LONDON — Shanghai Fashion Week, the powerful fashion platform in the Greater China region, will release its official schedule on Tuesday, with a strong lineup of international designers, local talents and commercial power players such as Vivienne Tam, Jenny Packham, Shushu/Tong and Angel Chen.
This is the 17th year of the fashion week, which has become a stepping stone for global brands to enter the lucrative Chinese market. The stars of this year’s schedule include Xu Zhi, 8on8, Ximon Lee, Andrea Jiapei Li, Samuel Gui Yang, Sirloin and Yirantian, showing across the Xintiandi main venue and talent support platforms such as Labelhood and Xcommons.
Angel Chen said she will bring her Woolmark Prize creations to the Shanghai audience and cap off Labelhood as the final presentation for the fourth time. Yirantian, designed by Yirantian Guo, one of the most celebrated young local designers, will showcase her collaboration collection with 1436 Erdos, the luxury line of Erdos Group, the world’s largest cashmere manufacturer.
Berlin-based Ximon Lee, an LVMH Prize finalist and H&M Design Award winner, will present a “delightful” and easy-to-wear capsule collection with Peacebird. Andrea Jiapei Li, a New York-based designer known for her clean and feminine touch, said she’s excited to show in Shanghai again. “My fall 2019 collection, which is inspired by the strong female leads in space-themed movies, will be shown in an unconventional format, a hybrid between a presentation and a runway show in a retro-futuristic setting,” she said.
Other highlights from the schedule include Anaïs Jourden, Deepmoss, Awaylee, Evening, Wan Hung, C+ Series, Anirac, Yoeyyou and Ji Cheng. Details of the week will be released during a press conference Tuesday at the Langham Hotel in Xintiandi, Shanghai.
American-Chinese designer Vivienne Tam has skipped New York to show her fall collection in Shanghai, as well as a collaboration with smartphone brand Honor, under the Shanghai International Fashion Showcase initiative. British designer Jenny Packham, who is known for dressing key royal members, and Paris-based Faith Connexion will also show with them. American brand Nicole Miller will also show in Shanghai.
Shanghai is the fashion and retail hub of China. In 2018, 835 brands opened their first Shanghai store, 301 of which were the brands’ first in the Chinese market, according to the Shanghai Fashion Week committee. The city also has a history of being the trendsetter in China — and beyond — since the early 20th century.
In recent years, with the development of modern trade shows, the showroom business, the support of young design talents, and the ever-growing appetite for fashion, Shanghai has truly become the fashion hub in the region.
Shanghai has grown because of Xiaolei Lv — or Madame Lv to the local industry — who is vice secretary-general of the Shanghai Fashion Week committee. Now, she would like Shanghai to transform emerging talents into real businesses.
“In the beginning, I appreciated young creatives and encouraged them to showcase at Shanghai Fashion Week, so that they could get good exposure. Today, I hope to see the transformation from creativity to commercial viability, to build the foundation of sustainable development and achieve greater breakthroughs in business. I believe most of the young designers who are now in the industry have been thinking and planning more carefully about their brand development,” said Lv.
Terence Chu, founder of the Shanghai International Fashion Showcase initiative, and Apax Group, an official strategic partner to Shanghai Fashion Week since 2014, said “SIFS is a unique cross-continent showcase platform. We not only bring international brands to China to do a show, but we also provide business opportunities and services, generating cross-border pop-up exhibitions, carrying e-commerce and sourcing cross-border design products to the consumer market.” SIFS takes place alongside Shanghai Fashion Week.
The crème de la crème of Shanghai Fashion Week — and the big attraction for most of the buyers and press — are the Western-trained Chinese fashion designers. Wherever they are based — London, New York or Berlin — they migrate to Shanghai twice a year to showcase their best work.
The latest additions to the community this season are the LVMH Prize finalists Susan Fang and Caroline Hu. Other brands to watch include At-one-ment by Wanbing Huang, Ming Ma, Swaying, Oude Waag and M Super Avernir.
“Shanghai is the place where I get a sense of home. A lot of my close friends live there too,” said Caroline Hu, whose creations American Vogue described as “her dresses belong at the Oscars.” This is her first show in China.
The trade show business is as important as the runway for Shanghai. There are seven official trade business partners for Shanghai Fashion Week: Mode Shanghai fashion trade show, Alter showroom, DFO showroom, Ontimeshow Shanghai Westbund, Not showroom, Tube Showroom and Showroom Shanghai.
Mode Shanghai, backed by the Shanghai Fashion Week Committee, has hired Oliviero Baldini, a longtime collaborator with Pitti Uomo, to create an elevated experience for the visitors and exhibitors.
Jane Zhang, director of the exhibition operation of Mode Shanghai, said, “This season, we continue to be a solid backbone for Chinese brands to achieve commercial breakthroughs. We also welcome 426 brands and showrooms from 28 countries, including the United States, Japan, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Denmark and Thailand, to join the local brands to give visitors an extraordinary experience.”
Ontimeshow has partnered with the British Fashion Council on its China partnerships strategy, and that alliance will see Roksanda and Peter Pilotto touching down at Shanghai Fashion Week with a stand-alone showroom inside.
“There is an appetite for upscale designer brands with distinctive style in the market. Roksanda and Peter Pilotto are two great examples. I am sure this trip will open many doors for them, and we welcome more brands to join Ontimeshow in the coming seasons,” said Ontimeshow founder Yeli Gu.
Meimei Ding, chief executive officer of DFO, said “We will present 30 brands from 13 countries, including Manish Arora, Osman, Rochas, Joseph, See by Chloé and Charlotte Olympia. Atelier Swarovski also returns for its sixth season. With its 2018 growth at over 35 percent, DFO will also be the designated partner for sales and operations for Tranoï Shanghai.”
Zemira Xu, founder of Tube showroom, which represents some of the most creative and fun brands, such as Xiao Li, Shush/Tong, Xu Zhi and Steven Tai, said she has hired Makoto Toda, the former Beams buying director, to provide professional product and market consultancy for designers in the showroom. The showroom will also host fashion shows for Short Sentence and Staffonly on the opening night press preview.
Not showroom boasts an equally well-curated selection, with designers such as Samuel Gui Yang, Shuting Qiu and At-One-Ment by Wanbing Huang. As a part of the collaboration with the Paris accessory trade show Premiere Classe, European accessories brands such as Maison Boinet and Aristide will showcase in Shanghai this season. “We will provide follow-up service for the brands to make sure they have a successful China launch,” said Ying Zhang, owner of Not showroom.
Ian Lin, founder of Shanghai Showroom, whose volume has expanded almost six times since 2014, believes Shanghai has firmly held its position at the top of the fashion pyramid in the region.
“Backed by China’s expansive market, there is only one true Chinese fashion week that can be accommodated,” Lin said. “Shanghai Fashion Week took the chance and become the undisputed platform. From now on, its peers have little chance of success.”