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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Exhibition Review: Fashion Shenzhen

‘MADE IN CHINA’ doesn’t have to be a negative, as I discovered while immersing myself in the beauty and culture of the Fashion Shenzhen exhibition at the Grand Connaught Rooms on Monday 19th September.

Written by June Chanpoomidole

Haiping Xie- Shenzhen Exhibition by Claire Kearns
Haiping Xie at the Fashion Shenzhen Exhibition by Claire Kearns.

I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the Grand Connaught Rooms for the Fashion Shenzhen exhibition. When I did arrive, I found it a far cry from Somerset House. The exhibition consisted of stalls from designers, manufacturing companies and brands from Shenzhen, fashion capital of China.

Shenzhen Exhibition
All Photography by June Chanpoomidole.

With the tweed squared pattern carpet and white banner metallic stalls, it looked and felt like a corporate event. Nevertheless, I found many examples of interesting Chinese design on display.

Omnialuo-Shenzhen Exhibition by Nicola Ellen
Omnialuo Silk Oriental Handbag by Nicola Ellen.

Omnialuo-Shenzhen Exhibtion by Fuad Ali
Omnialuo by Fuad Ali.

The style of Omnialuo is luxurious, romantic and noble, with a touch of elegance derived from 1940s Shanghai. Green and black silk loose skirts and tops are styled with brush calligraphy. Chinese style tops and an elegant black evening dress feature lotus flower motifs. This is what I dream of seeing in the UK High Street stores.

Nuit Blanche-Shenzhen-Exhibtion
Nuit Blanche-Shenzhen Exhibition by Natie Marie
Nuit Blanche by Natie Marie.

I loved the red felt dress by Nuit Blanche, a Swedish designer who is popular in both Sweden and China.

Awakening-Shenzhen Exhibition Pamplet
Actual Pamphlet given to me at the Exhibition.

I was given a pamphlet by Awakening, which was more like a loving plea to think about where the materials we wear come from, ‘to love Animals and love planet Home.’ The text was endearing without the use of horrific imagery or the need to ram the message home to the reader, which was very effective.

Awakening dress-Shenzhen Exhibition
Sam_Parr_Awakening Shenzhen Exhibition  LFW SS12
Awakening by Sam Parr.

So I had a look at their stall. Their clothing is made of ethically sourced and recycled materials, such as newspapers and polyester. To promote loving, eco friendly fashion, the brand aims to ‘awaken’ people’s consciousness to treasure all kinds of life and to maintain a healthy sustainable lifestyle.

Awakening-LFW Shenzhen Exhibition By Kassie Berry
Awakening by Kassie Berry.

I really loved the cuts and use of recyclable materials, especially the waterfall dress with prints of animals. The designs were made to prompt consideration for our planet Earth, with waterfalls engulfing swans and the cut of the fabric mimicking the shapes of rivers.

MyMo-Shenzhen-Exhibtion
MyMo dress-Shenzhen-Exhibtion
The name of the My Mo brand immediately caught my eye and the manager explained to me that the name is abbreviated from My Moment, as the collection and brand is based around the concept of an office girl, who can customise the look to suit work and play, to shine and have their ‘moment.’ It’s a simple but effective concept for the modern practical women.

MyMo-Shenzhen exhibition-by-Nicola-Rowlands
My Mo by Nicola Rowlands.

The collection had a light, delicate look with sheer, neutral and nude tones, which could easily be customised with a vest top or a tailored jacket. The grey dress with red and white lines and repeat diamond patterns reminded me of the kind of dress that is worn for tennis or running, but the cut and draping was more flattering around the bust and hips. Grey can be dreary during the summer, so a hint of red and white reveals some personality in the office.

HaipingXie-Shenzhen-Exhibtion
I have had such love for traditional Chinese dresses ever since watching Kar Wai Wong’s In the Mood for Love. The prints on Haiping Xie dresses were atmospheric, consisting of dragons’ emblems, lotuses, the moon goddess and even the Great Wall of China. The grainy quality of the prints reminded me of historic daytime Chinese Drama shows I used to see in Thailand. This was a colourful collection of dresses, with strong reds and yellows, which I would love in my wardrobe. I was very happy to see more of Haiping Xie on the catwalk later that day.

Ambassador-Shenzhen Exhibition
There was a surprise visit to the Fashion Shenzhen exhibition from ambassador of China Liu Xiaoming and his wife, Hu Pinghua, who looked incredibly elegant and could definitely give Samantha Cameron a run for her money.

Shenzhen Exhibition-Presentation
Despite the corporate environment I could see beyond it to the real purpose of exhibition. Shenzhen is a young city. Around 32 years ago, it used to be a small fishing village and has now been transformed into an advanced modern metropolis. Shenzhen was the first city in China to open itself up to the outside world, and has ever since been at the forefront of China’s economic reform. Exposed to Western fashion styles, Shenzhen has also absorbed influences and trends from across China. It is within Shenzhen that Chinese fashion has found its feet, so it’s no surprise that the city’s talent is now being shown off to the international community. Xiaoming described Fashion Shenzhen as nurturing both a ’traditional and creative culture,’ and this was definitely apparent in the designs that I saw around the exhibition.

The presentation by the Ambassador was incredibly dignified, after which he guided us to the adjoining building where Vauxhall Fashion Scout is held, ready to see the catwalk show….

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