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Fashion industry followers, take note: The first in a series of Armani Tweet Talks went down this morning, and the subject was the state of the Chinese fashion industry and its future. The forum was titled "China: The New Fashion Superpower," but actually, that doesn't seem to jive with the reality of China's fashion industry, according to the panel tapped for the talk.
Angelica Cheung, editorial director of Vogue China, Susie Bubble of Style Bubble, Federico Marchetti, founder and CEO of YOOX Group, Hung Huang, TV commentator and blogger, and fashion critic Godfrey Deeny comprised the tweeters, and they all agree on this: The road to Chinese fashion independence from the West is long and hard one. The country's obstacles include manufacturing to scale (what do you do when you live in China, but don't need 1 million of something? Outsource to Italy, apparently); creating culturally significant designs that aren't Chinese copies of Western interpretation of Chinese fashion (aka meta-fashion); government run runways; and those pesky e-commerce sites.
For the whole conversation head here. For the best of the best tweets from the event, click through.
Hung Huang on the importance of being online:
"66% of e-commerce is about fashion. Chinese fashion is going to be on the Internet, where younger people are the audience"
Godfrey Deeny on how Chinese dudes are as into fashion as Chinese women, if not more:
"In the West women spend three times as much of their disposable income in fashion than men. In China they’re almost even"
Hung Huang on the Chinese designers needing to avoid the Western concept of Chinese culture:
"Let’s forget about Chinese culture from a Western perspective – it’s not about those red doors and those dragons"
Godfrey Deeny on what you can expect from Beijing Fashion Week:
"At Beijing Fashion Week there are only men in bad suits, at the end the guy in the worst suit will stand up and make a speech!
Hung Huang on government regulation on the runway:
"The reason for these shows is marketing and press and the fact that they're organised by the government so it’s like paying tribute"
Hung Huang on the zoo-like qualities of Chinese fashion:
"Chinese fashion design for the 1990’s became literally a zoo"
"These brands from the 90’s thought that naming brands after an animal – inspired by Lacoste’s alligator – would make them sell more"
Susie Bubble on Chinese brands emerging as major players in Chinese fashion and why:
"A lot of students matriculate at Central Saint Martins and Antwerp and then go back to China to set up their businesses."
"I feel the growing affluence in China, coupled with Chinese designers being educated abroad means it’s a work in progress."