China Fashion Week Finds its Form
China’s new leaders have now been confirmed following last week’s National Congress – a once in a decade event held to facilitate a change in power. Nels Frye from Stylites has a great article on Chinese leaders’ fashions here.
Held adjacent to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the Congress has brought stark reminders to all that China is still a heavily controlled and regulated country with ‘security’ measures beefed up and affecting the entire nation.
Internet access to many sites including Google and Gmail was drastically hampered, retailers were put on extra alert in case of riots and fires, and it was also forbidden to open taxi windows.
For those of us who have grown accustomed to relatively trouble free existences in China these this all seems a bit over the top and farcical. However, for China’s leaders, the risk of any trouble at all, let alone mass dissent easily warrants turning Google off for a few weeks. With internet access slowly improving its time to get back to the business of blogging.
The National Congress took precedence and forced the postponement of major events including the Beijing Marathon and Dior’s upcoming exhibition at China’s National Museum. It’s a wonder then, that China Fashion Week SS 2013 (also held close to Tiananmen Square) was concluded without a hitch. With fashion so fleeting, it seems old news to report on the collections that are now three weeks old, yet its still relevant to note the progress that CFW is making great leaps forward season on season.
Fashion Week in China is essentially a Government run event managed by the China Fashion Association which has reporting lines to both Ministries of Commerce and Culture. This partly explains why in previous years CFW has felt a bit stoic and stuffy with no after parties or pomp anywhere to be seen.
I first attended China Fashion Week in 2007 and was disappointed at the quality of designers, show production and general event organization. Even trying to get a smidgen of information on the Week was infuriating as there was no official website, or information available on line at all.
Since then, and especially over the last few seasons CFW has made astounding progress and is now a respectable international fashion event. Although things can still get a little quirky and the collections don’t yet attract international media and buyer’s attention, the China Fashion Association deserves applause for the progress they have made.
With Mercedes Benz now the title sponsor CFW is slowly getting more commercial and has a growing degree of glitz. Harpers Bazaar are also major sponsors and with their daily magazine dedicated to the event and covering all the news, collections and street shots outside the shows etc. For non-natives, there is now a fully bilingual website for China Fashion Week.
On the catwalk this season bags and clutches were more visible than before showing that the designers are grasping the importance of having an entire collection that includes accessories to go along with the clothes.
The designers themselves are also coming up fast and stand outs including Simon Gao, Gioia Pan and Zeng Fengfei who won the 2012 Designer of the Year Award.
The media is latching onto the buzz around fashion and designers are mobbed after the shows by young reporters so eager for soundbites and you would think they are paid only on commission.
Although a spot late, here are some of the images taken during the latest China Fashion Week.