Home>Textile News>Local fashion education pays off as students impress at SFW

Local fashion education pays off as students impress at SFW

Published: Apr 16, 2018

International exposure is an essential element in the education of China’s homegrown designers, said experts and industry insiders on the sidelines of the 2018 Fall/Winter Shanghai Fashion Week (SFW) which concluded on April 10.

The biannual fashion event has served not only as a stage for established and rising designers from across the world, but also promising talents, especially students from the city’s major design institutes such as Shanghai Institute of Visual Art (SIVA), Donghua University and Raffles Design Institute.

During this year’s event, students got to showcase their projects, many of which contained elements inspired by Chinese culture, such as hand-drawn illustrations of “The Sea Map” from the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), a design that juxtaposed Chinese yinand yang, and carved motifs of terracotta warriors on leather outwears.

Some of the creations even won high praise from industry experts.

“This graduation series illustrates how creative the students are when it comes to the design process, style development and production,” said Willie Walters, the former director of the fashion program at Central Saint Martins, a prestigious art and design college in London.

“Their work is comparable to those by undergraduate students at Saint Martin.”

Li Keling, dean of the Fashion Design Institute at SIVA, said that such positive feedback represented a nod to China’s recent efforts to improve fashion design education by fostering greater international collaboration. In line with this government objective, SIVA set up an advanced program with DeTao Masters Academy in 2014 which aims to cultivate innovative talents with a global perspective.  The institute also regularly invites foreign designers to give lectures. During this year’s SFW, 55 SIVA students showcased 100 creations.

“While we encourage our students to observe how the big international fashion brands work, we also urge them to look into our own culture for design inspiration,” she said.

Li pointed out that she was particularly impressed by the collection featuring terracotta warriors carved on leather outwear.

“Confidence and acceptance of our own culture are important in creating a true Chinese brand,” she said.

Zhang Yu, a 22-year-old student from SIVA who impressed the audience with her cheese-inspired collection, said that the fashion week was a rare chance for her to learn from international counterparts.

“I think the most obvious characteristic of a foreign designer is his or her bold use of colors. This is something Chinese designers can do more,” she said. Zhang considered it a blessing to be able to study fashion in Shanghai, a city she said “has great potential to become the trendsetter in China”.

Patrick Gottelier, a professor who teaches in the SIVA-DeTao program, agreed with this sentiment, saying that the city serves as a great platform for students to learn from world leaders in fashion, textile and apparel design and manufacturing.

He cited the SFW as an example, noting how it has grown from a replica of the Big Four fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris into a mature platform that brings together local and foreign industry players.

During a panel discussion, Tong Jisheng, deputy director of the Shanghai Fashion Week organizing committee, noted that the SFW has also helped to enhance local consumers’ appreciation of local designers, which is critical to the sustainable development of the domestic fashion industry.

“One of the key factors behind the increasing influence of the Shanghai Fashion Week is the increasing consumption capacity and appreciation levels,” said Tong.

“This new generation of consumers better understands fashion and how to appreciate it. What is now fashionable in cities like Paris are also well-received by a growing number of consumers in China.”

Zhou Jinglun, who will graduate from SIVA-DeTao program this summer, considers now to be the best time to start a career in fashion design.

The 22-year-old said his next step is to study abroad and learn more about fabrics and foreign cultures in order to hone his ideas. He plans to return to China after his studies to start his own fashion business.

“China’s fashion industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few decades. While avant-garde fashion is still not as well-received here as in other countries, Chinese society is generally very open to new ideas,” he said.

Source:China Daily

Keywords: Apparel , 2018 Fall/Winter , Shanghai Fashion Week , China’s fashion industry