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Young designers seek boost abroad

Updated: 2013-02-25 11:45
By Kelly Chung ( China Daily)

Young designers seek boost abroad

Handbag designer Mengdi Wu, a junior student at Parsons, the New School for Design, shows her "Tie Tote". Caroline Berg / China Daily

Zhishan Shao, a SCAD fashion student, said she chose to study in the US because of its reputation for being both creative and business-focused.

Young designers seek boost abroad

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Young designers seek boost abroad

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"In other countries like Japan or Europe, fashion is often more conceptual or artistic," she said. "In America, you learn to be creative, but you also learn to sell yourself. I think this is a major reason Chinese people choose to go to the US, because in China we are focused on getting a job and living well. We want to know how to sell ourselves from a business perspective."

Yuming Weng, a fashion student at San Francisco's Academy of Art University, agreed. The success of Chinese-American designers like Alexander Wang and Jason Wu is due not only to creative design, but skillful branding, she said.

Chinese students are also more likely to find a Chinese community at schools in the US, making the transition to a foreign culture less difficult, she said.

For Elise Wang, a Master of Fine Arts student at SCAD, the US seemed "a better fit" for her personality and more practical as an English-speaker.

"I don't feel like I would understand British culture or feel as comfortable there as I do in the US," she said. "I like that Americans are more open to communication and people here are very creative. And since the US is the center of the design and creative industry, there will be more opportunities and a bigger market for me here when I graduate."

Wang plans to stay in the US after graduation, in hopes of gaining additional experience before returning to China, she said.

Working at an established international design company in the US will provide opportunities to observe shifting trends, she said. Her peers who have followed this path have secured higher-level positions as a result of their education and experience in the US.

"The Chinese market will be one of the biggest in the world, and we grew up there, so with this experience we can go back with competitive skills."

Chenxi Li, a student at the Academy of Art University, also noted her friends who have returned to China after working in the US post-graduation have been able to find higher-paying jobs than those who did not leave. Li plans to return to China eventually, with the intention of building her own brand.

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