East-meets-West fashion collections are not just symbololic, but Chinese to the core

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2011, 12:00am

Fashion designer Masha Ma (pictured) often gets questioned about her East-meets-West style sense. It's not surprising. The Beijing-born graduate of Britain's Central Saint Martins design college, who's worked for Alexander McQueen and Preen, creates concept-driven looks that are often inspired by Western culture, from architecture to photography.

'But Chinese [aesthetics] is always part of my life. I think it's basically the essence of my design, not just the symbolic look of it,' she said.

Ma was one of three up-and-coming Chinese designers sponsored by the K11 art mall for its showcase at Paris Fashion Week this month. She presented her latest collection at the Tsim Sha Tsui mall on Wednesday. Locally-based models such as Lisa Selesner, Jocelyn Luko and Cara Grogan took part in the show. 'I guess the thing with East meets West, or the other way round ... what matters isn't where you come from but where you are taking it,' Ma said.

The designer, who has been based in London for 10 years and is looking to move to Paris, said there were pros and cons to working outside China.

'In London you get exposed to more international perspectives, but because you are away from China you have less understanding of the Chinese market.'

To tackle her home market, the designer is planning a short film project to launch her next collection, featuring a Chinese celebrity model, whose name she would not reveal.

Designs by Ma and the other two fashion stars, Jin Chongyu and Shi Jie, will be on display at the K11 mall until April 10.