China, New Hub for High-Fashion Design

The infamous and ubiquitous “Made in China” tag on a product might lead many consumers to assume a product is “cheap” in both price and quality; yet across industries, these products pervade every corner of the market, perhaps because of another assumption: that while that product was made in China, it was made for us.

As Chinese and American economies evolve however the “us and them” dichotomy is beginning to shift. China is no longer just manufacturing products to ship overseas, but has an increasing desire to consume those products itself—consultancy firm McKinsey has predicts that by 2025 developing economies could account for nearly 70 percent of global demand for manufactured goods.

A knock-on effect from this trend can clearly be seen in the retail industry. As Chinese consumers develop an increasingly voracious appetite for luxury brands, so China is fast becoming a hot spot for high-fashion design and clothing enterprises.

In 2011, McKinsey predicted that, within four years, China would become the world’s largest luxury market, worth $27bn, up from $10bn in 2009. China’s well on its way to meeting that prediction, as more and more fashion designers are not only trained in that country, but also stick around after graduation to start businesses on their home turf.

Training up-and-coming designers is key to maintaining a steady stream of fresh innovation in China, and the Fashion & Art Design Institute of Donghua University in Shanghai is the cream of the crop in fashion education, providing the state-of-the-art design and technical training required for today’s fast-paced retail industry demands.

While high-fashion design is all about creativity and self expression, it’s also crucial to be a shrewd manufacturer. Cutting costs and driving profit are important for retailers, but in the fashion world, minimizing the time it takes to bring new products to market is uniquely critical. At the Fashion & Art Design Institute students get first-hand experience in the operation and management of domestic and international clothing enterprises, as well as lessons on how to plan and development a product, and how to manage the business processes involved with creating a successful fashion business.

The Fashion & Art Design Institute recently displayed some of its most innovative designs at a fashion show in Taipei, and we can expect to see an increasing number of graduates from this institute and others like it join the ranks of Chinese designers Uma Wang, Huishan Zhang, Liang Zi and Bao Bao Wan, transforming the “Made in China” label from cheap and tacky to high-end and luxurious.

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