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First lady sparks frenzy over domestic fashion brands (2)

By Wang Zhuoqiong  (China Daily)

08:35, March 26, 2013

Chinese President Xi Jinping (1st L) and his wife Peng Liyuan (2nd R) are welcomed by Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (2nd L) and his wife Salma Kikwete (1st R) upon their arrival in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, March 24, 2013. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

US first lady Michelle Obama wore a custom-made Jason Wu gown for her two inaugural balls, bringing sudden fame to the 26-year-old designer.

Obama's colorful selections - ranging from J. Crew to Jason Wu - have boosted the American fashion industry, said fashion critic Jiang Xingyi.

She said the new generation of Chinese leaders has developed a taste in fashion with preference for no-logo designs rather than logo-intensive choices, boosting the domestic haute couture businesses.

Jiang said that Exception and Wu Yong are being singled out because of their use of Chinese culture and ethnic elements in their designs, based on the philosophy of simplicity.

"To pick up a design by a Chinese fashion brand as her debut outfit has shown her great vision and recognition of the innovations of the industry and revealed her low-profile style," Jiang saidZhi Yong, spokesman for Dayang Trands, which is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, said its domestic business has been propelled by the recognition from Chinese leaders and government officials.

A major exporter and manufacturer for international leading brands, Dayang Trands sees great potential in the domestic apparel market, Zhi said.

The Chinese apparel industry saw declining growth in retail revenue in the first 11 months of 2012, down 6 percentage points year-on-year.

Zhu Qingye, a researcher with CIConsulting who is based in Shenzhen, said domestic brands have difficulty in getting recognition.

But international fashion brands are believed by Chinese consumers to be of better quality and to have stronger fashion values, he said.

According to a 2013 consumer loyalty study in China made by Epsilon, consumers no longer blindly worship foreign brands, despite the fact that more than six out of 10 respondents endorse foreign brands.

The study found that local-brand supporters have grown to 43 percent from 31 percent in 2011.

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