After successful shows in New York and Milan, Tmall wrapped up its “China Cool” tour on Sunday at one of the industry’s most anticipated events of the year: Paris Fashion Week.
Showcasing designs that blend traditional Chinese influences with modern fashion sensibilities, labels chosen by Tmall, including Shanghai-based contemporary womenswear label Eifini and multi-brand retailer Peacebird, showcased their spring-summer 2020 lines at one of PFW’s venues, the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild.
Tmall this month has brought select Chinese designers to major fashion hubs around the world as a part of Tmall’s China Cool initiative, which looks to help fashion-forward designers build their brands both at home and abroad. The China Cool trend appeals to consumers who are “increasingly experimental and individualistic,” said Jessica Liu, head of Tmall Fashion and Luxury at Alibaba Group.
“China Cool is our forward-looking vision for global fashion,” Liu said. “We selected emerging and established brands who we think could have real international appeal. We have a unique role to play in this space and can be instrumental for China Cool to be discovered and enjoyed worldwide.”
Tmall’s trend-forecasting arm, the Tmall Trend Center, provided forecasts to help the designers anticipate consumer preferences over the coming three to six months, Liu said. Both designers – as well as the labels that have participated in the China Cool showcases in New York and Milan – have incorporated the forecasts into their new collections. Tmall said it plans to share the report with more brands to help them stay on-trend and navigate the ever-evolving Chinese fashion market.
Qian Xiaoyun, founder and chairwoman of Eifini, said the Tmall China Cool event was the label’s first time doing a show outside of China – a significant milestone, as her brand’s 20th anniversary is next year. “Our debut at Paris Fashion Week is a beginning for our brand to become more international,” she said.
China Cool comes at a time when consumers are demanding more fashion-forward and personalized products, and Chinese designers are becoming more and more creative, Qian noted.
“They are not just looking at what is trending elsewhere in the world, but looking introspectively into Chinese culture and modern lifestyles in China,” she said.
WATCH: Eifini’s New Collection at Paris Fashion Week
Speaking at Paris Fashion Week, Alibaba Group Chief Marketing Officer Chris Tung said that holding the show was also about fostering exchange between the design and brand communities in France and China. Showcasing brands such as Eifini at the world’s fashion capitals exposes them to new sources of inspiration, while European brands discover what’s popular in China, helping them to innovate and push their work forward.
China Cool has become a mainstream phenomenon, happening across all segments in the country, as the younger generations increasingly embrace their cultural roots, Tung added.
“It’s about taking the heritage, the cultural elements from Chinese history and culture and incorporating that into the product design,” he said. “We think this will not only influence the consumption in China but gradually influence the world.”
Duncan Clark, author of “Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built” and a longtime follower of the company, said that the days of “made in China” are quickly becoming “designed in China.”
“It’s not just the old days when it was the influence from the West really into China, China is coming out now as well,” Clark said. “It’s a coming out party, really, for China.”