Shanghai Holding Its Own Among Established Fashion Capitals

    Asian design powerhouses like Hong Kong and Shanghai have made great strides on this year's fashion capital ranking, with Shanghai in particular surprising many by beating out Tokyo.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Finance

    Report By Nonprofit Group Global Language Monitor Ranks Hong Kong World's #2 Fashion Capital Behind New York, Shanghai Ranked #12#

    In today's list-crazy world, Shanghai may be ranked China's most luxurious city and one of the world's top 10 in terms of retail spending, but according to the nonprofit group the Global Language Monitor, Shanghai is among the world's top fashion capitals as well. As Luxury Insider (via China Daily) points out, this year New York topped the list of global fashion capitals -- reclaiming the spot from Milan -- Asian powerhouses like Hong Kong (this year's #2) and Shanghai (#12) have made great strides, with Shanghai in particular surprising many by beating out Tokyo (#14) this year.

    From China Daily:

    "The Orient is definitely where Westerners wish to check out about fashion," said Chinese fashion critic Lin Jian.

    Ji Cheng, a Shanghai-based designer who flies frequently to the world's fashion centers for shows, sees more energy in the upcoming fashion capital of Shanghai.

    "You have to admit Hong Kong is a more matured fashion destination - at least 20 to 30 years more advanced than Shanghai, but there's a gap between the well-established designers like Vivian Tam who are now 53 and the new generation of Hong Kong designers," she said.

    "As for Shanghai, which I see more as the gathering place for young freelancers and newcomers, a growing number of designers are making the difference," she said.

    Professor Bian Xiangyang from Shanghai-based Donghua University caught a hint of economic influence on the fashion list by saying "international influence is a necessary element to make sure you're on the list".

    "Because of its depressing performance from an economic perspective in recent years, Japan doesn't have the same impact it used to have. While with Expo 2010 Shanghai on the horizon, Shanghai caught up," he said.

    Although Shanghai's growing prominence on this and other "world's best" lists should please many in the city's fashion industry, observers are quick to point out that the results should be taken with a grain of salt. As rankings for this year's Top Global Fashion Capitals list were compiled by tracking the frequency of words and phrases in print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere rather than broader statistical analysis, some like Bao Mingxin of Donghua University, doubt the list's credibility. As Bao told China Daily, "Couch potatoes with no fashion experience could say something on the Internet nowadays."

    Skepticism aside, it's hard to argue that the presence of Chinese designers on the world stage won't become more pronounced in coming years, particuaraly as they've had some pretty high-profile support in recent months from companies like Hermes -- whose soon-to-launch Shang Xia sub-brand is completely in the hands of homegrown Chinese designers -- and Hong Huang's Brand New China.


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