FINE CHINA: The Shanghai Fashion Week organizing committee joined the Anglo-Chinese business consultancy ACTIVE Anglo Chinese Communications to host a pre-LFW forum called “Shanghai-London, an Urban Tale of Fashion and Creativity,” intended to facilitate exchange and potential collaboration in the fashion industry between the U.K. and China.

The forum was held at the Hospital Club with panelists including Hai Ye, partner at McKinsey & Co; Justin Peng, chief executive of multi-brand concept store Dongliang China; Jane Wang, vice president of Erdos Holding Group and founder of luxury cashmere brand 1436; and Jose Neves, founder and chief executive of Farfetch.

Ye said that by 2015, the GDP of Shanghai alone would exceed that of Poland and Portugal combined, and that by the same year 21 out of 25 of the world’s mega cities will be in developing nations. He also said that brick-and-mortar fashion businesses in China remain the most successful, and that 70 per cent of fashion sales there are branded.

Peng highlighted the influence of Chinese social media platform Weibo and the growth in popularity of homegrown designers in China. By contrast, Wang said that she’d faced challenges in trying to gain a foothold in a luxury market that is predominantly Western. Neves said that while he has solved the problem of selling to customers in China, the online marketplace that features designer products from independent boutiques was still struggling with how to get goods from Chinese boutiques to foreign shoppers.

The forum was part of Style Now Shanghai, the official campaign for the creative section of 2015 U.K.-China year of cultural exchange, which runs through Sept. 15-18, and includes an exhibition of fashion and art of Chinese designers, and a catwalk show for Haizhen Wang.

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