great silhouettes and use of color. It was the breakthrough collection this season.”

    Discover more
    Daily BriefAnalysis, news, and insights delivered to your inbox.