Rapid growth over the past 30 years in China has had a profound impact on people’s tastes, leading to the development of new lifestyle industries.
Fashion was once the indulgence of the privileged. But nowadays, it is growing to become a matter of individual expression.
“An increasing number of people today are more interested in and have a better understanding of things like culture, design and fashion,” says Shen Yanlei, an independent designer based in Shanghai.
Shen believes that based on the trends that she has observed, the fashion industry is only going to get stronger in China.
And the figures seem to back her assessment. For instance, the country dominates garment exports, with nearly 25% of all global exports coming from China.
What’s more, there is a growing demand for unique and original handcrafted products among the youth. The most prominent examples of this can be witnessed in China’s financial capital Shanghai.
“I like Shanghai. The city has a culture that promotes artists; and I developed a good relationship with my customers within six months of moving here,” explains Shen, when talking about the growth of the fashion industry in the city. In just two years in Shanghai, Shen says that she’s managed to establish a solid customer base, ensuring a steady income and finding the time to indulge in other creative pursuits, such as painting.
She is currently preparing to display some of her artworks at an exhibition later this month. The creations are apparently inspired by the people she has interacted with.
“People like to get close to artists,” she says, while showing us some of her latest artworks. “They have many ideas, but they don’t know how to express them through art.”
And it is this space that people like Shen are filling, by not only chasing their passions but also giving an artistic voice to the views of their patrons.
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