“In association with Alibaba Group’s e-commerce site TMall, the CFDA on February 7 as part of NYFWM18 presented ‘Tmall China Day’, an event showcasing four Chinese designers: Li-Ning, Peacebird, Chenpeng and Clot, with runway shows from the brands clacking away throughout the day.” That’s the official CFDAXParty line. In the unsanctioned Temper lookbook, we ask… Why was a rather small and generic sports brand such as Li Ning being hailed as second coming of Alexander McQueen?
“Hold on, I gotta get this perfect. Pretty *nal about that,” one menswear influencer tells yours truly as he is carefully counting and editing the perfect amount of sparkly stars onto his latest sneaker IG post. Hey, we can support that: Perfectionism is a merit, not a vice, in Temper’s little Red Book. Nevertheless, when asked about the participating brands, it seems educating oneself wasn’t part of the perfecting process. Not the man’s bad; the very same applied to the majority of attendees. And how could they have known anything other than “CFDA Must-Have, China Exotic, Attendance Fee”?
Money talks, always; fashion, not necessarily. Like most people who have lived on Mainland China at one point or another over the last 10 years, I found myself ever so slightly surprised at the sight of three earlier mentioned brands, the exception being Chen Peng, which scream “available and affordable across your average China street shop” rather than “Fashion Week Design” taking to the NYFW stage. Nevertheless, one given stands on its own: Anything Alibaba touches, turns to gold.
The Magic Of Alibaba
Alibaba Group was founded in 1999 by 18 people curated by Jack Ma, a former English teacher from Hangzhou, China. Our founders started our company to champion small businesses, in the belief that the Internet would level the playing field by enabling small enterprises to leverage innovation and technology to grow and compete more effectively in the domestic and global economies. The Group’s vision is to build the future infrastructure of commerce; customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years:
“We enable hundreds of millions of commercial and social interactions among our users, between consumers and merchants, and among businesses every day. We empower our customers with the fundamental infrastructure for commerce and data technology, so that they can build businesses and create value that can be shared among our ecosystem participants. We strive to expand our products and services to become central to the everyday lives of our customers. For a company that was founded in 1999, lasting at least 102 years means we will have spanned three centuries, an achievement that few companies can claim. Our culture, business models and systems are built to last, so that we can achieve sustainability in the long run.” Alibaba Group
In the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2017, Alibaba recorded consolidated revenues in the sum of 158.3 billion RMB. Subsequently, the Chinese e-commerce giant reported a net profit of 14 billion RMB for the quarter that finished on June 30 — up 96 per cent year-on-year — and a final 2017 quarterly revenue growth of 56 per cent year-on-year come December 31. It’s like Willy Wonka working his magic.
Strategies And Attendees
Today, Alibaba Group has a new retail kitty on the block to promote: The Fashion AI brick and physical store. This Fashion AI store integrates modernity and smart technology to provide the ultimate shopping experience and, at the same time, enhances retail revenue. In that spotlight, the group was the first to team up with the CFDA’s commitment to expand its global horizons and from February 5 to 7, the above mentioned designers set up shop in a space at New York’s Skylight Modern, with a showroom available for buyers and media.
Fact du jour: Most pieces could be purchased on TMall, which now has more than 500 million active users following the show in real-time. It’s all about that other Alibaba initiative taking a promotional bow: “See Now, Buy Now”. Kinda self-explanatory.
What yours truly found hard to explain, aside from the cringeworthy “Shanghai Triad” opening soundtrack to one brand’s runway show (please do turn the beat around next time!), was the oohing and aahing taking place in a 360 degree circle surrounding my little seated spot. The invitation list was a rather unsurprising one with people from both the Big Apple’s Chinese communities and well as the much- and most-followed “influencers” filling the room with that duly-noted sense of self-justified self-importance. It’s a famine of substance, peeps; a famine of substance! And this coming from a self-professed narcissist.
Fawning over the athleisurely styled, basic fashionisto/-a looks you can catch on every corner of any first- and second-tier city on the Mainland, Mashma Ma five-year-old poofy Parisian runway knock-offs and other items available to all those who live around Beijing’s Dongzhimen and Sanlitun areas at the snap of their fingers, and a contactless swipe of the card, influencing attendees were slurping it up. And that, my friends, is why Alibaba really is the real-life, albeit digitalized, Willy Wonka. Having nothing to do with true fashion/design, the Group truly is the second coming of Rockefeller.
All disappointment with the non-imagination on display aside, NYFWM 2018 TMall China Day was a promotional pawn moving forward 2 spaces at a time across New York fashion plates — admittedly, we also had an “ooh” moment once or twice. All we can do, is hope for the designers to really spread their wings and bring some real-time, readily available innovation to the board. And after all the Temper moaning is said and done, we must bear one thing in mind… It may not be the second coming of McQueen, but one must never underestimate the erotic that is the exotic. No question marks there.
Images: Copyright@Temper Magazine
Copyright@Temper Magazine, 2018. All rights reserved
After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.
Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.
Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.
Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.
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