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Not yet the finished product

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2016-05-09 11:31
Not yet the finished product

Poster of Shanghai Fashion Week. [Photo/http://www.shanghaifashionweek.com]

While the annual Shanghai Fashion Week has grown significantly over the years, industry veterans believe more needs to be done before it can be on par with its more illustrious Western counterparts.

The front row at the opening show of the 2016 Fall/Winter Shanghai Fashion Week on April 8 was graced by some very influential people in the global fashion scene, an indication that the annual event has grown much in stature since its inception in 2003.

But instead of the typical personalities like supermodels or A-listers, among those seated were Pascal Morand, executive president of the French Federation of Fashion, Carlo Capasa, chairman of the Italian National Fashion Chamber, Sara Maino, senior editor of Vogue Italy, and Gemma Williams, British fashion columnist and the author of Fashion China. "These are industry veterans who are just as influential, if not more, as fashion designers, stylists and celebrities in the industry," said Du Wenxia, a member of the Shanghai Fashion Week organizing committee.

Ever since the first SFW, the government-sponsored event has strived to narrow the gap with the Big Four - London, Milan, Paris and New York - by inviting famous designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld to reproduce their shows in Shanghai.

The committee had also decided in recent years to shift the focus away from the glamorous side of the event and instead concentrate on "experiences and lessons", according to Chen Ying, vice-president of Shangtex Group, the State-owned company that organizes SFW every year.

After reaching a long-term and strategic cooperation agreement with the British Fashion Council last year, the company has further expanded its European connections this year by signing collaboration deals with the French Fashion Federation and the Italian National Fashion Chamber.

At the news conference on the morning after the opening show, Chen noted that these collaborative deals connect what could be the world's largest consumer market for fashion to a highly established and reliable supply for fashion, as well as "encourage dialogue between young designers and share information among the world's leading fashion manufacturers".

Raymond Tan, a Malaysian fashion photographer who has lived and worked in London for 10 years, said that Shanghai's fashion industry is now the best place in the world to work in.

"The growth of the industry here is amazing and to be a part of the industry when it's growing is what excites me," said Tan, who recently relocated to Shanghai to further his photography career.

"Just look at the sheer number of Chinese graduates in London. Many of them are coming back to China afterwards, and they are the future of not only fashion but also the creative industry here," he added.

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