Dead pigs floating in the Yangtze River. Disease breakouts. Suffocating air pollution. You have probably heard of China. This communist rule has gained an increasing amount of attention from international media in the last couple of decades. Economic growth rates like nowhere else and a growing influence on world politics are some of the main reasons why eyes have turned to the massive country in the Far East. Another reason is that upcoming chinese designers are continuing to impress and gain respect in the fashion industry. Dry Mag reporter Dennis Kjærsgaard Sørensen attended the recently held Shanghai Fashion Week AW 2013.
Rich in contrast Shanghai, a financial capital of skyscrapers and endless pavement, has long been known as a melting pot of different cultures, east and west, rich and poor, always fast paced and impossible to keep track of. Just like the city itself Shanghai Fashion Week was full of contrasts. There were good shows and there were bad shows. Mostly bad. And instead of boring you with all the no-fun shows Dry Mag will present the three most fascinating designers, that Shanghai Fashion Week AW 2013 had to offer.
“He originates from Suzhou. Not far from Shanghai” an older Chinese textile supplier said before the show was about to begin. “I have great expectations on behalf of this kid” she continued as you could feel the excitement spread among the crowd. Clearly she wasn’t the only one with high expectations. Qui Hao, a young Chinese designer, has been staying under the radar for most of his career avoiding contact with both press and runway. Until now.
As violins began to fill the room and the models entered the spotlight, the room elevated to another level. A gentle release of pressure. This marked Qui Hao’s runway debut.
Combining a variety black and brown materials, fur, leather, fine silk, wool and cashmere Qui Hao managed to accomplish a distinct design of sophisticated layering and patterns. Something that might send him to all the top international fashion weeks for years to come.
Their faces were partly covered by war paint. The eyes were hidden behind black hats. The lines between femininity and masculinity were blurred. The girl models of the Haizhen Wang show presented the clothing line with deadly precision and this delivery suited the structured jackets and the sharp silhouettes well. The form of the collection was hypnotic.
Haizhen Wang was born in the city of Dalian in North East China. But he now resides in London where he earlier this year presented his first solo catwalk during London Fashion Week. Wang has received a number of prestigious awards and is truly international in his scope. His show at Shanghai fashion week was just another testimony to the great talent that he possesses.
The creative minds behind SankuanZ are university graduate Shang Guanzhe and artist Chen Tianzhou. The visual expression is heavily based upon Chinese mythology, buddism and symbols of nature, death and reproduction. Although having excisted since 2006 the show was the first in the history of SankuanZ.
Industrial drum sounds rallied the models to the runway. The models were dressed as munks in neonlike colours. They were dressed as soldiers. They wore clothes and accessories that had no sense of direction. This was not a coincidence. Ropes, skeletons, tiger heads attached to backpacks were part of the provocation directed to all the non-believers who are yet to be persuaded by the visual religion of SankuanZ. The collection wasn’t perfect but it gives the impression that SankuanZ has yet to reach its full potential, and surely SankuanZ had already gained more followers as the show came to an end.
Words & photos by Dennis Kjærsgaard Sørensen