They might not yet be the biggest names rocking the global fashion scene but they are no less determined to make their mark on London’s catwalks.
At the Spring/Summer 2013 London Fashion Week from September 14 to 18, some of China’s best young designers showcased their sartorial creations, which combine Asian tradition with Western influences.
Here is a handy guide to four emerging Chinese designers who are poised to influence international catwalk trends in the near future.
Zhang Hui Shan
The 29-year-old Qingdao native, known for his fresh take on traditional Chinese motifs, presented his debut collection at London Fashion Week over the weekend. The designer showed off his signature 'cheongsam with a twist,' updating them with detachable crystal-embellished collars, subtle prints, and colbalt blue and aquamarine dresses.
Zhang graduated from London’s prestigious Central St Martins two years ago and spent a year at Christian Dior before starting his own label.
Testament to this designer’s rising star was that one of his creations was selected to be part of the permanent collection at the London Victoria & Albert Museum’s T.T. Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art in May this year.
Zhang’s couture line ‘Dragon’ dress, a reinterpretation of the traditional Chinese cheongsam outfit, was taken from his graduate show at the Central Saint Martins.
"When I first met him, I thought he was the first young designer who was a perfect creative fusion between East and West, a voice we've been waiting to hear," Sarah Mower, US Vogue contributing editor, told China Daily earlier this year.
Born in Beijing, Kim Kwang began his career designing for Jimmy Choo’s Couture Shoe collection, as well as at Louis Vuitton for two years before venturing out on his own with his own line of shoes.
A graduate from the London College of Fashion in footwear design and Milan’s Instituto Marangoni, this prodigious shoe designer told 1968 magazine that he liked to “push boundaries in combining masculine strength with feminine confidence, juxtaposing sensual proportion that exaggerates the female shape with dominant structural high heels.”
Known for having a bold vision of luxury, Kwang’s signature look is his ‘Red Lick’ shoes. Prices of his shoes range from £350 to £1,600 (approximately €435 to €1985).
“Spring/Summer 2013 combines my passion for detailing using contrasting materials such as pony, patent leather, cork, suede and baby calf with my fascination in London’s vibrant street culture, the Mediterranean sea, Mondrian’s colourful paintings and asymmetric shapes,” was how he described his Spring/Summer 2013 collection.
Sometime in the near future, Kwang revealed, he will be adding womenswear and menswear to his oeuvre.
Hailing from Da Lian in north China, Yang attended Central Saint Martins, where she studied fashion print and fashion womenswear. After graduation, she honed her skills at Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon and John Galliano. Today her ready-to-wear pieces and accessories are stocked at home-grown designs boutique Brand New China in Beijing and famous Hong Kong retailer Joyce at Tsim Sha Tsui.
Her trademark creation is the ‘Hippo’ mini dress and prices of her outfits range from £180 to £3,000 (approx €225 to €3715) .
For her Spring/Summer 2013 collection, she said her sources of inspiration were Prague and Pinocchio.
Vogue China’s editorial director Angelica Cheung declared her support for this homegrown designer during this season’s London shows on Vogue China’s Weibo microblog.
Ji Cheng is already a famous name in China, having been honored with the Shanghai Creative Leaders Award and Hurun Fashion Pioneer Award.
Cheng studied fashion in London and Milan and gained work experience at Krizia and Missoni before returning to her native Shanghai in 2002, when she established her prêt-a-porter line, "La Vie."
She has several boutiques in China, having expanded her product line from womenswear to wedding gowns. In 2010, she launched her third store in the Xintiandi Style mall in Shanghai. Last year she presented her haute couture collection ‘Red Candle’ at Shanghai Fashion Week as well as her ready-to-wear collection ‘The Embroidery Lady’ in partnership with Johnnie Walker Gold.
“I look at an age-old tradition, rooted in Chinese culture to draw similarities between the East and the West. Tea is considered an art form in China and I hope that this beauty translates into my newest collection,” was how Ji described her Spring/Summer 2013 collection which was unveiled on Saturday, her second show at the London Fashion Week circuit.
In the collection titled ‘Teaism’, models were sent onto the runway wearing handmade bamboo hats, voluminous skirts and backless dresses with asymmetric cuts and pocket paneling.