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Many fashion connoisseurs feel Chinese designers are fashion’s hope for the future.


In recent years, many Chinese young people flocked to the most prestigious Western fashion schools as part of their admiration for western culture and it’s fashion heritage currently  shaped through Institutions such as Central Saint Martin’s College UAL in London, and Pratt Institute in NYC.

Traditional fashion education has assisted them to understand their goals and fully developing their skill and personal aesthetics. After graduation though, many seem to have difficulty penetrating the hermetic traditional fashion system and actually find employment in the industry, thus considering becoming self-made fashion entrepreneurs. During this process, online fashion marketplaces such as Alibaba’s Taobao have become their creative playground.


n fact, there is an increased number of Chinese fashion creatives choosing to sell their work at Taobao, as it offers them the opportunity to develop their brand strategy the way they actually want. A report released by Taobao and CBN data verifies it; almost 20 percent of TaoBao’s fashion designers actually have a traditional overseas fashion education background and a strong wish to succeed in their homeland market. McKinsey’s Understanding Chinese Consumers: Growth Engine of The World also states the phenomenon as it documents the shifting Chinese shopping audience.
In the process, TaoBao has been an unexpected help; its huge consumer database and accessible trading system have helped up-and-coming Chinese designers to grow their business and establish a name for them through brand loyalty.

This wave of Chinese designers creating unique products is making the most use of the platform to reach a new audience of Chinese Gen Z’s and Millennials that is both fashion hungry and fashion educated.

And while TaoBao was initially known as a huge marketplace for rather cheap items and questionable fashion replicas, it is currently propelling the work of independent fashion designers as part of its effort to reposition itself as the main Chinese fashion incubator. It offers designers the opportunity to open a store without the usual costs of rent and staff as well as enabling them to reach out to possible investors. In that process, TaoBao has made full use of the new “proudly designed in China” tagline as opposed to the old concept of “made in China” meaning mass production and poor quality. Thanks to Jack Ma, Taobao as a platform has been democratizing ecommerce for small business owners and emerging designers. While it's recognized as a mass marketplace for cheap goods, it's also time for people to realize that it is also a breeding ground for independent designs. That's why quite a few labels on FANGYÁN were discovered from Taobao - FANGYÁN believes that to advocate for the Chinese designer is to advocate for these "hidden gems".

Tmall China Cool Peacebird show at NYFW by Bryan Bedder | Source: GettyImages 

As back as in 2018, the company committed to helping over 500,000 independent designers establish storefronts and cater to the new audience of Gen Z’s and Millenials looking for unique and sustainable fashion brands. This new wave of young Chinese consumers has different buying habits than their predecessors; they seek affordable yet unique fashion items that don’t necessarily bear a traditional luxury label. They care about brand storytelling and sustainability best practices through a new approach to shopping. For them, luxury means quality meets the uniqueness of design.

Ilia-Sybil Sdralli
Executive Editor