Last Friday night Beijing played host to the eagerly awaited fashion show by American based fashion labels Rag & Bone, Marchesa and Proenza Schouler. Designers were all previous finalists of the American Council of Fashion Designer (CFDA)/Vogue Fashion Fund and were hand picked by American Vogue Chief Editor Anna Wintour to show their collections in China.
The show was held at Dongbian Gate (not the Great Wall) – one of the few remaining and restored sections of the fortified city walls that protected Beijing and the Forbidden Palace during imperial rule. The gate and tower are now home to one of Beijing’s best cotemporary galleries, Red Gate Gallery.
The Americans in China fashion show is part of the ongoing efforts to introduce American (based) designers to the China market. Interestingly enough, designers from both Rag & Bone and Marchesa are British born and now based in New York. Previous rounds of the China exchange program saw Chinese designer Uma Wang receive six weeks of industry training in New York.
The Beijing show and surrounding activities, including a lavish after party with kung-fu performances was well attended by Chinese and American fashion industry influencers including Silas and Veronica Chou from Novel Holdings, Angelica Cheung – Vogue China Chief Editor, Steven Kolb – CFDA CEO, David Tang – Shanghai Tang Founder, Chinese actress Carina Lau and many others.
The Americans in China initiative is jointly supported by American Vogue the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Silas Chou. Silas Chou who began his textiles career in a Hong Kong based family business is one of the most prominent Chinese operating in the global fashion industry today and has played key roles in the success of Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors and Iconix Group brands.
The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was established to help emerging American design talent find continued success in the business of fashion and provides prizes of up to $300,000 for each year’s winner to use for their production, public relations, sales and marketing.
Since its inception in 2004, the program has granted $3.3 million to 27 design companies including Prabul Gurung, 3.1 Philip Lim, Rodarte and Thom Browne. Winners also receive tailored mentorship from fashion industry experts such a Mickey Drexler, Mark Lee and Domenico de Sole.