Consumers worldwide have long associated “Made in China” products with mass production and low quality. However, today, the Chinese fashion industry is one of the many sectors killing the ugly stereotype. Established and emerging Chinese designers are now known not only for their sewing skills but also for their dedication to quality and sense of style.
Western brands have fed China’s huge consumer base for a long time, but the country’s young and innovative designers are doing well to level the playing field. That’s not all; these designers are now progressively gaining the world’s attention.
Chinese fashion designer Uma Wang launched her eponymous brand in 2005 and has since showcased catwalk collections at different fashion week shows globally, including fashion events in Milan, Paris, and London. She has enjoyed critical acclaim from big industry names such as Hung Huang and Franca Sozzani and participates in the famous Shanghai Fashion Week. She’s definitely one of the Chinese fashion designers you should know in 2021.
Wang pursued her fashion degree at London’s Central Saint Martins after studying textiles at China Textile University in Shanghai. She went on to work for different Chinese fashion labels as an in-house designer to sharpen her textiles and pattern skills. The brand has four stand-alone boutiques in mainland China.
She started the label by limiting her collection releases to six a year. This later drove up demand for the label’s products by 30 to 50 percent every year. Uma Wang’s production processes chiefly happen in Italy, but the brand’s products can be found in different cities globally, including Milan, London, and New York.
Particle Fever is one of the biggest Chinese names in sportswear. The brand was founded by Lin Hai and Liu Jieyi. Its main aim is to introduce leading-edge designs that redefine sportswear. This ambition has seen the label collaborate with The Woolmark Company to use the Australian Merino wool to produce an athleisure capsule collection. Well-known retail outlets, such as Lane Crawford, also carry Particle Fever’s pieces.
Shanghai Tang has seen good days and bad days, but its historical importance cannot be erased. Under David Tang's leadership, the brand exploded to the international scene and placed China on the global fashion map. Shanghai Tang began to attract celebrity following after Kate Moss and Princess Diana donned the label’s apparels.
While the brand’s erratic changes at the helm have sparked speculations of continued trouble, it has a cult following that places it close to the pinnacle of Chinese fashion.
MJ Style was established in 2012 and now has 500 stores spread across Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and other Chinese cities. It opened its first overseas outlet in Japan in 2018. You can call it the H&M of China because of its relatively cheap pricing strategy. While the low prices do not associate the brand with low-quality products, its apparels are not highly exclusive or luxurious. That said, it has grown to be one of the most influential apparel makers in China.
Warrior is a Chinese shoe brand with a rich history. It was founded in 1927. During its early years, the brand made footwear as a by-product of its rubber manufacturing parent company. The commercial rubber turned out to be the core of the label’s fabled durability. It was in 1970 that the company produced one of its most successful designs, the WB-1 Basketball.
While western brands such as Adidas and Nike became more widely accepted in China, Warrior shoes are still treated as iconic and classic products. The brand is gradually expanding to western cities, and it is marketed alongside Feiyue shoes in boutique areas of Chinese cities.
Ban Xiao Xue
Ban Xiao Xue established his self-named fashion brand in 2012, the same year he won the International Woolmark Prize. The designer draws inspiration from nature's beauty and uses elaborate techniques to create simple but sophisticated designs that blur gender boundaries. He continues to partner with The Woolmark Company to use the Australian Merino wool to produce innovative and classic apparel, including, skirts, vests, blouses, and sweaters.
Chinese-born designer Yinqing Yin launched her eponymous brand in 2011, one year after presenting her collection at the Hyères International Festival. Yin was raised in Paris and has her label stocked in stores like Joyce in Hong Kong and mainland China and 10 Corso Como in Milan. The designer is a member of the French Federation of Haute Couture and Ready-to-Wear (the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture), which means she can display her collection at the Paris Fashion Week.
She is known for creating exquisite designs and elegant women’s silhouettes, and using deliberately feminine shapes and cuts. Her career has seen collaborations with global brands such as Hermes, Lancôme, Cartier, Guerlain, and Swarovski.
Christine Lau is a Beijing-born designer that was raised in Hong Kong. She studied at London’s Central Saint Martins College and founded Chictopia in 2008. Her brand is characterized by the old-time influence, playful prints, and idiosyncratic designs that exude luxury and feminine class. Big names in the Asian glitterati such as Fan Bingbing, Baihe Bai, and Joe Chen are known to be fans of her work.
Lane Crawford stocks her pieces in China, and she partnered with TUMI on a collection of travel accessories in 2014.
You will notice futuristic and industrial influences in Masha Ma’s designs. Her works are displayed in both Shanghai Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. She was awarded a Master’s degree in Womenswear at Central Saint Martins in London and kicked off the Masha Ma’s brand in 2008. She traveled to New York in 2013 to learn about America’s fashion industry under the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund China Exchange Program. Celebrities who have worn her designs include Naomi Campbell and Lady Gaga.
Qui Hao is another Central Saint Martins Master’s degree in Womenswear holder. Before he acquired his degree, he established his first ready-to-wear line in 2001, which currently sells in nine major Chinese department stores. In 2004, the designer launched ONEBYONE Boutique with his partner QiaoQiao in Shanghai. It was after his graduation that he founded the Qui Hao label. He presented his 2008 collection at Couture Fashion Week 2008 at the Palais de Tokyo, and he received the Woolmark Prize.
To date, he is still one of the most progressive and influential fashion designers in China. His nearly- elusive signature is raw fashion underpinned by the creation of innovative fabrics. The results of his approach are sharp tailoring and rich silhouettes.
Yang Li was born in Beijing and raised in Perth. His basketball and skateboard upbringing heavily influenced his style. The designer attended London’s Central Saint Martins but favored an internship under the guidance of designer Raf Simons over his degree. He started his label in 2011 and launched his first menswear collection for Spring/Summer 2012.
Invoking the essence of progressive defiance, Li reinvents modern staples. He combines Western know-how with Chinese philosophy to produce ideal pieces for now and the future. He embodies the energy and expertise that are driving a resurgence of interest in China’s fashion.
Ms Min started her brand in 2010 after bagging her BA in Womenswear in 2007 at the London College of Fashion and working at Ports as an Assistant Director and at Viktor & Rolf as an in-house designer. She works out of the Chinese city of Xiamen, unlike many other Chinese designers who are based in the West. She has displayed her collections at London Fashion Week, and Lane Crawford carries her products.
She infuses classic twists into contemporary designs, reviving the spirit of retro elegance. She has been nothing but a rising star ever since her debut in the fashion scene, with many high-profile appearances, including at the Met Gala. She has not only grown a strong following in China but has also seen sales go sky-high in western outlets.
We believe you have found the right answers to your questions about Chinese fashion, such as “What are the best Chinese fashion brands for women?”. You can get amazing “Made in China” pieces of clothing right now through one of our forwarders.