Wednesday, July 9, 2008

China's Top Designers Scoring Gold

Next month the international community will descend upon mainland China to cheer their compatriots to victory. Representing our fearless shoes, jackets, and gear are the ambassadors of sportswear labels, Adidas and Puma. However, beyond the track and field, pools, and gymnasiums, there are emerging designers in China that are striking gold in the competition for trendsetter.

Rated favorably among their peers in China’s fashion industry, the following designers have become serious contenders for creating luxury in the form of haute couture, ready-to-wear, and sportswear. Equally, each outshine in their interpretation of East meets West. My Signature Look has been tallying their stats:

At the ripe age of 22, Cho Cheng has captured the attention of China and now New York’s elite with his glamorous red carpet gowns. After honing his craft at Parson’s School of Design, he became the creative director for Maggie Norris Couture. His most prominent benefactor, and muse (as featured on his anticipated Web site), is Carmen Dell' Orifice – who will surely launch his career into household stardom. Points: Technique and creativity

When not acting on the small screen, Liu Yang, 34, designs. His collection of dresses have generated excitement among China’s young fashionistas who are breaking from tradition and incorporating other elements of their culture into their wardrobe. In Yang’s 2007 collection, for example, he chose black over red to emphasize a new cultural identity, citing “black is mysterious, sexy, and charismatic."

Points: Innovation and elegance

Noted as the first designer to participate in New York Fashion Week, menswear designer Danny Yang, has bridged nations with his familiar-friendly label, Cabbeen. Unlike his contemporaries, the line caters more to Western influences with cargo pants, jersey knit tops and caps akin to Abercrombie & Finch, but the difference being higher quality material and shapes.

Points: Inclusiveness and tailored

Ji Wenbo may not only be known for his fantastical designs but now known as the designer who could. Ji conquered the European fashion industry by being the first Asian brand represented at Milan Fashion Week last year. His determination won the admiration of the president of the Italy National Garment Association who welcomed Ji to the runway. The show proved Ji’s talent for complex silhouettes and flare for creating drama.

Points: Technique and eccentric

Where Benetton and Nascar meet is where you’ll find Chaoyue Liu Lin-Jin Hui Sportswear. The collection of fitted leather jackets, multi-colored striped jerseys and down vests ignite heat when wore separately or together. The men who wear them evoke a bit of edge tempered with layers of approachable coolness.

Points: Originality and fun

Earning the Asahi Kasei Chinese Prize for fashion design last year has catapulted Liu Wei to the next level. Her ode to impressionism finds its focus in a colorful ready-to-wear collection. To her, beautiful dresses can, and should, be worn at the office.

Points: Cohesion and relevant