Donghua University students create their designs for Dickie.
Young designers should not be overlooked when Shanghai is striving to develop into a "city of design." Donghua University's latest attempt to cultivate young fashion designers has proven to be successful.
In a recent exhibition co-organized by classic international workwear brand Dickies, Donghua and Tmall Innovation Center, 26 young designers attending Donghua presented their understanding of workwear.
Their designs were created in an education-industry integration program launched by the university and Tmall Innovation Center that trains students in real-work processes in the fashion industry. The program, based on big data from China's e-commerce titan, Tmall, encourages students to do research on fashion trends in China and create innovative fashion products based on features of particular brands.
Under the program, the university has partnered with famous brands such as Calvin Klein and Chando.
Designs by students from Donghua University on display at a Dickies store in Shanghai.
Yu Kechen's design, the first-prize winner, on sale at a Dickie's store
This year, students designed many workwear items under the guidance of staff from Dickies in the whole design process, from market research and fabric selection to pattern design and sewing.
Their designs include typical characteristics of Generation Z in China, such as new Chinese punk and Daoism, making traditional workwear much more interesting.
After voted by 1,000 invited young consumers, the design on the theme of buzzword "emo" by Yu Kechen won first prize and is officially on sale at a Dickies store. It bears cartoons and words showing his true feelings in daily life, such as "Why are there so many things going against my wishes?" and "What a nice day to run away."
"I think 'emo' is not always negative," said Yu. "I think it's a kind of self-mocking way to temper the negative emotions to get yourself ready for the next day."
Li Jun, director of Donghua's Shanghai International College of Fashion and Innovation, said the program is a win-win solution for both the university and the company.
"For the university, we get the opportunity to let our students get a glimpse into the real industry and try their hands on real commercial designs, which is very important for their future career development," he said.
"And the brand can also get to know the fashion ideas and choices of the young generation through the students. It's especially helpful for international brands to get localized to win the young consumers who are the future of the Chinese market. By cooperating with international brands, we hope to cultivate a generation of talent with global vision who contribute to the city's efforts to build itself into a metropolis of design."
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