Fashioning the next generation of mainland designers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 June, 2012, 12:00am


Giorgio Armani's trip to Beijing began with a visit to the Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University.

The conference and question-and-answer session at a lecture hall on campus was held with dean Lu Xiaobo and Vogue China's editor-in-chief, Angelica Cheung, in front of a packed auditorium of students and foreign journalists.

Armani shared his thoughts on the Chinese market, the longevity of his billion-dollar fashion label, and gave some advice to the young designers.

'You can't be a copycat, you need to have your own ideas. Nowadays, for young designers, it's hard to do something that no one else has done yet,' he said. 'But reform doesn't have to be big. Smaller reforms in the proportions, the ratio of the lines, the fabrics - small changes can change styles too. To have such dreams is important, but you need to be sensitive and you must translate it into something that people can accept - to turn your dream into a reality.'

Armani became part of the academy's overseas internship programme in 2011, allowing a few selected design students to win an internship in his Milan headquarters.

'When you design, you must have an understanding of your own culture,' Armani said. 'But you also need to internationalise, not just stay localised.'

As part of his effort to help 'internationalise' young Chinese students, Armani announced this year's winners, Wen Ya and Wang Yilong, who will be joining his studio in September for a six-month internship.