Chinese designers break barriers at New York Fashion Week

Global Business

Models at NYFW

China’s fashion industry is growing at a rapid pace and many Chinese designers are now trying to build global brands, but they often face stereotypes about Chinese design and what it means to be manufactured in China.

One label is actively trying to change misconceptions about what it now means to be made in China.

CGTN’s Karina Huber has more.

Chinese designers break barriers at New York Fashion Week

Chinese designers break barriers at New York Fashion Week

China's fashion industry is growing at a rapid pace and many Chinese designers are now trying to build global brands, but they often face stereotypes about Chinese design and what it means to be manufactured in China. One label is actively trying to change misconceptions about what it now means to be made in China. CGTN’s Karina Huber has more.
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Chinese clothing label Lan Yu has won numerous fashion awards in China. To grow the brand domestically the company is now focusing on the international market to add luster to its brand. But gaining a global following has its challenges.

Lan Yu CEO Nicole Zhao said, “The first question I got from most of the customers is ‘where is it made’ and we’re trying to proudly say it’s made in China.”

Lan Yu is proud of its Chinese heritage, but Zhao concedes clothing made in China used to be considered low quality.

Zhao goes said, “Made in China is cheap. That’s the story 10 years ago. Now it’s different and we’re actually trying to change that perception.”

The Lan Yu showroom in the heart of Manhattan opened last September. Coming to New York was part of the strategy to improve the “Made in China” label. The goal is to get more buyers – both in the U.S. and abroad to see and touch the high-quality garments.

Many of them feature Su Embroidery, a traditional Chinese craft passed on from mother to daughter. This is one of the ways the brand expresses its Chinese roots.

It’s a much subtler representation of Chinoiserie than other designers’ interpretations of Chinese culture seen at the costume gala for the 2015 exhibition in New York, China: Through the Looking Glass.

Some celebrities in attendance like pop singer Rihanna and actress Sara Jessica Parker were mocked in Chinese social media for their over-the-top outfits.

Nevertheless, fashion experts say the event did increase China’s profile in fashion.

Tyrone Farley, the founder of TrueFashionistaNow.com, said, “I believe that’s really cemented in Americans believing that China is to be reckoned with in fashion.”

As more Chinese designers take center stage, Chinese consumers are increasingly taking pride in them, but Zhao says she still has to fight the perception that foreign is better-even in China.

Nicole Zhao said, “Still people prefer foreign label – it’s still a phenomenon in China. However, things are changing very fast and people start to understand the personality of the labels, start to understand their own taste better, start to find things that fit their lifestyle, their personality better.”