The Future of Chinese Fashion

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Since China overtook Japan as the world’s number two economy, all eyes have turned east. If history is any predictor, China will lead world fashion in the foreseeable future. The authors discuss China’s fashion history as determined by its past economic policies. Three aspects of China’s fashion future are explored: production, consumption, and innovation. Rising labor costs are causing coastal production to move inland or to lower-wage countries. The growing middle class is experiencing increased purchasing power, which both Chinese and international brands seek to attract. China has a variety of retail formats, ranging from knock-off markets to supersized malls to trendy outdoor shopping villages. China is aiming to capture a larger share of apparel profits through innovation. Currently Chinese consumers in the luxury sector prefer well-known global brands such as Louis Vuitton, but the authors predict a native Chinese designer will emerge on the international scene in the future.

Keywords: China; fashion; global economy; luxury market; trade policies

Document Type: Research Article


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Publication date: May 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Fashion Practice is the first peer-reviewed academic journal to cover the full range of contemporary design and manufacture within the context of the fashion industry. Fashion Practice provides a much-needed forum for topics ranging from design theory to the impact of technology, economics, and industry on fashion practice.

    Interdisciplinary and wide-ranging, Fashion Practice addresses the entire business of fashion, including: innovation in fashion design and practice; sustainability and ethical decision making within the industry; micro- and nano-technologies within the fashion context; “smart” textiles and digital fashion; materials, design, concepts and interdisciplinary process; fashion consumption and production from retail/e-tail to performance fashion; new developments in fashion and clothing retail.

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