Fashion weeks advance new forms of cultural tourism, regional cooperation
Published: Apr 25, 2024 08:53 PM
A model showcases a consume by Vera Wang in the Puyuan 
Fashion Week.Photos: Courtesy of the Puyuan Fashion Resort

A model showcases a consume by Vera Wang in the Puyuan Fashion Week.Photos: Courtesy of the Puyuan Fashion Resort

As spring unfolds across China, many cities are abuzz with various fashion weeks, aiming to explore new models for promoting tourism while infusing fashion elements. Among them are the ongoing Puyuan Fashion Week in East China's Zhejiang Province, and the just concluded Guangzhou Fashion Week in South China's Guangdong Province.

Local organizers emphasize that fashion design serves as a vital medium for enhancing new quality productive forces, embodying cultural, aesthetic, technological and ecological values thereby creating great commercial and social value. Additionally, combining fashion elements with cultural tourism also helps explore new models of cultural tourism as well as regional cooperation.

Ancient and trendy town

Puyuan, renowned as the birthplace of Pu silk, has recently emerged as a focal point of the fashion world, with the start of Puyuan Fashion Week on Wednesday in the city of Tongxiang, Zhejiang Province. The week-long event promises to be a feast for fashion enthusiasts, showcasing the fusion of local and international design talent against the picturesque backdrop of the ancient town, a location that can be traced back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

With both local fashion brands and international brands taking center stage, the fashion week aims to accelerate the transformation of local industries. In 2023, the fashion week found its new home in Puyuan fashion town, marking a transformative moment that integrates knitting, fashion, and cultural tourism. The theme "Knitting is Fashion" from 2023 remains a core concept of the event, but the year 2024's iteration delves deeper into it, Bao Long, the main organizer of the fashion town, told the Global Times.

According to Bao, Puyuan's rising reputation as a "fashion town" and its hosting of various domestic and international fashion industry events underscore its role as a pioneer in the development of a new model of "tourism plus industry" among ancient towns in China. 

Local organizers emphasize that the design philosophy of this fashion week embodies a diversity of ideas, cultures, and aesthetics, blending seamlessly with the unique atmosphere of the ancient town and simultaneously keeping pace with international fashion trends. 

Departing from conventional runway shows, models are placed on rowboats, surrounded by guests from both sides of the strait, thus creating a unique runway experience amidst the natural tranquility of the Zen hall, offering a blend of Zen and trendy fashion.

One highlight of Puyuan fashion town's exploration of fashion and cultural tourism integration is the street fashion shows, which break the confines of traditional stages. By taking the runway to the streets, spectators are invited to immerse themselves in a carefully curated fashion journey.

Puyuan Fashion Week also provides a platform for young designers like Dai Xinyi, whose innovative take on traditional Chinese fashion has captivated multiple audiences. 

The college student told the Global Times that her collection draws inspiration from Chinese calligraphy, combining calligraphic elements with modern clothing to create a harmonious balance between tradition and innovation, and reflecting the beauty of the new Chinese style.

For Dai, the "new Chinese style" trend advocates innovation rooted in traditional Chinese culture, while integrating with international fashion trends, promoting the aesthetic elements of Oriental classic clothing represented by Chinese culture, and facilitating cultural exchanges between the East and the West. 

During the creation process, Dai integrates hand weaving with computerized machine knitting, as well as craftsmanship using special materials and original beadwork. She said she also combines the concept of "emptiness" from calligraphy with the "solidity" of textual patterns.

"I hope people can feel the beauty between the abstract and the concrete of my works, and enjoy its subtle and elegant charm," she said.

The night view of Puyuan ancient town in Tongxiang,East China's Zhejiang Province

The night view of Puyuan ancient town in Tongxiang,East China's Zhejiang Province


Fashionable Greater Bay Area

The 2024 Guangdong Fashion Week Spring Session drew to a close in Guangzhou on Monday. Featuring over 50 activities, including runway shows, exhibitions, product launches and trade fairs, the fashion week aims to promote the establishment of a modern industrial ecosystem characterized by industry interconnection, factor integration, and regional coordination, according to a local outlet in Guangdong.

At the opening ceremony, the Guangzhou station of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) Fashion Show 2024 made a stunning appearance. This event brought together emerging designers from the GBA fashion industry and outstanding students from professional schools, showcasing the latest design works to the audience in the form of fashion shows.

Fashion designers from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland expressed their excitement about participating in this event. They found it intriguing to see designers from different places and to observe their diverse creations, which sparked many creative ideas and provided a channel for mutual exchanges and cooperation in the fashion industry. .

"Fashion is not something you can do in isolation. You must integrate different information or expand your areas," said Yang Yingying, one designer who attended the fashion show. "The best part of participating in these events is that people from different cities in the GBA get to know us, and we learn about different brands and teams from different regions and fields. We discover fresh ideas in their works and find like-minded people to collaborate with. I enjoy sharing different ideas with other teams," Yang told the local outlet.

 Media reported that the GBA Fashion Show 2024 is an integral part of the GBA: Fashion Integration 2024 project. In 2024, the project will last approximately six months, covering six major cities including Guangzhou and Hong Kong.