Chinese fashion designers in Shanghai : a new perspective

Lindgren, Timothy (2013) Chinese fashion designers in Shanghai : a new perspective. In Heaton, Sarah (Ed.) Fashioning Identities : Cultures of Exchange. Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 143-157.

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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.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 64875
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: China, Shanghai, Fashion, Aesthetics, Shanzhai, Consumption, Designer
ISBN: 9781848882126
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
Current > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
Copyright Owner: © Inter-Disciplinary Press 2013
Copyright Statement: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of Inter
- Disciplinary Press.
Deposited On: 28 Nov 2013 23:14
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2014 19:21

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