LONDON — Xcommons, a Shanghai-based biannual designer support and crossover platform, is teaming with Alibaba’s business-to-consumer channel Tmall to help talented Chinese fashion designers to collaborate with some of the biggest commercial fashion brands in the region.
In the upcoming fourth edition, which runs from March 28 to 31 during Shanghai Fashion Week, Ximon Lee, Andrea Jiapei Li, Haizhen Wang and Minki Cheng will present their fall 2019 collections, as well as capsule collections with Chinese brands Peacebird, Blue Erdos, Blink Gallery and Bloomin, respectively.
“We value Xcommons for their high-quality designers and strong executions,” said Ricky Xie, Tmall Fashion’s senior marketing director. This season, the e-commerce platform is launching a “digital trend project” on March 30.
“Through Tmall’s intelligent trend discovery mechanism, companies can catch up with fashion trends faster and more accurately. In this context, Tmall Fashion forecasts the color, product category and crossover trends, and we work with Xcommons and Chinese designers and commercial brands to bring unique products to our consumers during the upcoming Shanghai Fashion Week,” Xie said.
All collaborations will be sold exclusively on Tmall Fashion. Customers can customize the color and pattern of the capsule collections during Shanghai Fashion Week and products will be delivered in two weeks.
Ying Zhang, founder of Xcommons, said: “We are providing recourses necessary to help designer brands leap forward to the next stage in their development. I see young talents coming out every year, but they become quiet after a few seasons. This is not because they don’t have creativity, but limited resources to operate brands in a competitive business environment. By introducing them to mature Chinese fashion companies, they can observe and learn. The collaboration is just a small step for both sides to explore the unlimited possibilities.”
Berlin-based Ximon Lee, an LVMH Prize finalist and H&M Design Award winner who has been with Xcommons from the beginning, said the collaboration with Peacebird will be “delightful” and easy to wear. “The capsule will feature iconic pieces. I infuse Chinese people’s culinary craving with some really cool graphics finishing,” said the designer, who is collaborating with the sunflower seed snack brand, Qiaqia, on the designs.
Andrea Jiapei Li, a New York-based designer known for her clean and feminine touch, said she’s excited to show in Shanghai again. “My fall 2019 collection, which is inspired by the strong female leads in space-themed movies, will be shown in an unconventional format, a hybrid between a presentation and a runway show in a retro-futuristic setting,” she said. Her capsule collection with Blue Erdos, a younger line in the group, consists of a series of T-shirts.
“The partnership creates an ongoing dialogue for me and Blink Gallery,” said Shanghai-based Haizhen Wang and a Fashion Fringe contest winner. He will bring the British country club experience to Shanghai with the new collection. London-based Hong Kong designer Minki Cheng believes “it will raise our brand awareness in the market,” he said.
For commercial brands, it’s an opportunity to expand their creative horizons. “It is great to support new talents. We have been doing production and technical support to them for years. Through this, we get to explore new possibilities, learn about new designers, and see a little of what the future might hold. Xcommons allows us to do this with our own brand which is very exciting for me,” said Jiajue Yin, general manager of Chenfeng Group, owner of Bloomin and Blink Gallery. The company is one of the country’s largest textile and garment manufacturers, and a supplier to brands such as Uniqlo, Patagonia and Theory.
Tana Dai, executive deputy general manager of Erdos Group, the world’s largest cashmere manufacturer, said, “We have always been keeping our eyes on Chinese independent designers. They have received great attention in the domestic market in the era of cultural resurgence, for their bold creative expression and contemporary interpretation of Chinese elements.”
Yangwei Hong, design director of Peacebird’s women’s wear division, thinks it’s crucial for Western-trained designer brands to have a real understanding of how fashion companies actually operate in China. “In the real business world, you need to have a sustainable positioning. There needs to be a transformational process that their creative ideas can appeal to the mainstream consumers and have strong commercial value,” he said.
WHM, a subsidiary of Zuczug; Offpeakers and the jewelry brand Cough in Vain will also showcase with Xcommons this season.