September 26, 2011

From manufacturing hub to fashion capital

Few may know that Shenzhen, Guangdong province, is not only the nation's garment capital, with 3,000 garment manufacturers employing nearly 500,000 people, but also home to world famous designers.
Monday marked Fashion Shenzhen's fourth appearance at London Fashion week, one of the "Big Four" fashion weeks worldwide.
Fashion Shenzhen, organized by the Shenzhen Garment Industry Association, is a creative arena for showcasing China's design and clothing manufacturing talent. It is also a platform for Shenzhen-based designers to show their latest works.
This year's fashion show featured two of Shenzhen's most prominent talents, Xie Haiping and Deng Hao, at Monday's catwalk in central London's Vauxhall Fashion Scout in the Freemason's Hall.
An exhibition displaying the works of another 20 fashion companies was held the same day at the Grand Connaught Rooms next door.
Xie is something of a London regular having exhibited in 2009 and 2010, whereas Monday saw Deng's London debut.
What Deng brought to the catwalk was a unique floral female knitwear collection that depicts regal Islamic mosques and traditional Chinese temples. The two distinct religious and cultural symbols are mixed to create a contemporary vision.
The collection, in royal reds and luscious greens, is called Flower Devil.
Sleek silhouettes elongate and enhance the female form. Arabesque knitted and printed patterns, creep up the dresses until they reach a floral boom.
Delicate knit and sheer materials are carefully and technically entwined, to create a fluid form. Simplistic soft cable knits have been inventively used to create stunning details.
In comparison, Xie's collection evokes images of beautiful spring days with bright colors and butterfly patterns.
A neon palette splashes color over the pure natural whites and creams, while tulle, taffeta and ruffles are used to create exaggerated, yet feminine, silhouettes.
The Shenzhen Garment Industry Association has made no secret of its ultimate aim to establish a permanent presence in the United Kingdom, with plans to promote more student collaborations between Shenzhen and the UK.
Founder of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout John Walford, who has been working with Shenzhen for the past three years, says: "It really is rewarding to see how this relationship has gone from strength to strength.
"This new exciting student exchange, Chinese collections in the UK and UK collections in China, becomes possible for the first time with the opening of the Shenzhen Fashion School next year," he says.
Watching the show, Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming said that Shenzhen is actually not just a garment manufacturing base, but "well-positioned to be China's fashion and creative capital".