Chinese fashion designers in Shanghai : identifying a fresh perspective about their role in the world order of fashion

Lindgren, Timothy (2012) Chinese fashion designers in Shanghai : identifying a fresh perspective about their role in the world order of fashion. In 4th Global Conference on Fashion : Exploring Critical Issues, September 16th-19th 2012, Mansfield College, Oxford. (Unpublished)

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Shanghai possesses an apt legacy, once referred to as “Paris of the East”. Municipal aspirations for Shanghai to assume a position among the great fashion cities of the world have been integrated in the recent re-shaping of this modern city into a role model for Chinese creative enterprise yet China is still known primarily as centre of clothing production.

Increasingly however, “Made in China” is being replaced by “Created in China” drawing attention to two distinct consumer markets for Chinese designers. Fashion designers who have entered the global fashion system for education or by showing their collections have generally adopted a design aesthetic that aligns with Western markets, allowing little competitive advantage.

In contrast, Chinese designers who rest their attention on the domestic Chinese market find a disparate, highly competitive marketplace. The pillars of authenticity that for foreign fashion brands extend far into their cultural and creative histories, often for many decades in the case of Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Christian Dior do not yet exist in China in this era of rapid globalisation. Here, the cultural bedrock allows these same pillars to extend only thirty years or so into the past reaching the moments when Deng Xiaoping granted China’s creative entrepreneurs passage.

To this end, interviews with fashion designers in Shanghai have been undertaken during the last twelve months for a PhD dissertation. Production of culture theory has been used to identify working methods, practices of production and the social and cultural milieu necessary for designers to achieve viability.

Preliminary findings indicate that some fashion designers have adopted an as-yet unexplored strategy of business and brand development with a distinct Chinese aesthetic at its core, in contrast to the clichéd cultural iconography often viewed by Western viewers as representative of Chinese creativity.

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ID Code: 56021
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: China, Shanghai, fashion, aesthetics, shanzhai, consumption, designer
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Textile and Fashion Design (120306)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Timothy Lindgren
Deposited On: 02 Jan 2013 05:48
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2013 23:02

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