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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Chinese are coming!

When I read the news about CFDA's (Council of Fashion Designers of America) nominations for the year - 3 bright young popular Chinese-American designers are being nominated: 

Alexander Want for Womenswear Designer of the Year Award
Jason Wu is nomated for the Swarovski Award for Womenswear
Richard Chai for Swarovski Award for Mens wear

I can't help think of today, when we talk about the Chinese fashion industry, Americans like to refer the country as a "fashion production" "manufacturing" nation, short of talents, high fashion, and quality.... being a Chinese-American, I am always angry at the ignorant people who has no deep understanding of the fashion industry, and lack of knowleadge of this thousands of years old country.  Yes, China offers low cost production, but, they also provide highest quality if you wish to pay for it, so don't blame the Chinese for give you the "cheap" stuff when you ask for it.   As we all know this fact - the Chinese are coming (or have been here already)!  Hating the fact is not going to change the fact, so embrace this world progression and work with it!  
Here are some of the well know designers, we already know and love the names of Jimmy Choo (周仰杰),  Vera Wang (王薇薇), Vivienne Tam ( 譚燕玉), Anna Sui (蕭志美), and David Chu (朱欽騏)..... now, the young fashion designers are catching up with their super chic styles, contemrary designs, and excellent quality.  The fashion industry and the celebrities can't get enough of  these Chinese-American designers, who does not love the super chic and cool Alexander Wang (王力宏.)? as well as Jason Wu (吳季剛)Derek Lam, Richard Chai,   Peter Som, and Phillip Lim, .... the more yet to come.

27 year old Jason Wu started his fashion career at the age of 9.  By 14, he studied sculpture in Tokyo and spent his senior year of his school in Paris where he decided to become a fashion designer.  Jason studied in the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York; interned with Narciso Rodriguez; and launched his first collection in 2006. Jason's design is modern with a classic twist.
 How appropriate for Leighton Meester of “Gossip Girl” to be sitting front row at Jason Wu as the young designer turned out a collection of polished, ladylike looks inspired by a business trip to Japan, where he fell in love with the energy of Tokyo. It came through in saturated color, from a delicate fuchsia knit T to a rainbow of frocks. Known for his eveningwear, Wu did not disappoint, with an array of beautiful, easy gowns that were young and fresh, and sexy sheath dresses with French knots created by hand. Moving his collection forward, Wu ventured into sportswear with cashmere knits, unstructured jackets and shorts all rendered with his sophisticated hand.” - Women's Wear Daily

What can I say about the 25 years old Alex Wang? HOT HOT HOT, his designs are welcomed by the young and chic ladies in the world, his items are in high demand from the young celebrities in Hollywood. At 18, Alex attended Parsons Design School in New York. By his sophomore year, Alex designed his first collection under his label Alexander Wang. Alex then started his full collection in 2007, then a full accessories collection followed in 2008.  Alex received top honors at the Vogue/CFDA Fund, and recognized by his peers when winning the CFDA Swarovski Womens Wear Designer of the Year, and recently, Alex won Swiss Textile Award and €100,000 prize Alex is know for his edgy, cool, contemporary, "somewhat masculine womenswear designs".

How do you know if you matter in the fashion world? By whether you were at Alexander Wang’s runway show obviously. Opting for a celebrity-free front row, Wang packed the house with It-girls and every high-profile editor and buyer a young designer could dream of. Everyone else was forced to watch the show live-streamed on SHOWstudio or broadcast in Times Square. - Runway Reviews

Derek began his fashion career in 1990 after graduating from Parsons School of Design. Derek spent 12 years as a designer and VP of design vice President of Design for Michael Kors' Kors line before starting his own label. In 2006, Derek expanded to into handbags, shoes and eyewear.  Derek's label is both luxurious, feminine, sophisticated, modern. Derek has received many recognitions within the fashion industry, include CFDA Perry Ellis-Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent; Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund Price, Accessory Designer of the Year at CFDA Awards... 
It [Derek Lam] really touches on a femininity that is grown up and very self-aware. It is competent, not an ingénue, intelligent but not overly intellectual, more emotional. The collection has a modern point of view, but always looks to the past.” - Fashion Week Daily

According to NYMAG: After helping launch the Marc by Marc Jacobs line and revamping a tired TSE, Richard Chai introduced his eponymous line of highly tailored, quietly feminine pieces to industry raves in 2004. An Ecco Domani Award followed a year later, but it wasn’t until 2008 that Chai’s work reached new heights—he launched a menswear line, designed a capsule collection for Target, and made it into the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s top ten finalists. Referenced as one of the “new Asian” influences on modern design (alongside fellow up-and-comers Derek Lam and Peter Som), Chai creates casual clothes that pair surprising fabrics—like silks mixed with wools and twill with georgette—reined in with architectural touches like French seams and origami folds, earning his work a reputation for minimalist, menswear-inspired touches. -NYmag
“You know it’s a good sign when the models want to take the clothes home with them.”- Fashion Week Daily; “Chai creates cool clothes for cool girls.” - Stylelist

Phillip is an American designer of Chinese ancenstry with his effortless design and 'street elegance'". Laird Borrelli of Vogue praised his work as a "pretty-but-cool clothes" that "don't try too hard". Phillip was awarded the 2007 Council of Fashion Designers of America Emerging Talent in Womenswear award, winner of Fashion Group International first place in the women's Designer Rising Star award, and the CFDA's finalist for the prestigious Fashion Fund Award, Swarovski Award for emerging talent in womenswear, finalist for the Fashion Design Award of Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Phillip's designs are represented in 45 countries and available at nearly 400 boutiques and department stores worldwide. 
According to Lim, "3.1 is about clothes that refine instead of define. A refinement that's a bit classic in attitude, but imparts a sense of individual style, without looking or feeling forced. Confident, unidentifiable, chic and most of all effortless".

Peter Som is influenced by his architect parents of Chinese ancestry who encouraged him the ideals of purity of form, function and composition. Today, Peter continues to draw from these early influences as he designs clothes for tasteful women with that same spirit of effortless elegance, luxury and allure. His aesthetic of unstudied elegance and refined sexiness has brought a fresh point of view to modern American fashion,
 Peter studied at Parsons School of Design. While at Parsons, Peter apprenticed with two of America’s most revered designers – Michael
Kors and Calvin Klein. After graduating, Peter honed his skills in the design room of the legendary Bill Blass.the CFDA as a rising young talent in it’s first-ever Scholarship Competition.  Isaac Mizrahi awarded Peter the Parsons Gold Thimble for his work in the school’s prestigious Designer Critic program while Lord & Taylor reaffirmed his potential in its annual Dress Competition. he was nominated twice for the CFDA Swarovski Perry Ellis Award for Emerging Talent.
Peter's design is clean, unfettered yet feminine. Cathy
Horyn of the New York Times identified Peter as “one of the best young designers working today.”

Jimmy Choo 周仰杰

Chinese descent Jimmy Choo,a world class Londoner shoemaker that had shoe design down to an art, was born in Malaysia into a family of shoemakers. He made his first shoe when he was 11 years old. He is perhaps the most notable of students of Cordwainers Technical College in London Borough of Hackney. His craftsmanship and designs were soon noticed and he came to the verge of international notability when his creations were featured in a record eight pages in a 1988 issue of Vogue magazine. Patronage from Diana, Princess of Wales from 1990 onwards further boosted his image. In 1996, he co-founded Jimmy Choo Ltd with British Vogue accessories editor Tamara Mellon. In April 2001, Choo sold his 50% stake in the company for £10 million. He has since been concentrating his work on the exclusive Jimmy Choo Couture line produced under license from Jimmy Choo Ltd. The Jimmy Choo London line, also known as Jimmy Choo Ready-To-Wear or, simply, Jimmy Choo, is under the purview of Tamara Mellon. The ready-to-wear line has expanded to include accessories such as handbags. In 2002, Jimmy conferred an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to the shoe and fashion industry in the United Kingdom. Jimmy is no longer with the company, but still works in London for private clients.

One of Forbes’ “Top Chinese-Americans in Business,” designer and entrepreneur David Chu first rose to prominence with the success of his lifestyle brand, Nautica. It was his interpretation of his six sailing jackets, marrying technical function and all-American style, that helped turn Nautica into a global brand. When Nautica was acquired in 2003, its worldwide sales were in excess of $1 billion. David grew up in New York, has originally planned to become an architect. While taking a summer drawing class at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a professor suggested that Chu try designing clothes after seeing his drawing skills. Chu later graduated from FIT, and was named its STAR alumni. David built a $200-million company on the strength of his strong design sensibility. According to David, "Designing is a very emotional, very personal thing. Running a business is a very rational thing. I wear two very different hats."  How does David got involved with Tumi? use the designer's own words: “After I launched my own menswear collection at Saks and Bergdorf Goodman, Laurence Franklin, the CEO of Tumi, who I’ve known for many years, called me and said, ‘David, I love the stuff you’re doing, would you come and work with me and take us to the next level?’” Today, from his studio and showroom in a refined Manhattan townhouse, Chu designs the LINCS collection alongside other brands managed and operated by his firm DC Management Group (DCMG). This includes the eponymous David Chu Bespoke line, a custom-clothing atelier located on the penthouse floor of the “Townhouse” that embodies Chu’s ultimate statement on style, sophistication, and the well-lived life.

                                              Tumi Debuts David Chu Collection

Anna was called a designer who "never panders" by The New York Times, and named to Time Magazine's list of this decade's top five fashion icons. Like many of the famous fashion designers, Anna also attended the Parsons School of Design New York, now her clothing, fragrance, cosmetic, and accessories lines sell through her stores in over 50 countries and are also widely available in leading department stores worldwide. She is known for her vivid, colorful and cheerful designs.
  In 2009, Sui won the Council of Fashion Designers of America Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, which serves to honor contributions made to American fashion by outstanding individuals in the industry. Sui joins the ranks of Yves St Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Diane von Furstenberg and Bill Blass, who are past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Anna was profiled in Newsweek’s Women and Leadership, and was recognized for her contribution to fashion at the Bravo A-list Awards. Anna Sui continues to design and manufacture her signature collection in her New York City headquarters on Fashion Avenue. There she has ardently fought to keep the industry alive and has spearheaded a campaign to “Save the Garment Center,” which was highlighted during Fashion Week in September, 2008.
In 2006, Fortune Magazine estimated the collective value of Anna Sui's fashion empire at over $400 million.

Arguably the most prominent designer of bridal wear in America, Vera Wang has been honored with many awards for her achievements, and was elected as a member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). A native New Yorker, Vera Wang grew up surrounded by fashion, often accompanying her mother to the world's most stylish boutiques. After a career in competitive skating and studies at Chapin and Sarah Lawrence, Vera Wang discovered her own love for design while at the Sorbonne in Paris. She joined Vogue and at age 23, making her the youngest fashion editor the magazine ever had. After 16 years, Vera moved on to Design Director of women's accessories for Ralph Lauren In 2005, the CFDA selected Wang as the Womenswear Designer of the Year. 
With all of her talent and success, Wang has become a high-profile figure in the fashion world. She is so popular, in fact, that she has been considered to be a contestant for the celebrity television competition Dancing with the Stars, according to a 2009 report in People magazine.

Vivienne Tam 譚燕玉
Among all the designers, Vivienne is the only one who is born in the mainland China. Vivienne Tam moved to Hong Kong when she was three years old. Her bi-cultural upbringing in the then British colony was the first stage in the development of her signature East-meets-West style.  After graduating from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Vivienne Tam moved to New York where she thrived on the excitement and energy of the fashion world. New York became a home for her and a continuing source of stimulation for her designs. Vivienne's clothing brand is named after her and is inspired by Chinese design and modern fashion. The theme of first collection was EAST WIND CODE. Her shops can be found in most major cities around the world. Born in Canton, China,

 Vivienne Tam has built a presence in fashions that are appealing to all ages, ethnicities, and income levels. She has earned the reputation for offering a stylish and high-quality product while at the same time inviting the consumer to experience the inspiration behind it. A longstanding dedication to innovation and exotic imagery, Vivienne Tam is truly one of the world's most passionate and symbolic designers in fashion today.
In an era where the fashion industry is populated by numerous names and emerging new talents, Vivienne Tam has shown that she can consistently appeal to everyone from high-society to urban to teens, offering them fresh collections every season. She is poised to become the next multi-tasking, multi-successful designer and businesswoman (according to fashion.informat)