Bicester Village is celebrating Chinese New Year — and its biggest consumer market — with a designer pop-up curated by fashion blogger Susanna Lau aka Susie Bubble. Titled “Celebrating China,” the pop-up includes pieces from 10 Chinese designers and will remain open from today until Feb. 17.
Bicester Village is a huge draw for Chinese consumers and according to the discount designer outlet, Bicester is the second-most visited site in the U.K. after Buckingham Palace for the Chinese. It also has a presence in China with two sister villages in Shanghai and Suzhou.
Of the 10 women’s wear designers, some already have a U.K. presence and others are using the opportunity to get more exposure, include Anaïs Jourden, I-Am-Chen, Marieyat, Matter Matters, Mukzin, Ryan Lo, Snow Xue Gao, Xu Zhi and Yang Li.
“I really wanted to do a pop-up that celebrated the real breadth of aesthetics that Chinese designers have to offer”, said Lau, who pointed to the variety of designs ranging from minimal to kitschy and graphic.
Lau, who hails from Hong Kong and has long supported Chinese fashion, is excited to provide an international platform for these young talents. While the timing is centered around Chinese New Year, she has steered clear of a particular theme.
“Apart from Mukzin, who is probably more aesthetically Chinese-looking, I purposefully didn’t want to do any clichés or any stereotypes because Chinese fashion isn’t about representing Chinese culture. I want people appreciating the clothes regardless of whether it is a Chinese designer or not,” she said.
The prints in Mukzin’s latest collection were inspired by Art Deco Chinese medicine packaging, while the brand has also done hoodies with pigs to celebrate the new year. During a dinner at Park Chinois in London to mark the launch of the pop-up, the designer Kate Han said her clothing is always influenced by Chinese culture, as well as by the pursuit of comfort and freedom. Dressed in a long-sleeve silver sequin shirt and printed T-shirt, she said she was working a Twenties disco diva vibe on the night.
The pop-up has been organized by designer and includes a selection of ready-to-wear pieces ranging from coats, knitwear and dresses to lingerie from designer Marie Yat. “It’s interesting that I haven’t gotten a lot of luck getting into lingerie stores, but I’ve had a lot of interest from fashion retailers as they seem to understand my contemporary approach to lingerie,” Yat said.
“When Susie got in touch with me and said that I’d be the only underwear label among all these women’s wear designers, I said yes straight away, because this is the environment I want my customers to have. They can buy an amazing coat and put a bra top on underneath and that is the ethos of my brand,” said Yat.
Other designers echoed Yat’s feelings. For Zhi Chen of I-Am-Chen and Kate Han, cofounder of Mukzin, both of them welcomed the exposure, and the opportunity to work with Lau, of whom they are fans.
“It is amazing to to have this great exposure in Bicester and it is incredible to work with Susie as she was the first fashion blogger I followed,” said Chen.
Han, too, felt that this would get their brand closer to her end goal of opening a brick-and-mortar store in the U.K. “I am very happy to be here because it’s my first time launching my clothes in London at a physical store. We sell online; in fact, we just got picked up by Asos, but I want more of a physical presence,” Han said.