Blog image

Made in China: Remade

September 2013

By Sharon Li, Shanghai

The phrase “Made in China” has its way of conjuring up less-than favorable imagery. “Mass-produced,” “poor-quality,” or “imitation” are words that sadly often come to mind. It can be hard to think of local-made Chinese fare that’s associated with local pride.

The Chinese fashion scene has especially been dominated by big brand names-- like Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, among others-- until a recent wave of designers emerged. The opening of Beijing’s high-end boutique, Brand New China (BNC), has not only brought local designers to the market, but a new facet to being Chinese-made.

BNC Founder Hung Huang advocates high-quality, independent Chinese fashion by giving opportunities to young local design talents who characterize themselves as quite Chinese, but not traditional. Huang is also an influential media publisher.

Designer Alison Yeung created luxury shoes and accessories brand Mary Ching in Shanghai. Proud that her products are made in China, she strongly believes the future lies in the rise of homegrown luxury brands, and that Chinese consumers will be highly aware of individuality and unique style, seeking out brands that differentiate themselves from their contemporaries.

Dong Liang stocks and promotes the work of China’s up-and-coming designers. Liang also caters to a growing demand for less mainstream designers and labels among the new generation of Chinese fashionistas. Seven Days is another emerging multi-brand boutique that sells fashion items made by local designers.

Another change in fashion is that Chinese boutiques now sell vintage items. More young and hip Chinese appreciate the style, from jackets, to bags and shoes, allowing for a shift in a society that previously refused to wear second-hand clothes because it made little sense to buy pricey, used items in a country where new, mass-produced items were sold cheaply. Moreover, the public was concerned that second-hand goods weren't quite sanitary. Imported fashion items from well-known vintage stores, like Lolo Loves Vintage, or mock-vintage items available on Taobao, such as suitcases, home deco, furniture and kitchenware also support the trend.

The Chinese also express personal style through their automobiles. It’s hard not to stop and look at cars while walking on the streets in Shanghai. Detailing, like a metallic skin, or strange accouterments, like blue taillights and Chanel-logo rims, are popular. Car personalization is the new toy for upper-middle-class Chinese men, and each city has its own auto style to show off.

The Chinese are no longer satisfied by the norm.  They seek products and brands with individuality and personal style, regardless if the item is an original or copy, as long as it brings a sense of individuality and unique style to the overall look.

Fashion & Style
Shanghai youth embrace vintage styles
Extreme auto detailing in Shanghai
Spiderman auto detailing in Shanghai

Subscribe Form