|Chinese designer Zhang Chi cooperates with world-acclaimed fabric company Reda in his latest creations. Photo provided to China Daily|
Good fabric is the bedrock of many of the best outfits and smartest designs. Gan Tian chats to designers and material companies about the importance of quality cloth.
International fabric companies are flocking to the Chinese mainland, seeking to woo the new crop of Chinese fashion designers to use their products.
Well-established independent fashion designers Zhou Xiangyu and Zhang Chi have used Reda's fabrics in their latest creations. Established in 1865, Reda is one of the world's leading manufacturers of pure wool fabrics for men's clothing.
Zhang, well-known for his minimalist designs, has used the company's interwoven material to give his new collection a traditional elegance, while Zhou, whose offerings are varied and unusual, is using a special fabric of wool and linen mixed with silk.
Zhang says he spends a lot of time selecting fabric companies before starting to create a collection.
"The traditional fabrics, like wool and linen, are not keeping up with designers' needs anymore. I need more inspirations from the beginning, from materials. I think choosing a fabric is also a part of design for independent designers. It helps designers to realize what couldn't be done in the past," he says.
Fabrics and fabric companies serve as an important link in the fashion world.
Japanese brand Issey Miyake is known for its natural, wrinkle-free garments. A shirt from Issey Miyake can be twisted and squeezed, and when put on, it is still flat without creases. It means a consumer can wear it without ironing. The fabric was developed by the company, and many designers want to use it in their creations.
Some other fabric companies have special access to rare materials. Zegna was originally a fabric brand specialized in wool. There are also companies providing fabrics with interesting designs, which are inspiring for designers.
While paying much more attention to designs and products, Chinese fashion designers and companies used to neglect the importance of fabric designs. However, with the development of the fashion chain, more are beginning to realize just how crucial quality fabric is in the whole process of creation.
Yang Ziming, the man behind China's famous menswear Cabbeen, says he has a team who travels around the world, in search of good fabrics.