Young designers shine at China Fashion Week
Wed, 25 Mar 2009 12:00a.m.
China Fashion Week kicked off in Beijing on Tuesday and the stage was given to young designers from China and around the world. Artistic entries dominated as young designers tried to make a splash and stand out from the crowd.
Design students and a few young professionals showed their creative ideas and flowing fabrics as they competed for the 17th International Young Fashion Designer Contest - the "Hempel Award."
Jiang Zuo, a student designer at the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology, says elaborate white designs are inspired by the theme of "watching," but involve fully or partially obstructed faces on each model. She says the feeling they give her is of guests at a gala celebration wearing masks.
Young Norwegian designer Renate Nipe, of the International Fashion University Group (ESMOD), wanted to convey a sense of strength and "manliness" on her female models using puffy down and exaggerated upper body portions. This was a common theme for other fashions as well - "Power Gene" and "Spirit of Warriors" for example with clothing styled after ancient armour.
Some designs were more traditional or inspired by ancient traditions and handi-crafts like flower patterned peasant cloth or paper cut craft.
Glamorous bright red dresses inspired by traditional Chinese paper cut artwork were presented by Chinese freelance designer "Jenny" from Hunan Province in Central China. The geometric folds give cloth a sense of paper.
The top honours also went to a less avant garde entry from Design Student Chen Jiawei from Shenzhen University in Guangdong province. She says her theme was of simple lines and dots, together with basic patterns and natural comfortable cloth.
"I just want to have a bit of break through with my design. I want to make things that are very creative but still ready to wear. That will find a place in the market. I think that is the way to get people's attention and respect."
But veteran model Liu Huan, who has participated in a number of China Fashion Weeks said this year felt more "artsy" to her.
"In the beginning, we were kind of traditional and practical styled clothing. But this year, we models have put on the clothes and been feeling very artsy."
Green "living" themed fashions inspired by growing vines also took the stage, delivered by student designer He Fang from Tsinghua Academy of Art & Design.
Bold women in red and gold clothing themed as "Spirit of Warriors" marched fiercely on the stage, while some of the models carried shields or wore imitation chain mail on their faces.
The flashy outfits were designed by Staili Nabila from Morroco who at the College of La Salle.
Men were not excluded completely, but the focus was definitely on women. Dressy business and business casual offerings were shown in shades of black and gray.
According to China Fashion Association President Wang Qing, business is good - even against the backdrop of a global financial crisis that is hitting the Chinese textile industry especially hard.
"From the development direction and size of this year's Fashion Week we can see that we haven't really felt a huge impact (from the financial crisis). There is a reduction in the number of International brands. But domestic brands and designer press conferences have clearly increased," said Qing.
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