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As I type this piece, Paris is finishing off fashion week, an industry-wide global event where fashion designers and brands showcase their latest spring/summer 2020 collections. Currently, autumn is underway in New York City, but because fashion week is always a season ahead, the runways are already highlighting spring and summer wear. In the same vein, the fashion industry will be unveiling its fall and winter 2020 collections when February rolls around.
In September, New York Fashion Week (NYFW) took over the city, with photographers snapping pics of social media mavens and celebrities outside of fashion shows. I miss the days when shows were exclusive to fashion editors and buyers, when the focus was less on who’s who and more on what was coming down the runway. Times have changed, but all I can do is play the game or sit on the sidelines. And I definitely am not one to sit on the sidelines for anything; I would rather win the game!
China has the same sentiments and came to play during fashion week. I was cordially invited to see “Tmall: China Cool,” an experience where emerging designers from China showcased their spring/summer collection of 2020. To be honest, I had to Google “Tmall” before the shows because I had never heard of it before. As someone who has worked with international mall developer Westfield, I was intrigued by what Tmall had to offer to consumers.
Tmall describes itself as a “digital mall with virtual storefronts” and is a business-to-consumer platform owned by retail commerce company Alibaba. It currently has over 670 million consumers and stocks over 190,000 brands. The company also launched the Tmall Luxury Pavilion, offering more than 140 brands of luxury/premium goods, from Rimowa to Maserati. And Net-a-Porter just opened a flagship on the pavilion and will offer 130 luxury designer brands (Balmain, Isabel Marant, and Tom Ford, to name a few). Sounds like a shopper’s dream!
Tmall is not only a gateway to China for western brands because of its success in engaging Chinese consumers, but also is known to be an incubator of rising design talent in China — similar to what Milk Studios was to rising talent in NYC via MADE Fashion Week.
This past September was Tmall’s third season with NYFW, bringing top talent to the big city of dreams. Five fashion brands showcased their spring/summer 2020 collection on September 4, 2019, at Spring Studios in New York City: PEACEBIRD, THREEGUN, SONGTA, i-am-chen, and RiZhuo.
I predict China will soon make its mark in fashion overseas, and westerners like me will shop on Tmall to find pieces that can’t be easily found in the city. We would just need some help reading Chinese characters. I’ll give my son several years of learning Mandarin in school before he can help us navigate and shop for our heart’s desires on Tmall. For now, let’s get acquainted with some talented, but possibly unfamiliar, designers and share some fun footage of the shows.
PEACEBIRD // China’s leading multi-brand retail and fashion label
collection theme/inspiration: “No Boundary,” paying tribute to the Chinese Women’s Volleyball team
my fave look: black blazer with a fanny pack to cinch the waist, paired with bright knee-high socks
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THREEGUN // Intimate apparel dating back to the 1930s, known for its high-quality lounge/sleepwear
collection theme/inspiration: The spring/summer 2020 collection is designed by Chuang Qu. It was inspired by a Chinese character that means “to tailor” and different architectural techniques used to create a sense of space.
my fave look: layered intimates, reminiscent of the ’80s leotard getup
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SONGTA // designer, Song Ta is a conceptual artist and art curator turned fashion designer. His work is heavily influenced by conceptual art and his muse so to speak is Generation Z
collection theme/inspiration: Southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and middle school uniforms in China
my fave look: football shoulder pad-inspired top with red shorts
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i-am-chen // Founded by Chen Zi, a semi-finalist for the 2018/2019 International Woolmark Prize Hong Kong and who studied at the London College of Fashion and Parsons
collection/inspiration: Inspired by photographer Kourtney Roy, Chen Zi uses a palette of intrusive colors to break up the daily boredom of life.
my fave look: chic over-the-shoulder yellow-trimmed black number, paired with a yellow hat
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RiZhuo // Designer Lujian Zhang’s collection of contemporary women’s wear portrays the brand’s peaceful attitude toward life through simple and meticulous craftsmanship and loose structured shapes.
collection/inspiration: A poem about Beigu Mountain by Tang Dynasty poet Wang Wan captures the melancholy sentiment that many Chinese people feel when they return home during Chinese New Year.
my fave look: wide belt over a long coat
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Photo credit: Ivy Payne
Ivy Payne, Fashion Editor at Mochi, has always played dress up. Throughout her childhood living in Los Angeles (Culver City, specifically) she was known as best dressed. It wasn’t necessarily the brands she wore but how her outfits were effortlessly put together. She began her fashion career working for international mall developer, Westfield, then made her way to Marie Claire magazine. However, now she plays dress up on the big screen (or small, if you prefer the iPhone) as a Costume Designer, bringing life to characters through clothes. If she’s not storytelling with wardrobe, you’ll find her with personal clients making them feel and look their best.