The Taobao Maker Festival is Alibaba’s annual celebration to spotlight the ingenuity and creativity of China’s young talent. At this year’s event, from Sept. 13 to 16, over 200 exhibitors will showcase their products and share their latest work. Among them are 20 independent clothing designers, whose newest collections will be gracing the runway at the event’s “See Now, Buy Now” fashion show. Here are two designers and their stories:
WAN YI FANG
British-trained Wan Yifang launched her namesake label in 2012. Her signature square-cut, contemporary designs are all about providing comfort and accentuating the inner strength of “self-confident, independent working women,” she said in an interview.
In 2010, the Xiamen native won the L’Oreal Professionnel Award for Young Talent and later secured a full scholarship for the postgraduate program at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design in London. One of her graduation pieces was worn by Lady Gaga during an Asia tour. In 2012, Wan’s unique taste and fashion innovation were again recognized when she clinched the Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s Merit Award.
Ahead of her first Taobao Maker Festival, Wan said she has been more actively managing her Taobao store and just starting to explore ways to communicate with customers beyond the touch-and-feel experience of offline stores.
“We are new to e-commerce platforms, so we’d like to participate in the Taobao Maker Festival and let people know what we do, as well as take the chance to meet more creative brands and designers,” she said.
Christine Lau, the creator and founder of Chictopia, is another young China-based fashion designer whose work will be featured at this year’s Taobao Maker Festival.
After earning a degree in textile design at Central Saint Martins in 2008, the Beijing-born designer founded Chictopia at the age of 24. In less than 10 years, her brand has soared to become of one of China’s most sought-after independent designer labels. Chictopia’s feminine, youthful yet bold designs have earned the affection and loyalty of many celebrities, including Chinese actresses Fan Bingbing and Angela Yeung Wing (better known by her Instagram moniker, “Angelababy”).
In 2012, Lau’s unique fabric designs appeared on the cover of Vogue China—a first for a homegrown, independent designer label.