“China Fashion:Conversation with Chinese Designers”(Abstract)

The article provided here is from the book China Fashion: Conversations with Chinese Designers (Bloomsbury 2009). This article only provides part of the contents. For the completed writings please refer to


This book mainly depicts the history of fashion design in China through interviews of prominent Chinese designers.  It covers the past three decades, from 1978–the reforming era after the Cultural Revolution, or post-Mao era–to 2008.  For this book, designers were split into three generations.  The first generation, exemplified by Wang Xin-Yuan, Wu Hai-Yan, Liu Yang and Frankie Xie, were born in the 1950s and early 1960s.  This was an era when China isolated herself from the rest of the world and led various political revolutions and movements within the country.  This first generation of designers grew up in the 1980s and became prominent in the late ‘80s and ‘90s.

The second generation was led by Liang Zi, Ma Ke and Wang Yi-Yang.  They were all born in either late 1960s or early 1970s, prior to the reforming era, and started their own designer labels in the mid-1990s.  They blossomed in the late 1990s and early 2000s and now they’re the mainstay designer brands in China.

The third generation refers to those born in the 1980s during the “one-child” policy.  Only two designers were interviewed, due to the general youth of this age group.  This generation is commonly considered the hope of Chinese fashion designers.

This book portrays the growth of Chinese fashion designers, including the education they received as children, their work experience with the state-owned enterprises, and the ups-and-downs in developing their designer labels.  At the end of each chapter, an analysis is given on how China’s politics, economy and culture affected the designs and principles of the designers.

To help you understand the development of fashion design in China, an introduction covering the Chinese fashion history pre-liberation (pre 1949) and Mao era (1949-1978) is given in the first chapter.   An industry outline is listed at the beginning of each chapter in order to support the background information for each generation of designers.

It is worth noting that the ten designers interviewed for this book (including Mr. Jin Tai-Jun who did fashion design before China was liberated) were selected through discussions with the experts in the industry, including some of the interviewed designers themselves.  Key factors in making selections included achievements in fashion circles, commercial success, and prominence in the industry. Diversity of design personality and personal growth were other important factors taken into consideration during the selection process.  Also considered were the ages, genders, and geographical locations of the candidates.

The ten interviewed designers certainly do not encompass the entire history of Chinese fashion, but they do epitomize Chinese fashion and design and provide a unique and intimate approach to studying Chinese fashion designers.

This book can provide valuable history and fashion information for fashion lecturers and students in colleges and institutions, especially those who also have an interest in Chinese history and culture.  Professionals in the industry, including entrepreneurs, managers, and journalists should find the book both interesting and useful if they desire knowledge about the Chinese fashion market.

(For more information, please refer to http://www.amazon.com/China-Fashion-Conversations-Christine-Tsui/dp/1845205146/ref=mt_hardcover?_encoding=UTF8&me=

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