China Designers is a biweekly series that showcases the wide spectrum of creativity in Chinese fashion design. From small designers to big brands, these names are changing the connotations of “Made in China,” one collection at a time. Write to us if you have a suggestion or submission.
Like many modern nations, China has a wide spectrum of masculine expression — and its menswear is no different. From soft and nostalgic to edgy and future-facing, no two labels have the same read on what it means to be a sartorial man in today’s world.
Here are eight independent Chinese labels specializing in menswear that we think you need to know.
Feng Chen Wang is the designer that arguably made “made in China” fashion cool again. Winner of the 2017 LVMH Prize, she garnered praise and pride in her home country when she walked out T-shirts emblazoned with “Made in China” during New York Fashion Week in 2018.
She has since carved out a name in global streetwear with her larger-than-life silhouettes, denim of all shades, and metallic gradients that positively drip with cool.
How “Made in China” Fashion Got Its Groove Back
Dividing their time between the fashion capitals of Milan and Shanghai, these two designers merge the best of both worlds — “Milanese tailoring meets Shanghai style.”
Li Yushan and Zhou Jun worked at Yeezy and Ermenegildo Zegna, respectively, before founding the label Pronounce in 2015. The duo is known for taking Chinese, British, and Italian heritage pieces — think the cheongsam, trenchcoat, or Italian tailored suit — and jazzing them up with forward-thinking details such as high-contrast stitching, atypical fabrics, and neon piping.
China Designers: This Italian-Chinese Label Could Dress the Next Century’s Modern Man
This nostalgic menswear label wears much more than just “rose-colored glasses” — although designer Gong Li clearly loves the color.
Season after season, 8on8 whisks watchers and wearers on a melancholic trip through the designer’s fondest memories, as well as some of society’s most fashionable decades. But that shouldn’t imply his nostalgia ever loses its edge. The label gives its retro inspirations an update with futuristic details and eye-popping washes.
China Designer: Nostalgic 8on8 Wears More than Just “Rose-Colored Glasses”
Founded back in 2007, Xander Zhou marked a notable first for China when it showed at London Fashion Week.
The Beijing-based designer who gives the label its name first studied industrial design before making the leap into the fashion world, having studied in the Netherlands. Through his work, Xander Zhou looks beyond national — even planetary — borders and offers up cerebral commentary on humanity, specifically how factors like AI and political conflict can affect our species’ future.
If menswear label Staffonly were a person, it would probably be your high school class clown. Quirky and self-assured, this label merges a youthful outlook with kitschy knitwear, cheery checks, and flowery cutouts.
Recently selected as finalists for the inaugural BoF China Prize, design partners and long-time friends Zhou Shimo and Une Yea both grew up in China, and studied in London before returning to their home country to found their label.
For a female designer, Liu Danxia — one half of Sam Smith-approved label Danshan — has had a rather contentious relationship with masculinity. Raised as a boy during China’s one-child policy, Liu recalls an eye-opening moment with her father that convinced her masculinity was worth exploring.
She, along with fellow designer Wong Shanpeng, created a brand that embraces openness and vulnerability as part of what it means to be a man in today’s world.
China Designers: Why This Duo Wants to Rewrite the Book on Masculine Fashion
While technically a unisex label, Private Policy has historically emphasized its masculine wearers, making its debut in 2016 at New York Fashion Week’s Mens with all male models hitting the catwalk in their slick, strappy designs. Designers Qu Siying and Li Haoran met as classmates at the prestigious Parsons School of Design before later deciding to make New York City their home.
The duo take a bite out of streetwear silhouettes with style cues from renegades through the ages — baggy cargo from the ravers, zippers and checks from the punks, and visual homages to the Stonewall riots, to name a few.
Cheeky and a touch nationalistic, Fabric Porn’s first two collections — and possibly his upcoming third — stem from designer Zhao Chenxi’s observation that “Chinese people are lacking in their own cultural confidence.”
Many of the clothes draw from a straightforward “Eastern elements meet Western silhouettes” formula, tacking traditionally Chinese details such as knot buttons onto denim jackets and trench coats. Others include amusing nods to Chinese street culture, such as screen printed tees that borrow slogans from the ubiquitous ads plastered all over China’s urban environments.
China Designers: Why This Designer Wants to “Make China Lit Again”
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