. China News .

In fashion, China gets its own first lady effect
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) June 12, 2013

When China's new first lady Peng Liyuan, a glamorous former folk singer famous in her own right, chose homegrown fashion label Exception de Mixmind for her husband's first overseas trip, speculation on Chinese social media went into overdrive.

Was this Exception's "Jason Wu moment"? people asked, referring to the young Taiwanese-Canadian designer who shot to fame after Michelle Obama dazzled at the first inaugural ball in an ivory one-shoulder Wu creation.

Or would Peng's championing of a domestic fashion label in the midst of a government "frugality" drive send a message to top officials' wives to ditch the bling?

For many labels such publicity is the stuff of marketing dreams.

But in his first interview since Peng accompanied her husband President Xi Jinping to Russia in March, Exception founder Mao Jihong looks uncomfortable when the "first lady issue" is raised.

Peng, a star in China for over three decades, has been wearing Exception for 12 years and some clothes were specially designed for her, Mao told AFP in an interview in Paris.

And while the publicity surrounding her choice of an Exception double-breasted trench coat and leather handbag on her Russia trip was undoubtedly good for the brand, it has also been "lots of trouble", he said.

"We just want to do fashion quietly. We never do campaigns or advertising but after the first lady wore our clothes (in Russia) lots of people came looking for us," he said.

"We want to present the brand rather than use the first lady to make us famous. We never really wanted that," he added.

The Exception story closely mirrors the short history of fashion design in modern-day China.

Graduating in 1991 from one of the country's first fashion design courses, Mao and his ex-wife Ma Ke set about offering an alternative to the drab, shapeless clothes they saw around them.

"We were among the earliest design students in China. Back then clothing in China had no beauty and everybody was wearing the same thing like a uniform," he said.

Today their label, one of the country's very first to be established in the early 1990s, has a "tiny" presence in China of around 100 shops.

Their designs concentrate on natural fabrics such as linen, silk and wool in styles that create a sense of "freedom".

"We wanted to define contemporary lifestyle in China with the brand and for people to discover the beauty and aesthetics of oriental philosophy through the designs," Mao said.

The label's first fashion show in 2004 was held in a derelict electric switch factory in Beijing.

The factory no longer exists having long since been demolished to make way for a vast shopping mall, a now familiar sign of rapid development in the nation of 1.3 billion.

Mao estimates that any one point around 40 shopping centres are under construction in each of the major cities such as Shanghai or Beijing.

He is careful, however, to distance Exception from such rampant consumerism, describing its clients as people who "love culture and art and have their own aesthetic point of view".

But he predicts that even those with an entirely different mindset can soon be expected to adopt a more sophisticated approach to fashion buying.

"I think it is a process of development," he said.

"In China there is no 'noble' class. There is no difference of social status and if people in China want to show that they are different they use a consumer item to identify who they are.

"I think that sooner or later the consumer will find themselves and they may not need those kinds of items to show off who they are," he said.

Now plans are afoot to launch Exception in Europe after approaches from French department stores and buyers.

"We are working on those international plans... Everything is under discussion," Mao said, adding however that the label was still very much a work in progress.

"We have never defined ourselves as a successful brand and I think we haven't reached that yet. We are still on the way," he said.


Related Links
China News from SinoDaily.com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Children 'left behind' in China's rush to the cities
Zhuangshuzui, China (AFP) June 12, 2013
Six-year-old Keke looks silently from a bare living room at her closest companion: a grandmother who resents having to raise her. Keke is one of China's 61 million "left-behind" children, whose parents have joined the mass migration to cities where they can earn higher wages - but cannot afford to keep a family. Instead they have to leave their children's upbringing and safety in the ha ... read more

Panama won't fret for now about Nicaragua canal

Ghana arrests 57 W. Africans in illegal gold mine raid

Berlin urges rapid solution to EU-China trade tension

China, LatAm leads gains in tourists to US

China pig farm 'pumped dissolved carcasses into river'

China approves imports of GM soybean from Brazil

Czech farmers say floods will cost $100 million

China import deal boosts Argentina's genetically modified crops

Gunfire at paramilitary barracks in Niger capital: residents

Rwandan general to command Mali UN force

'Scorched earth' tactics in Sudan's Blue Nile: Amnesty

Easy riches draws illegal Chinese miners to Ghana

China auto sales growth slows in May: group

French electric car share program sets sights on Indy

Los Alamos catalyst could jumpstart e-cars, green energy

Volvo chief acknowledges errors, says to stay in US

Japan's first lady says she is 'anti-nuclear'

Japan PM to step up nuclear export drive: report

Upgrades ordered for U.S. reactors

Glitch-hit US nuclear plant shut down for good

Google chief calls Internet spying threat to freedoms

US bill would deny visas, freeze assets of hackers

Manning said to be 'very political' but effective in Iraq

NATO to set up cyber-defence rapid reaction teams

Outside View: Trapped in the cul de sac of no good choices

Rising China propels Xi into Obama summit: analysts

Obama, Xi stir intrigue with desert oasis summit

US inventor allowed out by China ahead of summit

Enovos opens 10 MW wind farm

Quantum To Buy 10 Megawatt Trout Creek Wind Farm

Uruguay deficit likely to speed windpower plans

Romania decree threatens green energy projects

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement