“Chinese fashion looks at Shenzhen” Part 3: Industry and talent go both ways

The independent designer brand “DAQINGLIU” was unveiled at the 2023 Spring/Summer Shenzhen Fashion Week. Photo courtesy of the organizer

On the evening of October 27, a colorful red carpet of flowers was arranged at the fashion show of Shenzhen Happy Coast. In the dynamic rhythm and lively atmosphere, the independent designer brand “DAQINGLIU” appeared in the 2023 Spring/Summer Shenzhen Fashion Week. The bright colors and bold tailoring show the brand concept of freedom and individuality, and fully demonstrate the beauty of design and creativity from Shenzhen.

Shenzhen is the first city in China to be awarded the title of “Design Capital” by UNESCO. Over the years, its inclusive and diverse environment has become a fertile ground for all kinds of design talents to develop. At present, Shenzhen has become the city with the most fashionable and creative talents in my country, and “Shenzhen Design” has gradually become a new urban brand following “Shenzhen Speed” and “Shenzhen Quality”.

Industrial base attracts talents

Shenzhen is one of the cities with the most developed garment industry in China. At present, Shenzhen garment industry has more than 2,500 brand enterprises, of which more than 90% are self-owned brands, forming three major industrial clusters of innovation and demonstration of Longhua Dalang Fashion Town, Futian Chegongmiao Fashion Headquarters Base, and Nanshan Nanyou Original Designer Cluster characteristic industrial clusters.

The solid industrial foundation is more able to meet the small batch and high-quality production needs of independent designers. Industrial production and design innovation go hand in hand in Shenzhen’s garment industry, which has also attracted a large number of domestic and foreign talents and funds.

Taking the Nanyou area as an example, there are nearly 10,000 fashion designers here, most of them are high-quality talents from art and art colleges and universities at home and abroad, such as Tsinghua Academy of Fine Arts, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Parsons School of Design, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, UK.

In the clothing industry, an idea needs to go through a comprehensive consideration of design, creativity, business and market from birth to landing. From the perspective of the industry, Shenzhen’s fashion industry has gathered many commercial brands. These brands are stronger than linkage with the market and have the advantages of omni-channel and supply chain, which can provide an important starting point for the landing of ideas and attract designers and brands to settle here.

For example, in recent years, the well-known emerging independent designer brand “SEJIE” in Shenzhen has been incubated in the Nanyou area where the clothing industry is highly concentrated; “QIAOUNCHY” was founded by Chinese designer Xu Qiaoyun in Paris, France in 2008. It was released in Paris Haute Couture Week and moved to Qianhai, Shenzhen in 2020.

“I think Shenzhen’s business atmosphere and infrastructure have great support for designers and designer brands. Shenzhen has the most complete supply chain system in China, and it is also the most high-end, which is very beneficial to the development of brands.” “UNIX_T” Design director and founder Yang Yu said.

Creative design brings leapfrog development

In September this year, Zhao Huizhou, chairman and chief designer of Shenzhen Yizhihui Fashion Group and founder of the “HUI” brand, released the latest theme of “Mother Butterfly” for the eleventh time in Milan Fashion Week. The perfect fusion of Chinese intangible cultural heritage culture and cutting-edge fashion elements, the beauty of inheritance and innovation of Chinese culture is stunningly blooming on the world fashion stage.

As a local designer brand in Shenzhen, “HUI” is the first brand in China to enter the Milan Fashion Week schedule. This young original brand founded in 2009 has achieved a gorgeous transformation from Shenzhen to Milan, from local to international in just a few years. It is a microcosm of “Shenzhen Design” empowering the high-quality development of the clothing industry.

Design creativity is the core capability of the development of the fashion industry. In recent years, with the continuous improvement of consumers’ willingness to spend and purchasing power of Chinese local brands, more and more young fashion designers have returned from overseas studies and started their own businesses. Independent designer brands continue to grow in Shenzhen’s fertile fashion soil emerge.

Chen Anqi, a “post-90s” girl from Shenzhen, returned from studying abroad in 2014 and founded the clothing brand “ANGEL CHEN” in Shenzhen. In just a few years, her works have won many international competition awards, bringing Chinese design into the world fashion industry.

“New and cutting-edge designers are of great significance to the development environment of the fashion industry’s large-scale agglomeration and innovative and creative competition.” Pan Ming, president of Shenzhen Garment Industry Association, said that Shenzhen’s independent design is booming, constantly absorbing international fashion elements and local cultural elements, products The added value is significantly improved. The collection of creativity and design has enabled Shenzhen’s garment industry to gradually realize the leap from “processing OEM” to “intelligent creation”.

According to statistics, there are currently more than 20,000 clothing designers in Shenzhen’s clothing industry, and a number of designer brands with unique products, strong sense of design and distinctive styles have emerged, among which many growing clothing brands have emerged. High-end clothing from Shenzhen has a share of more than 60% in first-tier shopping malls in large and medium-sized cities in China.

Make up for shortcomings and benchmark against world-class

Talent is the key to the development of the fashion industry. Shenzhen’s garment industry leads the country, and it is inseparable from the exploration of design and technical talents, and the industry’s adherence to the “craftsman spirit”. But at the same time, Shenzhen’s fashion industry is also facing a shortage of talents with international influence such as design talents, fashion technology talents, brand management talents, craft masters and skilled craftsmen.

Take the clothing pattern maker as an example. This profession is the key to transforming design concepts into finished samples in the clothing industry, and requires extremely high experience and technology. Such talents are very popular in Shenzhen at present, and the supply is in short supply.

“Experienced pattern makers are very rare. The production of high-end clothing especially needs good pattern makers.” Wu Li, promotion director of Ying’er Group, believes that there are not many schools in China that offer pattern makers-related majors, and the cultivation system still needs to be improved. .

In response to the shortcomings of industry talents, the “Shenzhen Action Plan for Cultivating and Developing Modern Fashion Industry Clusters (2022-2025)” proposes that it will increase talent training and incubation, relying on Shenzhen University, Shenzhen University of Technology, Shenzhen Institute of Innovation and Design and other universities. Institutes, strengthen the construction of fashion creativity and industrial design disciplines, cultivate high-end creative design talents, and support institutions of higher learning and vocational colleges to set up exhibition majors to cultivate talents in the exhibition industry.

At the same time, encourage the introduction of overseas R&D and design, technological innovation teams and talents through project cooperation or management planning to improve the level of enterprise R&D and design. Encourage the establishment of a designer incubation platform to provide emerging designers with resource docking services such as exhibition and release, supply chain, and sales, and cultivate a group of potential international emerging designers.

“If Shenzhen wants to build an international fashion and creative capital, it must create rather than follow.” Yu Siyao, secretary general of Shenzhen Fashion Culture and Creative Association, believes, “If Shenzhen can solve the pain points of top fashion creative talents, with the help of our industrial advantages, I believe that over time, Shenzhen’s fashion and creative industries will surely have their own place in the international fashion industry.”