China’s Independent Fashion Designers Are Breaking Free – A Preview of Shanghai Fashion Week

Until March of 2022, Shanghai had spent much of ‘The Covid Years’ largely lockdown-free. 2020’s international outbreaks had prompted a mass return to the Motherland. Chinese models and photographers flocked back to China’s fashion and financial hub-never busier-while New York, London, Paris, and Milan ground to a halt. Upcoming Chinese designers moved their businesses back home, closely followed by a wave of fashion graduates from the likes of Parsons and Central Saint Martins, who would otherwise have stayed overseas to intern with international houses. Shanghai’s fashion scene had never felt more alive.

“Shanghai, from a creative and design standpoint, was booming. There were so many new brands popping up. Established Chinese designers were evolving and entering a new chapter. The city was really becoming this unique cultural hub on a global stage,” says designer Ming Ma from his Shanghai apartment, where he had been locked down. Last week, he stepped out of his apartment compound for the first time in 60 days. The first thing he did was cycle around the city for hours.

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