I am proud of my Chinese heritage. I feel a sense of pride when I see Chinese people strive for global recognition in their own homeland as well as in foreign countries.
As I am an Australian citizen, I feel a similar sense of pride for the fashion industry when I see designs with the labels, Made in Australia, Designed in Australia, and sometimes, we see labels saying “Sourced in Australia”
Not everyone knows that the fashion industry employs about 220,000 Australians and contributes over $11 billion to the economy each year. Our designers are exporting over half a billion dollars annually.
The fashion industry is an important indusry that creates jobs and contributes to our economic progress in Australia and in the region. Fashion involves understanding culture and serves as great platform for creativity and innovation.
The Chinese in China place a high value on Australian brands. Once, they become aware of the brands, the opportunity for Australian fashions can grow quckly. Dion Lee, 2012 winner of the International Woolmark Prize, is a success story in China, showing rapid growth in his Asian business market.
Yesterday I was privileged to be a guest, courtesy of Wang Yutao, one of China’s top fashion designers, to attend his first show in Australia at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Carriageworks in Sydney. I was also invited to the after-party at One Pier so had ample time to talk to this amazing designer.
I was fortunate to be able to bring along with me more than 30 Sydney Chinese business women from my network to see his show as well as enjoy his company at One Pier.
The occasion has different meaning to different people in the audience.
We were there to show our support for the only Chinese designer showing his collection for the first time at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney.
China, with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, has many opportunities to showcase its talent locally and to the outside world, and it continues to work hard to gain global recognition, with its own talent.
Although the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week China started only in 1997, China Fashion Week is one of China’s biggest fashion events, and is held twice a year for nearly a month each time. Beijing has held about 900 fashion shows since, and attracts about 400 foreign overseas brands at the show from all around the world.
By comparison, the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Australia celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and attracts about 50 designerss. It provides the only international platform for Australian designers to connect with a global audience of buyers, press and consumers.
Wang Yutao’s first show in Australia is a courageous step. He has been changing the national fashion landscape in China for over 10 years, with fine tailoring and chinese traditional heritage.
Wang Yutao, an indepndent designer and 2014 International woolmark prize nominee, he wants to challenge global perceptions of Chinese designers,
Although this is his first year, I think Wang Yutao can break into the Australian and global market. Chinese living overseas are beginning to take notice. Chinese designers are changing people’s views of China’s local fashion industry.
I like the tinge of hippie, slightly sexy yet refined in his designs. The bold colours are eyecatching and bring energy and vitality to the wearer. Some designs have a bit of retro combined with elegance. There is certainly quality in the fabric, texture, design and shapes.
The runway show this year showcased the summer – spring collection of 2015-2016.
An Australian fashion writer says that
“He’s wanting to break into the Australian market, but he might have to rethink things a little for our aesthetic”
Howver, I think there is no such thing as an “Australian” aesthetic. We live in a changing society. As Australia moves into the Asian century, with the changing face of Australia, there would be a wide range of opinions on what is considered as “our aesthetic”.
It is understandably difficult for a Chinese designer to blend the East and West in their designs that would appeal to everyone in the global luxury fashion market. But I am confident that Wang Yutao’s designs have made an impact yesterday to stir interest and awareness that China has talent.
I was in the audience and I was also amongst the guests at the after-party yesterday.
Comments from the guests included:
“A stunning collection of mens’ wear and women’s wear”
“Finally, we are seeing colours for the guys instead of the monotones. I love the designs and the colours”
“They collection is amazing. I want to buy some of the outfits. Where can we get them in Australia?”
“Is there a store that stocks Wang Yutao’s designs”
“I love fashion and I love wearing all kinds of labels. I would love to wear a well known Chinese designer label. I like Wang Yutao’s designs. I love the dresses and the gowns”
“I would like to see more Chinese designers showcase their collections in Australia Fashion Week”
If you missed the show, you can watch this Wang Yutao’s runway Youtube video
Some of the amazing images can be viewed here.
Photos with one of China’s top fashion designers, Wang Yutao at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney on 15 April 2015.
Wang Yutao with Dr Caroline Hong