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China Fashion Week kicks off in Beijing


03-28-2017 08:06 BJT

China Fashion Week kicks off in Beijing

(Source: CGTN)

Fashion has always been one step ahead. Here in China, spring is here, but for fashion designers, that means it's time to present their collections for the upcoming autumn/winter season. The bi-annual Mercedes Benz China Fashion Week kicked off over the weekend at Beijing Hotel with a competition featuring 29 young Chinese and foreign designers.

Cozy and knitted to pieces a bit more abstract and ill-fitted. Held in March and October each year, China Fashion Week has been the biggest stage for the country's fashion industry since 1997. This year marks it's 20th birthday, which means, the beginning of adulthood.

But it wasn't a big name designer that opened the show on Saturday. It was the creations of 29 young designers from both home and abroad.

Since 2014, China Fashion Week has been encouraging the works of innovative young talent through "Hempel Award, The China International Young Fashion Designers Contest".

Dr. Qinghui Zhang, Chairman of the China Fashion Association, talks about his expectations for the year ahead.

"First, we hope there will be more talented young designers creating better designs and producing better quality work for both the industry and consumers. Second of all, we hope for more Chinese brands to be recognized internationally - more traditional Chinese methods of production, and for more elements of Chinese culture to be better represented, and to have designs that express a special Eastern aesthetic. And Finally, for better integration of the fashion industry's online and offline business models," Dr. Zhang said.

Soft, sensual and elegant dresses provided a stark contrast to the industrial and grunge. Many of the designs spoke to themes and issues pertaining to Beijing and the world at large -  such as pollution and enviromental protection.

Nature also reared its head in the form of bare tree branches, reminding us of the winter to come. And yet the violet-infused watercolours on these autumn pieces were reminscent of Spring - the best season in China.

A total of four awards were given to seven designers after the show. The internet and people's choice award went to designers 18 and 25. Bronze place went to designers 20 and 21, while Silver was claimed by 19 and 26.

But it was number 14, Carlos Calvo Terrasa of Mallorca Spain, who took home the top honor with his mad-hatter collection.

Contrary to what it might look like, "Alice in Wonderland" was not the inspiration behind his designs.

"My designs are actually based on many Chinese design elements and art forms. For example, in the case of this hat - the top of it is round, similar to that of traditional Chinese architectural structures, like the Temple of Heaven. Also, these holes in the hat. I was inspired by something I saw in Shanghai that incorporated these circular cutouts in their building design. So I drew upon many structural ideas that I got from China. With this bag, the accordion folds are a timeless pattern, represented by stairs and Chinese folded-fans,"  Carlos said.

While Carlos drew inspiration from China, other designers looked to Japan. Like this one. Who gave the traditional kimona a Sumo-style makeover.

There was clearly no one theme to this year's fashion competition, and yet the designs were tied together through boldness and originality.

Mercedes-Benz has been a long-time friend to the world of high fashion, and over the past 22 years has partnered up with some of the world's most coveted fashion platforms, including Milan, Paris and London fashion week. 

In 2011, the high-end car maker joined hands with China Fashion Week - further solidifying China's place in the international fashion arena.

For the past 20 years, China Fashion Week has been pivotal in witnessing and developing the country's rapidly growing fashion scene. As Chinese designers continue to leave their mark on international catwalks, it's also fostering a cross-cultural exchange between designers and brands...and as we saw today, inspiring a new generation of talent.


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