Fashion, Culture And Global Consumerism In Fashion
Fashion and culture are the two phenomena, which are closely associated with each other. It is very important for the fashion industry to know the cultural trend of the respective community in which the business is trying to establish and flourish. The cultural aspects both tangible and intangible, influence significantly in shaping the fashion industry. The tangible aspects are available fabrics, accessories, traditional motifs etc. The intangible aspects of fashion are the cultural beliefs, values, taboos, festivals etc.
Globalization and Its impact on Fashion Industry
With the emergence of globalization, the overall approach of the businesses has rapidly changed. The globalization has had its impact on the fashion industry as well. Fashion, like other industries, cannot flourish by keeping itself disconnected from the society and the world especially in the waves of globalization. Previously the fashion used to be operated domestically. The functioning of the business was restricted to the limited area. Hence the scope of growth was very limited. But due to globalization the fashion business has a lot of room for its growth. The global fashion is highly influenced by the trends from all over the world. The cultural elements of the different nations have been incorporated in designing the dresses. If the particular culture is to be brought on the global fashion platform, the fashion designers need to be aware of the cultural aspects of the particular community. In consumer market, the new trend comes and the businesses use creative ideas to attract their consumers. The fashion industry is also not exception for it. The sky is limit for the creative fashion designers and they always experiment new things to attract more and more consumers from all over the world.
The emerging economies are also influencing the global fashion market and among them Chinese culture has left its great impact on today’s global fashion industry. Especially in 1990s. The Chinese economy is boosting rapidly and the attention of the whole world is naturally towards China as it has been predicted that Chinese economy will be the world’s number one economy in near future. The place of China on the world affair has become very important. The power of China is reflected in fashion industry as well.
Influence of Chinese Culture on Global Fashion Industry
The fashion industry has moved out of the European monopoly in fashion and it has now started taking inspiration from other cultures. Chinese culture is among the most influential cultures followed by Western designers in fashion. The western fashion industry was introduced with the Chinese culture. In 1990s. Yves Saint Laurent made the collection called “China of my dreams” (Industry, 2015).There are various exhibitions taking place on global fashion platforms that are dedicated particularly to Chinese culture. It includes Chinese art, and imagery. Last year from May 7, to Aug 16, one of the biggest exhibitions took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which was based on the China. In the exhibition 150 dresses, gowns, other costumes and accessories designed by 40 designers were put on display. The embroidered costumes were displayed. The embroidery was from Chinese culture right from imperial China to Shanghai in 1920s (Reaney, 2015). The Chinese treasures were displayed such as dragon robes which were worn by the Chinese emperor(Reaney, 2015). Emperor is the symbol of power, wealth and success in China. The mannequins were in the dresses that were inspired by Chinese culture. The exhibition itself is the sign of growing influence of Chinese culture on the fashion world. China is one of the most influential countries in the oriental culture in fashion.Oriental world is opposite to the Occident world. The term oriental is used to describe the eastern countries such as India and China while the term Occident is used to describe the Western countries. The trend of Orientalism in Western Fashion started in late 1980s and in 1990s as well. These years were marked by the major events such as globalization and free market in China and Hong Kong’s inclusion in China in 1997. These were the historic events that influenced the global fashion market especially these events boosted the sense of Chinese identity on the global platform (Paulicelli and Clark, 2008).China is one of the few biggest markets in Asia and that is the reason why the influence was there on the fashion industry. A well-known term “Chinoiserie” is used specially to describe the Chinese cultural impact on French and other Western fashion industry (Runes & Schrickel, 1946). The Western consumers are influenced by Chinese fashion right from Hanfu to Qipao and Mao suit. The Chinese clothes and fashion have certain attribute that has been influencing the Western designers. There are some famous world brands such as Lacroix, Christian, Versace, Ralf Lauren, are using the elements of Chinese culture in their designs (Zeng, 2011).
Consumerism and Fashion in China
Chinese economy has been becoming stronger day by day. The middle class is the prominent class in China. The influential consumers in China are the new generation; the youngsters, who are financially independent. They are ready to pay exorbitantly to maintain a certain lifestyle. The eastern China is the abode of the rich and affluent class. The main cities such as Beijing, Shanghai Guangzhou are the highest per capita consumption in China. So they can afford on spending on fashionable clothes. Among the mob of the consumers the youngsters do not care about price; but they are concerned with the best quality and trendy products. The new generation generally prefers style in their costumes as well. While studying the trend and behaviour of fashion among the Chinese consumers, Le and Kambele (2011) observed that Chinese consumers are ready to pay for the luxurious items.
Moreover, China is the biggest consumer market in clothing consumption in the world and more than 50% of the world’s clothing market is occupied by Chinese consumers (Li, 2010). Along with the foreign brands there is a growing trend among Chinese people to buy domestic brands such as Youngor, Shanshan, Seven Wolves, Bosideng, and Metersbonwe. Being a huge and most populated country in Asia, Chinses consumer market is very complex. Hence while knowing the behaviour of consumers, the companiescan bifurcated them into different attributes of consumerism. It will be easy to penetrate the consumer market by targeting a specific group. For example the young people are very keen for fashion. Moreover, they are experimental who like to try new things. They are non-traditional. For them the product should be trendy. It should look stylish. As said that the young generation does not prefer traditional. The non-traditional products can be manufactured by experimenting the traditional attributes which will ultimately look trendy and fashionable. As mentioned above, if the Orientalism has spread in global fashion, it automatically becomes the non-traditional item among the consumers. Thusultimately the consumer market becomesglocal (the blend of global+local). In glocalization, the local products as well as the local culture influences the global fashion and when the local products become global, they become popular among the youngsters as the trendy products. In short the new generation is keen to be global in every aspect and fashion is one of the aspects. This trend can be useful for Chinese market. When the foreign fashion businesses want to establish their companies in the country like China, they have to be careful and familiar about the cultural aspects and if the fashion trend is launched where the Chinese culture will be reflected, that would become more popular among the people.
As said above that the newly launched companies have to be familiar about the cultural aspects. These aspects include tradition, taboos, beliefs and attitudes of the people at looking towards the life. For example, number four is unlucky in China while number eight is lucky. Hence making special fashionable attire for Chinese market, the fashion designers should pay attention of avoiding number 4 in any of the designs. Otherwise, it can hamper the sale of the product.
Many young fashion designers are experimenting the fusion of traditional and modern elements in their designs. Some of them are already trained with western fashion schools, but in their design, they use the fine blend of Western culture along with Chinese heritage.
The Future of Fashion in China
Considering the successful journey of China towards being a superpower in near future, the Chinese fashion industry will also prove itself to be one of the most influential industries. More and more Chinese fashion designers will carve a niche in the international fashion industry. The future of fashion will be in the hands of Asian countries like China and India. The growing urge among the people will motivate the fashion designers to be more creative.
The overall fashion market in near future will grow substantially. Considering today’s growing rate, China’s fashion market is likely to grow up to $ 200 billion. The future is very optimistic for Chinese fashion industry. The fashion industry will also boom significantly due to the huge market. The country will be the major source for so many creative ideas from Chinese culture not just for the Chinese fashion designers but for the designers from all over the world as well. China will continue dominating in the manufacturing of fabric in international market. With its growing influence, China and Chinese culture will influence the Haute Courte. The consistent growth in fashion market will be there in near future as well. According to the Boston Consulting Group report, China will be the second largest fashion market in the world by 2020(Boston Consulting Group, 2011).
The current approach in Chinese fashion industry is very optimistic and it will help China to be the major fashion hub in the world. Due to globalization, the local fashion industry has also realized the importance of being global and they will take efforts to become global by maintaining the quality of the product according to the international parameters.
The awareness of carving a niche on international platform will develop in the future. It will help China to control the global fashion industry, which is going to be one of the most revenue generated industries in China.
On the basis of the evidences of Fashion industry and Chinese Consumerism, it can be concluded that Chinese culture is influencing the Western fashion world. China is one of the biggest markets and hence Chinese culture can definitely put its impact on the international fashion industry. The cultural and social environment in China is favourable for the sustainable growth of fashion industry. But it should also be taken into consideration that like the other most ancient countries in the world, China also has a rich culture and the society is still culture and social bounded. Hence knowing and following the cultural values in fashion industry is beneficial for both local and global fashion markets for their successful business in China.
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