Nostalgia Syndrome: China Local Originals Need Breakthroughs

September 2nd, 2013 by under Arts and Culture, China, Fashion. No Comments.

In history, China is known for three scissors: scissors for hairdressing, cooking, and tailoring. Just look at the runway, one can easily name a handful of designers with Chinese pedigree: Anna Sui, Derek Lam, Jason Wu, Phillip Lim, Vera Wang, as well as younger labels such as Doo.Ri, Uma Wang, CHICTOPIA, and etc. We take pride in our craftsmanship. Ever wonder why so many luxury brands have factories in China? Not just because the labor cost is low. We have good tailors! Don’t get surprised when you see a hand embroidered and embellished evening gown is made in China!

When I was about to depart China for another year’s MBA life in the States, I revisited some of Beijing’s trendy locations in a bid to discover some original designs, and I was somehow disappointed.

The following photos were taken in three different boutiques. The locations are ideal. The decorations and store layouts are cool. The clothes are well made and expensive enough. But they all look the same! Why do all Chinese original designs have to be zen, silhouette, and some what shouting “Chinese”.

Alexander McQueen once said “It’s a new era in fashion – there are no rules.” Fashion design is a highly creative process that embraces endless diversity – from contemporary to luxury, from classic to fast fashion, from modern to vintage. Instead of a “Chinese” style, the designers should focus on their own styles.  The ubiquitous retro theme is making “China original design” losing its taste.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have confidence in China design. I just set a higher standard for these up-and-coming designers who are endowed with enviable talents and aesthetic. After  all, difference makes the world a better place.

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