It’s not just that China’s fashion industry is experiencing a domestic surge, several of the lines being produced are near couture level. And while they might be unknown in the West, these brands are marked by two important characteristics at home — first, they’re incredibly well-made and accordingly priced (read: expensive) and second, they embrace Chinese heritage and China’s history of high-end craftsmanship.
Preeminent among this group of domestic designers is Guo Pei, who is largely credited with sparking the country’s current homegrown luxury boom, The Financialist reports. Guo’s Rose Studio offers two lines, the first of which smacks of couture — gowns occasionally take upward of 70,000 hours to produce. The New York Times reports that Guo’s craftsmanship sometimes exceeds anything coming out of Paris (and if that’s the case, who needs an official stamp from the Fédération française de la couture?). A ready-to-wear line is still priced in the thousands-of-dollars range. Both of Guo’s endeavors borrow from Chinese heritage and handicraft techniques, featuring details like heavily detailed embroidery and innumerable pearls.
Another designer, Liu Lu, is well-known, at least at home, for her five trendy boutiques, Lu 12.28, that showcase her eponymous line. Her goal, she told The Financialist, is to become the “Chanel of China.” Like, Guo, what she produces is decidedly upscale.
And this trend toward domestic design isn’t limited to China. Eastern Europe, with its thriving textile and fabrication industries, has seen a corresponding surge of new designers in the region. Nanushka, Reserved, La Mania — they’re not as enormously pricey as their Chinese analogs, but they represent a similar, growing trend toward local fashion.
But the Chinese are mainly selling to the Chinese, and the Eastern Europeans are either marketing at home or farther east, in Russia (or likewise in China). What about us?! We might not be in the market for couture-level gowns from any country, but we’re rooting for an eventual trickle down effect, with more attainable new design coming from within the China. And, though we love our U.S. designers, we can’t wait to get a hold of the emerging fashion from other parts of the world — it’ll be interesting, over the coming few years, to see if these labels are even interested in expanding westward, and if so, how long it takes.