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While designers like Wang Peiyi gain plaudits in the world's fashion capitals, Gan Tian and Tiffany Tan discover that the domestic market is a harder nut to crack.
While Wang Peiyi's designs are attracting plenty of attention in Europe, back home in China not many people have even heard of him.
|China Fashion Week 2013 A/W|
In February Wang presented his creations at Milan Fashion Week, becoming the first mainland designer to hold a runway show at the biannual event. The collection, inspired by the northern lights, was a critical success.
"The lineup was strong on glamorous evening pieces and also included a few more urban styles, like a leather bomber jacket over a laser-cut shift dress," Women's Wear Daily reported on its website.
Italian Vogue, meanwhile, has a photo spread of Wang's couture on its website.
His experience underscores the difficult situation faced by many of China's independent fashion designers, such as Wang Yutao, Gao Yang and Xie Feng.
At a time when China wants to build its reputation as a design and innovation hub - not just a manufacturing giant - these artists are helping make a name for Chinese fashion design, but remain nameless in their own country.
The hottest example is Exception de Mixmind. Though China's first lady Peng Liyuan wore it on her diplomatic debut, only a few consumers who pursue high-quality and distinctive Chinese design know this Guangzhou-based brand.
The moment when China's first lady Peng Liyuan made her diplomatic debut upon her arrival at Moscow on Friday - wearing a dark navy overcoat, a light turquoise silk scarf with a matching handbag - the Chinese fashion industry got a boost. More...
China Fashion Week 2013 (autumn/winter) opened in Beijing's D-Park on Sunday with a show from Italian luxury leather label Gherardini following another one from Chinese independent fashion designer Wang Peiyi. More...