China Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 officially kicked off Monday night in Beijing with a Press Conference and fashion show by Aimer at the Beijing Hotel. With Mercedes Benz now the official naming sponsor, Mercedes Benz China Fashion Week held biannually in Beijing is the country’s official Fashion Week and is heavily focused on domestic designers and industry. Running concurrently in Shanghai are also two separate ‘Shanghai Fashion Week’ events put on by the China Fashion Alliance and Shanghai International Fashion Centre.
Tuesday saw heavy hitters of China’s domestic fashion industry and Italian fashion industry representatives convene at the Beijing Peninsula Hotel for the 2011 Sino-Italian Fashion Summit.The Vice Presidents of both the China Fashion Association and National Garment Association, spoke on China’s developing industry and the long history of co-operation between China and Italy in what may be described as ‘hand bag diplomacy’ The Italian Ambassador and Presidents of several Italian brands reinforced this message and spoke of the strong desire of Italian brands to continue to expand in China.
Although the Fashion Summit didn’t attract the attendance of many big Italian brands it did provide a platform for smaller brands looking to get into China to learn more about the working s of the industry. Interestingly enough, attendants from Chinese side included the presidents of China’s National Fashion and Garment Associations plus CEOs of Chinese fashion brands such as Bosideng and Septwolves which combined have thousands of stores across China. Their attendance gave a lot of ‘face’ to the Italians even if
Forums such as this can be an important part of doing business in China and one of the best ways to meet and network with the leaders of China’s official and government backed fashion associations. Building relationships with the Chinese Government Officials can be a good way to find the right local partner, get approval for flashy store façade, or streamline the customs and licensing approval process for your products.
After dark the events continued with NE Tiger’s fashion show being held at The Beijing Hotel. NE Tiger has been described as China’s only luxury fashion brand. NE Tiger’s show transported guests into China’s ancient past with a soundtrack of Buddhist chanting and lotus flower imaged flying across the LED screen. Desinger Zhang Zhifeng took inspiration from flowers like the lotus and many of the garments appeared to be were blooming through their colour and structure. NE Tiger has an established retail network and reportedly dedicated following. You’ll never see the collections on the streets though with each individual piece requiring months of hand made embroidery the collection is truly made to order haute couture.
China Fashion Week also brings a flurry of fashion shows, store openings and events that aren’t officially part of the official program, yet seem timed to coincide with Fashion Week to take advantage of the hype and concentration of industry executives and media in Beijing at the same time. It seems to be all about the ‘Ms’ this week for foreign luxury brands with Maison Martin Margiela, Marni and Alexander McQueen all opening their China Flagship Stores in Beijing this week. Incase that wasn’t enough, last night right next door the Marni store opening event Japanese fashion designers Nigo and Masaaki Homma founder of Japanese brands Bape and Mastermind respectively were doing a collaboration signing at Bape’s Beijing store.