You Should Be Reading: The Future of Chinese Fashion

This week, Worn Through would like to highlight “The Future of Chinese Fashion” and encourage you to add it to your reading lists.

Welters, Linda and Mead, Arthur C. “The Future of Chinese Fashion.” Fashion Practice: The Journal of Design, Creative Process & the Fashion vol. 4, no.1 (2012): 13-40.

link to full article

About the authors: 

Linda Welters  directs the Textile, Fashion Merchandising and Design department’s Graduate Program at University of Rhode Island. Her research interests include European folk dress, Rhode Island quilts and New England archaeological textiles. She has contributed to and edited the book Down by the Old Mill Stream: Quilts in Rhode Island (with Margaret Ordoñez). She is Editor-in-Chief of Dress, the Journal of the Costume Society of America and serves on the Board of the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanitie (University of Rhode Island).

Arthur C. Mead taught at Boston College and Simmons College in Boston and worked at the National Bureau of Economic Research before coming to URI.  His research interests are in the areas of regional economic performance, demographics, and the economics of higher education (University of Rhode Island).

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.

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1 Comment

  • Joy D. May 02, 2012 02.12 am

    I have been in correspondence with a couple Chinese fashion collectives and firms. There is a lot of work that can be done one on one to really investigate the rise of China in the fashion industry. These oportunities rarely happen! I will be updating on my blog once I sit down with some of the directors with interviews.


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