The 16 finalists of the Yu Prize 2021 have been announced. The line-up includes an epoch-defining list of Chinese names, including London Fashion Week brands Dan Shan and Susan Fang, alongside Milan’s Shuting Qiu and Shanghai’s Shushu/Tong.
Roughly five years ago, the concept of an independent designer was unknown in China. Now, young trailblazing talents, often educated abroad, are working to transform China’s design reputation both locally and around the world. And while Chinese names have been appearing on international prize lists recently, (Chen Peng, for the Woolmark Prize), or growing their brands with international collaborations (such as nominee 8ON8), this line-up shines a light on lesser-known and up-and-coming domestic names — Oude Waag, Donsee10, Shie Lyu, At-One-Ment, Yueqi Qi, GARÇON BY GÇOGCN, Redemptive, Windowsen, and ZI II CI IEN are now all having a moment on the international stage too.
The Yu Prize is the brainchild of entrepreneur and investor Wendy Yu, founder of Yu Holdings. Yu, who recently launched her own C-Beauty line, Yumee, has put together an illustrious list of who’s who of industry professionals as part of her jury, including Diane Von Furstenberg and pioneers of the local industry like entrepreneur Edison Chen and Judy Liu, managing director of Farfetch China.
The winner will be announced at Shanghai Fashion Week in April 2021. Sponsorship includes a substantial cash reward (roughly £150,000), 12 months of mentoring from international experts and business incubation at Yu Holdings, plus a retail opportunity at Harrods. And in a race this close to call, all bets are off.