A few Chinese fashion brands are working towards sustainable fashion products, will the trend spread nationwide?
China is known worldwide for its unhealthy levels of air pollution and its counter-smog measures such as breathing masks and license plates restrictions. The Chinese textile industry accounts for a large share of the pollution in China. The question raised is whether or not fashion in China could be associated with sustainable behavior?
To shed light on this emerging sustainable “Made In China” label, we will define what sustainable means. Most of the time, the term eco fashion is used but this term is vague and does not really involve all the aspect that sustainable have.
The recipe for sustainability should be as follow:
– Respect towards the environment, respect the people that produce the products and/or service, respect towards the end product and its lifecycle, respect towards the consumer
– Preservation of tradition and cultural heritage
– Making use of, and driving innovation
China has been lately working towards new textile materials, new fashion designs, bold graphic patterns all coming from the influence of a long textile history. Subtle use of traditional lines, materials, methods and cuts mixed with innovative ideas and daring designs will slowly but surely give shape to the modern Chinese fashion trend. Even though China has been known to imitate western fashion for a long time, this era seems to be about to fade away. A recent trend in the use of materials and the graphic pattern indicates that Chinese designers now longer rely only on western and foreign design to create. They are furthering their use of the Chinese (Korean even) heritage and are finding new ideas as to how mixing it with modern influence.
As regards eco fashion, concerns about the sustainability do not come from fashion but rather grows as customers interests into organic food and cosmetics are getting stronger. Chinese parents are on the storefront of this issue and are inclined to follow western trends. Eco fashion is coined as a western concept, and it has already begun spreading eastward.
Most of the Chinese designers do not even know or do not care about eco textiles or eco production methods. However, a few of them have chosen this path such as Vega Zaishi Wang who is combining “ancient craftsmanship” and “modern spirit” into clothing. Angel Chang comes next with her active involvement with local communities in order to bringing back Chinese traditional designs and textiles. Then we have Atelier Rouge de Pekin, a Franco-Chinese design brand that associates Mao-inspired styles with a Parisian touch. Although these latter seem quite innovative and promising, it remains unsure whether or not mainstream fashion brands will follow their footsteps and work towards more sustainable behavior.