What Happened: On December 5, the bold and the beautiful gathered in London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall to toast the fashion industry. Here, the British Fashion Council (BFC) announced the winners of the Fashion Awards 2022 — voted for by an international judging panel made up of over 1,000 industry experts including Jing Daily. Triumphs of the night went to Pierpaolo Piccioli, who scooped Designer of the Year for Valentino, and Burberry, which was presented with the Fashion Award for Metaverse World and Gaming Experience. Fifteen designers, brands, creatives, and individuals creating positive change within the fashion industry were also honored, including Alessandro Michele, Daniel Roseberry, Raf Simons, and Marine Serre.
Glamorous guests included Jean Paul Gaultier, Tilda Swinton, Ashley Graham, Eva Chen, and Jessica Wang while Bella Hadid joined by video link. Absent from the red carpet was Demna, creative director of Balenciaga, who had been nominated for Designer of the Year but had this rescinded due to a recent scandal involving a controversial campaign.
The Jing Take: The ties between the UK and China’s fashion industry are indisputable. In September, London Fashion Week hosted a record number of Chinese names on the schedule which speaks to the allure of the fashion council.
The showcasing initiative Newgen has been vital to this. Recognized at the ceremony, Newgen has been instrumental in supporting Chinese brands during its 30 years. Current recipients include Chet Lo and Yuhan Wang, while previous winners include Ryan Lo and Huishan Zhang. Additional names to receive additional BFC funding over the years run from Feng Chen Wang to Xiao Li.
The evening also celebrated five years of the BFC’s New Wave: Creatives; 2022’s lineup encompasses a number of Chinese talents such as the Shanghai-based multimedia artist Ming Ma and hairstylist Isaac Yu, Chengdu’s Wenqingao Reven Lei, and Chinese-Canadian stylist Julie Liu.
Despite the lack of Chinese attendees due to Beijing’s COVID policies, last night’s win for Valentino cemented the China market’s importance. 2022 has been an ambitious year for the Milan-headquartered house, and China received it well. Piccioli’s Valentino Pink PP collection (created with Pantone) has been spotted on Chinese stars and celebrities like Lay Zhang, Li Ronghao, and others. Localization strategies such as a takeover in the coastal city of Qinhuangdao’s Aranya district were highly effective. Now with 48 boutiques in the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, the luxury titan has achieved an ambitious offline expansion there.
Burberry’s metaverse nod was also notable given China’s growing importance in the digital sector and its increasing cohort of talent. The British company has executed a number of innovations in the country: from Tmall’s augmented fashion show to Douyin’s virtually monogrammed clothing. Indeed, on the night, Snapchatters back home were able to experience the awards through Snap’s AR technology, which featured an augmented accessory by the aforementioned Ma — a digital designer who now has 129,00 fans on Weibo and 68,000 on Xiaohongshu.
“The best part of this for me is to be included in a global community,” Ma told Jing Daily. Who knows, one day her online accessories might be giving Burberry a run for its money.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.