Pop-up exhibit in New York challenges ‘Made in China’ stigma

China 24

Pop-up exhibit in New York challenges 'Made in China' stigma

Chinese brands are making a big splash in New York. And they are challenging stereotypes about “made-in-China.”

CGTN’s Wang Guan explains.

From luggage made of aircraft-grade aluminum to jewelry worn by Lady Gaga.

To designer clothing with an Asian touch and luxury watches, combining Chinese craftsmanship and Swiss technology.

Nearly 20 Chinese brands are on display at Grand Central Terminal in New York, one of America’s oldest and business train stations.

China Chic Pop-up is the exhibition’s official name.

Many of these luxury goods are challenging preconceptions about Chinese products here in the West.

“You are certainly breaking stereotypes. These are high-quality, highly-produced artistic products anyone would like to own if you can afford it,” Carolyn Maloney, U.S. House of Representatives said.

Many brands come from China’s fashion industry.

A sector that has long been considered little more than a copycat of the West. Yet the country’s independent designers are looking to change that.

Wang Ning is the founder of Play Lounge, a leading Chinese fashion destination with over 500 designer labels. She believes the key for Chinese products to succeed in the West is NOT by becoming more western.

“Classical Chinese decorative fabrics featured many Chinese cultural elements. This type of fabrics and design are used by Dior, Vera Wang, and Chloe for their latest products this season. Many western consumers actually resonate with products that have a rich cultural connotation. I definitely see a trend here, the resurgence of Chinese embroidery and decorative design,” she said.

Western brands still dominate the global market. According to research by McKinsey in 2018, the U.S. and European fashion companies such as Nike, H&M, and Zara, currently account for 97 percent of global profit.

Chinese-American cultural icon Yue-Sai Kan – who helped organize this event that believes Chinese companies need to catch up quickly, especially in marketing and communication.

“Some brands here think they can use WeChat. In America, nobody uses WeChat. If you are gonna do business here you’d better know how to do business here. They’ve got to understand what westerners think and do, or else how do you sell to their market So, this is a good way to test the market and to test themselves, actually,” Yue-Sai Kan, President of Yue-Sai Kan China Beauty Charity Fund said.

Some industry experts argued that America’s perception of China and Chinese creativity is long overdue.

Adding that these kinds of exhibits could help America see what’s really happening in China.