5 predictions for Labelhood’s Shanghai Fashion Week showcase
For years, the Shanghai Fashion Week Labelhood has showcased young independent Chinese designers, elevating the Chinese fashion scene.
The main fashion platform, which started as “Dongliang”, was founded in 2009 as a boutique in Beijing with a special focus on Chinese designers. Later, in 2015, she first launched the Dongliang One Day show during Shanghai Fashion Week.
Just one year after the debut of Dongliang One Day, the transformed into a satellite event as part of Shanghai Fashion Week and changed its name to Labelhood.
Since then, Labelhood has helped several emerging designer brands to grow significantly, including well-established brand Angel Chen, founded by young designer Chen Anqi, which rose to prominence under Labelhood’s leadership, as well as designer brands like Yirantian, Chen Peng and Ming Ma.
On September 24, Labelhood released this season’s lineup and theme, “ROMANTIC”, and announced that the Spring / Summer session will be held October 9-13 at the China SSC Pavilion. Below, we share five things we expect to see at the next session of the famous fashion showcase:
1. Emerging newcomers
When we talk about Labelhood we think of young, fresh and creative designers. As founder Tasha Liu once said in an interview, Labelhood receives more than 100 applications each season from young designers around the world.
We saw several newcomers make their Labelhood debuts last season, including Ponder.er, Louis Shengtao Chen, Qorn fabric, and Peng tai. Among them, the eponymous brand of model-turned-designer Chen Shengtao won the award for best presentation at Shanghai Fashion Week.
We’re expecting more exciting looks this season, however, with dozens of new arrivals bringing new energy to Labelhood. Some brands will have their first shows here in Shanghai as part of the event, including Sensual virgin, 022397BLUFFER, Nan Knitwear, and Linlin Hunting.
Meanwhile, some of the other brands included in this year’s event have already popped up in cities around the world: Graduated from Central Saint Martins Zhong zixinthe eponymous brand took the stage in London, Refuse the club shown in New York and London, and I CAI was presented in London.
As part of a Labelhood initiative to attract young designers, in 2019 the platform launched an incubation project called “Youtopia” bringing together schoolchildren – many of them are still in high school – together to get a taste of the ins and outs of fashion design.
Five brands that participated in the Youtopia project presented as budding talents last season, including Anno mundi, Cinqkoh, Momonary, Sorgenti, and Cloth. This season, the Youtopia sector will work with the international brand CONVERSE and the sustainable fashion laboratory TO AUGMENT.
Earlier this year, Labelhood and RISE launched a competition to solicit brands to create a sustainable fashion collection – with the winning pieces set to debut at this season’s event. We are delighted to see these new collections from winning young fashionistas.
2. Come and go
Newcomers take the stage while old friends bid farewell to the stage.
Last season, some fashion fans were disappointed after a large number of big name brands dropped out of the official fashion event schedule. Vogue Business China reported that some of Labelhood’s former partners, such as Susan croc, Ximon lee, and Close Qiu, have decided to organize their own shows instead of appearing at the prestigious Fashion Week.
Nowadays, many up-and-coming designers are more keen to present their new collections independently.
Ahead of this season’s Labelhood, women’s clothing brand Ming Ma held a pre-fashion week runway show on September 26, with the designer confirming that sentiment to RADII, explaining that they “want to have their own space.”
But there is good news: the Shanghai-based brand Deep foam returns to Labelhood after his absence from the previous two seasons.
3. China stays cool
For a long time, Chinese designers have strived to redefine and reshape what is expected of the country’s design industry.
While some maintain a traditional meaning of Chinese fashion using dragon graphics and traditional patterns on clothing, others, who got used to the international style from an early age, assert their freer and more personal voices on their designs. They do it in reflecting their own stories and backgrounds to convey a new era of Chinese fashion.
As the Chinese economy and middle class have grown dramatically over the past decades, and the pride of national brands has also increased, Chinese designer brands go bigger, many of whom have decided to keep in touch with their Chinese heritage.
Last season almost 20% designer brands exhibited emphasized traditional Chinese culture in their designs. This season, the trend is expected to continue, with brands like GIVE 10 and Shushu / Tong on display, each tending to focus on Chinese culture.
Besides the designers’ passion for celebrating Chinese culture and aesthetics, Labelhood will present a new project called “Romance of China” at the start of their new season. The project is a unique cross fashion collection in collaboration with a Chinese photographer Leslie Zhang and four brands, Yueqi Qi, Yirantian, Shushu / Tong, and Nomanoman.
As local brands have been driven by a growing sense of patriotism throughout 2021, sparked by the cotton boycott in Xinjiang and the flood crisis in Henan, we look forward to seeing more brands embrace the “China Cool” movement. », But also rethink it.
4. Go green
Sustainable fashion has been a global phenomenon for some time, but in China the idea of incorporating sustainability into designs is increasingly popular.
Shaway Yeah, founder of the sustainable development consultancy Yehyehyeh and special advisor to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, is one of the pioneers of this type of fashion. Yeh brought his self-founded forum to Shanghai Fashion Week in 2017, with the aim of creating a conversation and raising awareness of sustainability in fashion in China.
The Shan Future Forum in Yeh will once again join Shanghai Fashion Week from October 12 to 13, with the theme of preserving biodiversity and respecting social diversity.
In China, sustainable fashion only became a hot topic after the 2019 pandemic epidemic. Earlier this year, Shanghai Fashion Week highlighted “green fashion” as a key objective for the first time when its Fashion Shanghai trade show launched a sustainability-focused exhibition called “Fashion in Circulation”.
Compared to their international counterparts, however, Chinese fashion designers have a long way to go, as argued by local Chinese fashion outlet Lady Max.
For the upcoming Spring / Summer 2022 season, we can expect to see sustainability-focused brands like Beijing-based DONSEE 10, whose Yu award celebrated in spring for its sustainable approach to fashion design. Another brand, Shie Lyu, used recycled materials to complete nearly 60 percent from his collection.
5. Breaking down boundaries
Fashion shows that last 10 or 15 minutes always dominate fashion week. These shows are considered the grand finale of a creative fashion collection and showcase a designer’s vision and a brand’s heritage.
However, traditional fashion shows face challenges, with innovative brands shifting their focus away from the catwalks to technology, incorporating digital elements into their promotions. For example, the luxury brand Balenciaga launched a video game alongside its fall 2021 collection.
Last year, Shanghai Fashion Week embraced digital technology amid the coronavirus outbreak, launching entertaining forms of home shopping, live broadcasts, short films and online chats. Yet the pandemic seems forced these additions to the organizers.
Fashion Week’s daring online experience was carried out in partnership with Alibaba’s online shopping platform, Tmall. It provided valuable lessons for future events, as the brands featured at Shanghai Fashion Week were not targeting a mass market – this is the essence of Tmall – and the innovations of the event. failed to convert viewers as customers.
What we want and expect from this upcoming Fashion Week is an event that breaks the boundaries between virtual reality and reality, providing the public with more sensual and emotional possibilities and experiences.
Cover image via Siyuan Meng