I’m not really sure what I was expecting when it came to Chinese fashion designs. I would like to think I am more open minded than the typical, “Made in China” label would really translate to high fashion or have any relationship to it. I would assume many Chinese designers would been traditional, colorful, and very historical. Mainly, because of the history China has, and I’ve never viewed China as progressive in terms of  self-expression. From what I have heard, and seen, much of Chinese fashion is heavily on western brands. While I’ve been in China over the last week I’ve explored and really tried to step out of my own worldview and see China as who it is.

One designer, which I have really enjoyed with my search was Yiqing Yin, who presented her first collection at the Hyeres international Festival in 2010 and then after launched her own label. Her label is carried in stores like 10 coral Como in Milan and Joyce in China and Hong Kong. She was born in China and raised in Pairs, but what I really have enjoyed about her pieces are how they reinforce the woman’s silhouettes subtly, like a second skin. In 2014, Yin became the creative director of French brand Leonard, with her first ready-to-wear show. I feel like this type of fashion designer really challenges some assumptions many have of Chinese fashion at least for me. Some of the difference in her style, I think can be reflected in her education and growing up in pairs. However, she is one of the top designers in China as well as one the the newest.

In terms, of men’s fashion I have really come to enjoy Yang Li for a Chinese fashion designer. I feel like its an obvious guess for me to like him because he dropped out of school in the central Saint Martin’s in London to work for Raf Simons, who is one of my all time favorite designers. However, In 2011 Li launched hims own label which included men’s and women’s clothing as well as shoes. Currently, Li is based out of pairs and his collection are stocked by shops ranging from L’Eclaireur to Dover Street Market. After viewing some of his pieces I think its an easy guess to where and whom he studied under as his style often incorporates edgy punk-inspired details like slits and tab closures.

These two designers alone, really challenge many of the dispositions, which a typical American would think of when it comes to Chinese high fashion. “The field of fashion in China today has now opened up a ground of experimentation and possibility”. So notes Hung Huang in the “Oprah of China” in her foreword to Fashion China. “Made in China” is no longer synonymous with low-quality or mass-produced. Today these two designers are subverting that perception and truly finding their self expression in their fashion. The list doesn’t stop there, since I’ve been in China for about a week now, there are about 10 other designers that I believe really challenge many previous believed views of fashion in China.

Thomas Jordon Raybell