Chinese Contemporary Designers

  • December 13, 2011
  • Editor: Sun Xi
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The death of Mao Zedong on 9 September 1976 ended an era and led to the arrest of Mao's wife Jiang Qing and other members of the Gang of Four who rose to prominence during the Cultural Revolution.

The open-door policy and economic reforms which followed, created an environment in which people were receptive to the outside world and eager to make up for the 10 lost years of the Cultural Revolution. Dress was one of the first areas where attitudes were relaxed. Women began to wear coloured and patterned clothing, and accessories were emblazoned with English words such as 'happy' or 'beautiful' rather than 'serve the people'. Clothing which appeared foreign was perceived as modern.

The 1980s was a period of unprecedented experimentation with dress style. China's first fashion magazine Shizhuang (Fashion) was published in Peking in 1979. Since then such magazines have become popular reflecting the huge interest in personal appearance, beauty and consumer culture.

Woman wearing body-hugging knitted top, white gloves and sunglasses, early 1980s. [powerhousemuseum.com]

Woman wearing body-hugging knitted top, white gloves and sunglasses, early 1980s. [powerhousemuseum.com]


Contemporary Fashion: Mainland China

The contemporary fashion world in mainland China is vast, complex and there are many players. Most garments are produced by large state-run corporations and joint-venture companies established with overseas capital. Much design is therefore anonymous.

However, a growing number of designers have established their own labels and work independently. Many of them are young and entrepreneurial with a clearly identified market. They sell direct to customers or through up-market department stores.

Government agencies have played an active role in developing China's fashion industry. The China Garment Designers' Association has promoted the work of young designers since its inception in 1993. It organises fashion events such as the Golden Scissors Award for functional wear and the Japanese-sponsored Brother Cup for fashion designers under 35 which emphasises creativity over functionality. In 1996 the China Famous Brand Name Development Company was established to spearhead China's ambitions to create ten world-famous fashion labels by the year 2000.

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  • Chinese Contemporary Designers2011-12-13   Editor: Sun Xi

    The death of Mao Zedong on 9 September 1976 ended an era and led to the arrest of Mao's wife Jiang Qing and other members of the Gang of Four who rose to prominence during the Cultural Revolution.

    The open-door policy and economic reforms which followed, created an environment in which people were receptive to the outside world and eager to make up for the 10 lost years of the Cultural Revolution. Dress was one of the first areas where attitudes were relaxed. Women began to wear coloured and patterned clothing, and accessories were emblazoned with English words such as 'happy' or 'beautiful' rather than 'serve the people'. Clothing which appeared foreign was perceived as modern.

    The 1980s was a period of unprecedented experimentation with dress style. China's first fashion magazine Shizhuang (Fashion) was published in Peking in 1979. Since then such magazines have become popular reflecting the huge interest in personal appearance, beauty and consumer culture.

    Woman wearing body-hugging knitted top, white gloves and sunglasses, early 1980s. [powerhousemuseum.com]

    Woman wearing body-hugging knitted top, white gloves and sunglasses, early 1980s. [powerhousemuseum.com]


    Contemporary Fashion: Mainland China

    The contemporary fashion world in mainland China is vast, complex and there are many players. Most garments are produced by large state-run corporations and joint-venture companies established with overseas capital. Much design is therefore anonymous.

    However, a growing number of designers have established their own labels and work independently. Many of them are young and entrepreneurial with a clearly identified market. They sell direct to customers or through up-market department stores.

    Government agencies have played an active role in developing China's fashion industry. The China Garment Designers' Association has promoted the work of young designers since its inception in 1993. It organises fashion events such as the Golden Scissors Award for functional wear and the Japanese-sponsored Brother Cup for fashion designers under 35 which emphasises creativity over functionality. In 1996 the China Famous Brand Name Development Company was established to spearhead China's ambitions to create ten world-famous fashion labels by the year 2000.

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