As China’s foremost authentic business-to-customer fashion exchange platform, FASHION ZOO has been playing a leading role in mediating multi-dimensional dialogues for the exchange of East-West fashion culture. It has maintained a close connection with young creative talents by integrating global resources as well as delving into and bringing out the entertainment side of fashion art.
FASHION ZOO is unique in that it gathers young talents, constantly brings original ideas to brands and designers and offers young generations free tickets to an unconfined fashion community.
The 2021 FASHION ZOO will undergo an all-around upgrade in terms of both form and content. It will start from the following five dimensions, namely creating immersive art experiences, developing cultural worldviews, encouraging creativity in youth, undertaking crossover and global debut projects, and promoting sustainable fashion. With this, FASHION ZOO will focus on rebirth, cultural sustainability, and artistic diversity, undertaking a brand-new journey of fashion in 2021.
Amy Fan, founder and CEO of FASHION ZOO, said, “FASHION ZOO believes that creativity is what drives business. By keeping integrating global resources and gathering young creators of global avant-garde fashion and art, we will shed new light on the global exchange of East-West culture and direct the attention of the society to the future of fashion. We will not only develop influential fashion aesthetics, but also put within reach the stories and works of young designers and artists from all over the world.”
In light of this, WWD China started a dialogue with Amy Fan and had an in-depth discussion on several issues related to China’s fashion industry, including fashion and art, rebirth and creation, “going global” and “bringing in,” and business and creativity.
The Mission of FASHION ZOO
In 2018, FASHION ZOO, China’s foremost authentic business-to-customer fashion exchange platform, was founded. “Today’s China is experiencing a ‘Renaissance’ and we are living in the ‘age of the spectacle.’ It is an epoch on the hunt for fresh things, and we did what we are doing.” Amy Fan was talking about the intention of founding FASHION ZOO, explaining that it was something she did to go with the flow. It is the right time as well as the right timing that makes the mission of FASHION ZOO.
Adhering to the concept of “No invitation is needed for a getaway to the fashion world,” FASHION ZOO has created an ultimate fashion community for the young generations across the globe. It integrates global fashion resources by joining hands with international top teams, while investigating the ecosystem of the pan-entertainment business of fashion. With an intention to promote the exchange of East-West fashion culture, FASHION ZOO not only helps Chinese brands to go global, but also brings international fashion content into China. This has greatly enriched China’s perception of fashion and given new insight into the international exchange of fashion culture.
In June 2019, FASHION ZOO hosted a fashion carnival in Shanghai. Featuring fashion, art, trend, and lifestyle, the event symbolized a voice from China to the international fashion runway. In September 2020, the second edition of FASHION ZOO was held successfully in Shanghai with seven world-class fashion shows put on in four days. Meanwhile, the Experience Lab (Independent Fashion Lab) was launched with young designers in China. One designer, Zhi Chen was invited to brainstorm ideas about creativity in fashion with four other young designers including Leaf Xia, Yayi Chen, NOSENSE, and OHLABOY.
It is now 2021. After three years of effort, FASHION ZOO has gradually developed into an ecological system encompassing IPEDIA Creator Alliance, FASHION ZOO fair, and FASHION ZOO studio to be released in August this year.
“FASHION ZOO acts as a medium of communication for Eastern and Western cultures, as well as for business, consumers, and creators”. Apart from helping Chinese designers go global, this year FASHION ZOO will also bring overseas designer brands into China to expand into new markets. In this regard, Amy Fan has positioned FASHION ZOO as a platform to “promote designers, facilitate cultural exchanges, and provide young people with a place to obtain information.”
IPEDIA Creator Alliance brings together young creators of art, culture, and fashion worldwide, and promotes their products through FASHION ZOO studio. Based on this, FASHION ZOO will build a sustainable fashion and business model. “By creativity and for creativity, we will promote China’s fashion and creative industries,” said Amy Fan who was referring to the role of FASHION ZOO as an ecology of fashion and art in building a closed-loop system of creative commerce.
FASHION ZOO under All-around Upgrade
In the current environment, the 2021 FASHION ZOO will undergo an all-around upgrade in terms of both form and content. It will delve into the fields of fashion and art, and incorporate issues with keywords of trend, art, sustainability, worldview, and the like. The 2021 FASHION ZOO will start a new journey of the art of fashion from five dimensions, namely creating immersive art experiences, developing cultural worldviews, encouraging creativity in youth, undertaking crossover and global debut projects, and promoting sustainable fashion.
As a preview of the 2021 FASHION ZOO to be held in September this year, a fashion art exhibition, “50 X 50 NEW BORN”, was held in HKRI Taikoo Hui from 25 March to 18 April. FASHION ZOO invited outstanding creators worldwide from various fields including fashion and art to create freely on the themes of “New Born and Sustainability” The event was a brand-new fusion of fashion and art as well as a cultural re-creation.
In “50 X 50 NEW BORN”, “X” means infinite possibilities, while 50 independent covers connect the inspiration and cultures of various fields through different windows, presenting 50 unique stories. When it comes to the concept behind the exhibition, Amy Fan remarked, “This exhibition brings together many avant-garde designers and artists to develop sources of inspiration, which represents our theme, ‘rebirth.’”
As for the second theme “sustainability,” Amy Fan enriched its definition to be an integration of fashion sustainability, cultural sustainability, and cultural exchange. “China has thousands of years of continuous history. As a platform for indigenous fashion design, we should inherit and innovate Chinese culture by combining traditional crafts with new trends. This is what ‘rebirth’ means in sustainable culture.”
“For fashion sustainability, we want to experiment in an interesting way with eco-friendly fabrics. We will cooperate with designers, artists, and supply chain experts in the industry to present and advocate through art exhibitions authentic sustainability to everyone in a simple and clear manner.” claimed Amy Fan.
Besides fashion sustainability, the 2021 FASHION ZOO will also focus on culture and art. “Culture is art, and art is fashion. They are always closely related to each other, just like soulmates.” For Amy Fan, cultures of the likes of fashion, art, music, science, and technology reinforce each other, and are mutually interdependent and equally indispensable. “Today’s fashion is not just about fashion. We should also accommodate more cultural aspects with an inclusive and comprehensive perspective.”
“The role of China is changing in the fashion industry. There is a huge market of nearly 400 million consumers of the post-90s generation. Meanwhile, with the rapid development of the internet, dividends brought by asymmetric information in the past are constantly decreasing. All these factors have led to an extremely active market. We want to promote cultural exchange by bringing fresh things from overseas into China.” said Amy Fan who maintained that cultural exchange was also an important part of sustainability.
At the end of March, along with the “50 X 50 NEW BORN” fashion art exhibition, FASHION ZOO launched its first fashion book FASHION ZOO BOOK.
As a response to the public opinion that FASHION ZOO BOOK is a fashion publication, Amy Fan explained, “In fact, it’s not a magazine. We define it as a fashion read created with an open mind as well as a book worth collecting. We believe that fashion is a part of the soft power and it should be educational. Given that, we worked with Donghua University Press and internationally renowned fashion schools including the University of the Arts London and Parsons School of Design to present to the public original fashion stories in the form of a magazine. We should note that, first, original fashion books in China are scarce. Second, books on stories about international fashion are all the more insufficient. That’s why we wanted to bring these fashion stories to the young generations in China.”
Many a Little Makes a Mickle: Facilitate the Development of China’s New Youth Culture and Fashion Industry Like a Drop in the Ocean
FASHION ZOO will work with CBNData to release “CBNData X FASHION ZOO X Youth & Insights Lab into New Youth Culture” on 1 April. With the data analysis by CBNData, FASHION ZOO will focus on the current new youth culture and offer the fashion industry a straightforward and accurate portrayal of the Z generation and Millennial consumers as well as the development of a wave of new youth culture.
When it comes to how individuals interpret the new youth culture, Amy Fan commented: “Cultural pluralism and the expression of personality are the two cores of the new youth culture. Cultural pluralism arouses the curiosity of young people, while the expression of personality evokes empathy.”
Trends come and go, and so does youth culture. Amy Fan talked about her intention to cooperate with CBNData, “Fashion comes and goes, and so does youth culture. Young people are constantly changing their minds and being categorized by cultural pluralism into different groups, which are attached with labels to form their distinct cultural themes. Based on our professional insights into the fashion industry and the great data analysis skills of CBNData, we want to come up with a formula for understanding the labels of young people and help them identify the culture they go for. Meanwhile, we also want to tell the market what young people are like at heart, and to develop their cultural understanding while reaching a cultural consensus among them.”
Continue to be a Bridge of Fashion Exchange between China and the International Community
As a newcomer, FASHION ZOO is steadily moving along its own path of development. Despite that it was founded less than three years ago, FASHION ZOO has not only become an original and pioneering platform in the domestic fashion industry, but also acts as a bridge of fashion exchange between China and the international community.
“I am not saying that we are playing a big role, but our vision is to become an important benchmark for China’s fashion and creative industries. However, alone we can’t realize this vision. We hope that more young people will join us. It is a time when the rapid growth of China’s fashion industry requires everyone to take part in promoting the entire industry. We are just a drop in the ocean.”
In the face of China’s burgeoning fashion market, Amy Fan observed: “China’s fashion industry is like a sleeping lion, but it’s waking up, ready to change the structure of global fashion industry.”
“First, China has 400-million-strong post-90s generation which consists of the most important consumers at the present. This brings a demographic dividend much larger than that in Europe and the United States. Second, due to the development of the internet and our increasing creativity, more and more young people in China are joining the art industry, which is a catalyst for the country’s creative industry. Lastly, the development of indigenous streaming media and social media in the nation breaks the limitation of time and space. Shanghai will become the forefront of fashion in the future. In a nutshell, in the current global fashion industry, China is a waking lion ready to lead the future of the world as one of the most important economies in the fashion industry.”
In the future, FASHION ZOO will continue to play its unique role in China’s fashion and creative industries in delivering new youth culture and as a bridge of global exchange of fashion culture. Moreover, FASHION ZOO is expected to make a profound transformation from B2B to B2C this year.