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First lady fashion highlights Chinese designers (2)

By Gan Tian and Tiffany Tan  (China Daily)

08:47, March 27, 2013

Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week opens on Sunday with a show by independent designer Wang Peiyi, whose creations have graced the Milan runway. (China Daily/Zhu Xingxin)

While the designers might delight fashion critics abroad with their fresh and inspired creations, back home potential clients find the designs a bit inaccessible.

Wang Peiyi and Wang Yutao have sold their haute couture pieces to A-list actresses like Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi and Fan Bingbing, but many people can't afford their garments.

"Most people will not spend 1,000 yuan ($161) on a young designer's creation," fashion critic Shi Zhiqiang says. "They would rather spend the money on established labels."

On the bright side, independent designers are finally starting to receive some support.

The ongoing Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week raised its curtain on Sunday with Wang Peiyi's show. This is a landmark event as the fashion week often opens with a big Chinese label, like Cabbeen or White Collar. It has never done so with an independent designer, but winning the 2012 China Young Fashion Award couldn't have hurt Wang's chances.

Yang Jian, secretary-general of the event's organizing committee, says China Fashion Week is promoting independent designers by scheduling their runway shows at peak viewing hours, putting industry bigwigs in the audience and connecting them with sponsors.

Wang Peiyi's collection, which glittered on the Beijing catwalk, just as it did in Milan, has Swarovski to thank for its crystal accessories. Now, he needs mainland fashionistas, their mothers, sisters and friends to sit up and take notice of his designs.

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