TOPBUYER prides itself as an organisation that promotes exchanges between Eastern and Western fashion trends. The Chinese market is developing beyond its lust for simply Western-branded items. It is becoming more sophisticated in sourcing for trends and unique, one-of-a-kind items that espouse individuality rather than simply conformity.
The importance of the dialogue between these two fashion worlds will be integral to developing their respective cultural capital. However, through what methods can this be achieved? By spotting talent early and pushing established brands further. I had the privilege of attending Topbuyer’s first runway debut on 13 December 2013 – encountering designers, bloggers and fashion buyers and entrepreneurs.
Meeting with Bowen Sun, who heads the PR division, was refreshing as she shared her visions for the future of Topbuyer. She spoke of her mission to “enable Chinese audiences to learn how to understand fashion, trends and design, as well as appreciate aesthetic from a personal perspective”. Chinese consumers are moving away from getting “run-of-the-mill” designer items, but want to better express each of their individual senses of style. Topbuyer not only aims to pre-empt what’s next in the fashion world, they want to be part of the trend-creation process itself. They provide buying and PR services, combined with high-tier consultancy, to enable their clients to break into the often misunderstood market of China.
Many pieces were mesmerising, sourced from the most talented design students in Europe. In particular, I loved the use of pattern cutting, texture and layering in many of the clothing designs on show. I was taken by one designer’s use of classical paintings that were printed on fabric and matched interestingly with leather.
Topbuyer not only aims to pre-empt what’s next in the fashion world, they want to be part of the trend-creation process itself.
Among the guests, I swapped some thoughts with blogger IndieBean who has a keen following. She gave me some tips about how to make full use of social media, noting how “being personal, making connections and swapping ideas” is key to success in the blogosphere.
What is wonderful about Topbuyer’s message is its commitment to helping new designers access markets more fairly and easily. By branching out in providing more opportunities to homegrown talents in the West, Topbuyer enables fashion designers to engage a new market which would be open to creativity and experimentation.
Meeting Alex Podd, who studied fashion retailing, was further enlightening as she shared some important industry-specific observations. I learnt more about how the online browsing process is important to a customer’s shopping experience, and how marketing also entails engaging and appealing to consumers rather than simply advertising products. She also shared her passion for giving designers a better cut when retailing their products, given the amount of work involved in establishing a brand independently.
Topbuyer enables fashion designers to engage a new market which would be open to creativity and experimentation.
I was lucky to converse with one of the designers from the Topbuyer show itself, Anne-Lina Dingsor-Uudelepp, who explained her collection. It displayed a fascinating appreciation of colour and clashing visuals but represented more that just that. She wanted to capture the violence of the London riots and the destructive imagery of burning cars. She used photographs of burning wreckage and worked with them innovatively by creating patterns from them.
The evening was a brilliant way to network and gain unique insights into the complexities of the world of fashion and become acquainted with the future mover and shakers in the industry.
Article and photos by Yinsey Wang