posted in: FEATURES

Text Eva Volpi Photo Gunnar Tufta


Young and ingenious Chinese designers are conquering the runways lunching new trends and style philosophies




Fashion has always been a focal point for Asian culture. Especially in China and Japan where style was not only connected to elegance but also represented social status.
Royals exhibiting their power and magnificence by wearing luxurious dresses made of shiny silk and adorned with intricate patterns and designs.




China’s history was marked by royal dynasties since 221 B.C. with the Qin Dynasty to Qing Dynasty that ended in 1911 A.D. All these centuries of imperial power has affected China’s trends in fashion and style.

Clothing was an instrument in creating an aura of power, symbols of the emperors rule and power. It served to distinguish the civilized from the barbarous and the rich from the poor.

One of the most popular traditional fashion trends is Cheongsam, called in Chinese Qipao 旗袍. The Chinese apparel Qipao is made of silk and embroidered with thick laces trimmed at the collar. It became popular among ladies of the royal family in the Qing Dynasty, because it shows off the woman’s silhouette and enhance the natural beauty of the female figure making women’s body and legs appear slender.

China’s fashion is not only Qipao related, its creative power went beyond that signature piece, influencing many more trends that spread not only in the Asian territory but also in the western countries. The impact of Chinese aesthetics was the main focus of the “China Through The Looking Glass” exhibition held a few months ago at the MET in New York.

The exhibition illustrates the influence on western fashion that Chinese garments have made throughout its history, not only during the imperial period but also during Nationalism and The Popular Republic.


In the exhibition the traditional Chinese Qipao dress is seen as a link between the imperial period and modern China and also presents to visitors a style connection between east and west.
Western Haute Couture such as Paul Poiret, Alexander McQueen, Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent creations are displayed alongside traditional Chinese costume, pottery and work of art.

This east and west fashion pairing proves how much Chinese culture, style, calligraphy and art had influenced and inspired the western world.

Not only China’s culture influenced the western world, but also the western fashion industry influenced the rising Chinese fashion designers.

In 1949 under Communist rules, western dress was shunned and to show equality people of all classes wore the Mao Suit composed by plain trousers and a tunic with a mandarin collar. Now China opened up towards the western world, and is creating its own style concept based on a mix and match between traditional and western culture.

Currently young and ingenious Chinese designer are conquering the runaways lunching new trends and style philosophies, spreading them across the global fashion industry.

Chinese fashion scenarios are more active and creative then ever.


This is the case of Vega Zaishi Wang, a young womenswear designer based in Beijing that conquered the indie scene. Her fashion philosophy ,deeply influenced by UK style and designers like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, is based on creating harmony between the human form and the abstract geometries of clothing.

This concept is fully expressed in her S/S 2016 collection “I’m Rooted But I Flow”

Another ground breaking designer is Shangguan Zhe, that after graduating from Xiamen University,founded the menswear label SANKUANZ based in Xiamen.
Shangguan Zhe style includes urban wear, sportswear and deconstructed lines and his designs reflect the expression of different cultures, mixing classic and pop elements creating unique menswear garments.

Also the Chinese label Renli Su aims to combine tradition with modern innovation using the highest quality fabrics like silk combined with raw materials like cotton. Renli Su brings the elegance and fineness from historic times to modern life and for this S/S 2016 collection draw inspiration from colours in artworks and women in Victoria era.

China’s fashion scene is still developing and its gaining more and more influence, as proves Opening Ceremony that has dedicated an entire year to emerging Chinese designers, giving them the exposure they need to grow in a new market. So Chinese new fashion era has just begun and has a bright future ahead.


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