Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Michael Keane
Chapter 32: Chinese fashion designers: rebuilding from the centre of the world
The fashion industry is a potentially dynamic sector of the cultural and creative industries, an area in which China already has a dominant global presence through its mass manufacturing of garments. However, the ‘made in China’ label that appears on garments through the developed world does not signify a Chinese cultural presence. Fashion is identified with creativity. Chinese designers want to create brands. In the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, a local garment manufacturer has invested RMB 1 billion (US$163.6 million) over the past several years in cloud computing. Red Collar’s online platform allows it to respond to the increasingly specialized and sophisticated needs of its global clients. The platform enables Red Collar to flexibly organize manufacturing capacities; for instance, it produces some three thousand tailored garments each day for clients in New York and has plans to double the availability of this kind of customizable production in the future. Red Collar illustrates the possibilities of cloud computing in transforming China’s garment manufacturing industry (Xinhua News Agency 2015). While the company is changing long established industrial manufacturing processes, at the creative end of the value chain Chinese fashion designers are seeking out a presence on the world stage.
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