By Christine Tsui
Translated by Rachel
Recently I have interviewed some post-90s designers in the Shanghai Fashion Week, so I would like to write this essay about my feelings of them.
In my book China Fashion, I only interviewed a group of post-60 to 80 designers. But I have been observing the emerging designers of the post-90 generations for a long time. The eldest post-90s should be at their 27, newly maturing. To interview them in the Shanghai Fashion Week, I did some observation and research in depth.
Compared with the designs of the previous generations, the 20s-year-old designers share some obvious uniqueness. The most distinct point is their overseas background. Many of them graduated from Central Saint Martins College and Parsons School of Design, with apparent signs of their alma maters, especially the ones from Saint Martins. They feature the spirits of revolt and subversion, which is evident no matter what path they follow respectively.
Meanwhile, the era they were brought up in is an Internet one, a westernized one, and an abundant one, which makes them different from their predecessors.
Above all, they are bolder, or as mentioned above, feature the spirits of revolt and subversion, which can be seen from the themes of their designs. They would pay more attention to the social events, such as the equality of labor and the gender issue, as their designs, models and advertisements tends to obscure the genders. The clothes they design could suit both the male and female, which indeed partially from the trends. The model they choose are also with vague gender features, girls without obvious breasts and boys in slim shapes, and even the makeup on the models’ faces could not distinct the gender. All of them could be a kind of discussion on their gender values.
The politics and social issues are the realms that the elder designers would not engage in for the sake of many concerns. So, I would like to say, the youngsters are brave.
In addition, they care little about judgements.
The designers of the post-90s have a kind of self-admiration, and they usually would not be bothered with whether others like their works or not, as long as there is a group of fan, no matter a great pack or a small group, support them. This attitude may be shaped by the customers at the same age.
Specifically, the customers at their 30s to 50s would like to suppose the judgements from others when they are in something new, when the 20s do not take it much seriously at all. The youngsters now only focus on their own style, nothing to do with others. As a result, the combination of brave designers and the brave customers inspires a diverse fashion world for the young.
In this Shanghai Fashion Week, I was an audience of several designer brands, all for young ladies. But the styles are utterly diverse. Some are cute and adorable, and some are neutral, like SHUSHU/TONG, with exquisite sweet style. I also take an interview for MUKZIN, a brand I admire a lot, whose style can be a melting pot for all kinds of cultures, deconstructing many cultural elements. Just like the theme they launched out, “Mountains-Seas Book and the Jurassic Park”, combining the ancient orient legend with the western film. They break the edge of cultures and rebuild them as a mixture, which surprised me a lot. That a brand for ladies could goes like MUKZIN is such a unique style other than the typical lady garment.
In a word, courage and variety should be the best inclusion of the designs of the post-90s designers. They involve all kinds of theme in their designs and chase to be exclusive themselves. They are unique, but how far on earth they could go in the future, I think, may also rely on opportunities.