New York Fashion Week spotlights Chinese Talent

Four Chinese fashion brands showcased their latest menswear creations on the runway at the “New York Fashion Week: Men’s” event.

The show was part of Tmall’s efforts to cultivate local fashion talent and break away from the cliché-laden image attached to the “Made in China” label.

As part of the partnership between Alibaba’s Tmall and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to help American and Chinese brands break into each other’s markets, the brands were chosen to debut their new collections at the show from Feb. 5-8 in Manhattan, under the banner of “Tmall China Day.”

A mix of China’s more-established brands and emerging designers, the participating brands include streetwear label CLOT, founded by Hong Kong entrepreneur Kevin Poon and actor-musician Edison Chen, China’s leading multi-brand fashion company Peacebird, sportswear giant Li-Ning, and individual designer Chen Peng—whose namesake brand’s cocoon-like puffer jackets have been worn by celebrities like Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

Co-founders Edison Chen and Kevin Poon aim to bridge Eastern and Western cultures through their streetwear label CLOT

CLOT co-founder Edison Chen pointed to China’s wealth of talent and the local fashion scene’s potential to flourish through connecting with the international circuit.

“We have a lot of people, which means we actually have a lot of creativity…The more people involve us, collaborate with us and give us chances, I think you’ll discover more next-level creativity from Chinese talent,” added Chen.

Emerging designer Chen Peng makes his debut at the menswear fashion week to much fanfare

“When you look at designers’ businesses, it’s global. It’s not so local anymore. It’s not confined by borders. The key now is to look at international opportunities,” said Steven Kolb, president and CEO of CFDA. “China Day is our first international affirmation, and we’re really excited about it. It’s the cultural connection that the United States and China is making… It’s really about humanity and connecting.”

The council is an invite-only trade association with the membership of over 500 leading American or U.S.-based designers in footwear, apparel and accessories, including fashion industry greats Tom Ford, Diane von Furstenberg, Jill Stuart, Alexander Wang and Tommy Hilfiger. In October last year, Tmall invited three CFDA brands—Opening Ceremony, Robert Geller and GREY Jason Wu—to participate in its annual fashion extravaganza, giving their latest clothing lines first-time exposure to the over half-billion Chinese consumers who visit Alibaba’s platforms.

Jessica Liu oversees the fashion and luxury division for Tmall, China’s top B2C e-commerce site

Per the agreement, Tmall leverages Alibaba’s ecosystem of e-commerce, logistics, payment and digital media platforms to help brands grow commercially.

Jessica Liu, president of Tmall Fashion and Luxury, said the platform now aims to improve strategic communication for retailers and bring China and the U.S. markets closer together. Liu said Tmall China Day wants to bring “[Chinese] designers and brands to the American fashion community and empower them in global expansion and brand-building strategies. One the other hand, introducing American brands and designers to the large base of Chinese consumers.”

China Day runway shows will be featured in a “See Now, Buy Now” broadcast on the Tmall and Taobao mobile apps and Alibaba’s video streaming site Youku on Feb. 8-10, which will allow consumers to immediately buy some of the exhibited garments as they watch the show.