|Chen Fengjie, chief designer of Shishi Guuka E-commerce Co., Ltd. checks details on a sample sweater of the new series of clothing designs in collaboration with Coca-Cola, in Quanzhou, southeast China's Fujian Province, Dec. 14, 2021. [Xinhua]|
FUZHOU, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) — Retro baseball T-shirts, aviator jackets and baggy hoodies await visitors entering a design workshop in Quanzhou, east China's Fujian Province.
However, there's something distinctive about these classic American-style apparel — they feature exquisite embroideries of Chinese cultural motifs.
As China's middle-class consumers expand in number and mature in taste, more and more homegrown manufacturers have now transcended imitating Western brands to become trendsetters of the Chinese consumer market.
"Young consumers in China today are enthusiastic about 'Made in China' products, which has created opportunities for domestic designer brands," said Hong Jiyun, director of retail operations at Shishi Guuka E-commerce Co., Ltd. in Fujian.
Earlier this year, Guuka released a new series of clothing designs in collaboration with Coca-Cola. The iconic red and white logo of Coca-Cola is inscribed on jackets and hoodies through traditional Chinese hand embroidery, showcasing an innovative fusion of Chinese cultural elements and international IP.
"Domestic brands that combine international trends with traditional Chinese culture and history are well received by Generation Z in China," Hong said.
"Chinese youths appreciate the attitude of being real and free in life, which perfectly matches the style of American campus clothing such as baggy jackets and jeans," said Liao Shaoping, CEO of JKCY, a costume brand, adding that designs like Chinese landscape paintings on American-style baseball jackets are very popular in China.
As Chinese hip-hop artists sprang up in talent shows in recent years, American hip-hop culture has become increasingly popular among youngsters in China.
"They have global awareness and are proud of their national culture," said Yang Jianfei, director of the Department of Cultural Industries Management, Communication University of China. "Chinese youth feel at ease to express themselves with rap songs. Many Chinese universities and schools have also adapted Chinese cultural stories into hip hop lyrics to earn the appreciation of Gen Z."
Yang added that Gen Z in China has shown openness and inclusiveness to American pop culture, and also demonstrated an interest in exploring domestic Chinese brands, which have exerted a powerful influence on Chinese fashion design.
Gen Z consumers, who were born and raised during the era of China's rapid economic growth, take pride in Chinese tradition and identity, and are open to Western cultures at the same time, said Zhang Qing, founder of Key Solution, a consulting firm based in Beijing.
"Confident young consumers go with the quality of the product and their own feelings, instead of falling for the myth of big brands," said Zhang.
He believes that with the continuous growth of China's economy and consumer market, the trend of Made-in-China fashion will gain momentum, attracting more consumers both at home and abroad.
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