Labelhood at Shanghai Fashion Week

Shanghai Fashion Week is a host to a myriad of showrooms, events, and designer showcases. One of these is Labelhood which is, in their own words, A pioneer fashion and art festival. Labelhood is a new Mecca for emerging designers in China, reminiscent to London’s Fashion Scout. When compared to the maturity of Shanghai Fashion Week’s main tent at Xintiandi, it’s clear Labelhood is more rooted in youth culture and urban fashion. It’s edgier, younger. Even in comparing the two venues there’s an purposeful air of unfinished DIY-ness to the Labelhood spot. While the Xintiandi tent is seamless and feels expensive, the Labelhood location on Minsheng Rd. is all unfinished concrete, warehouse windows, and high ceilings. If Shanghai Fashion Week at Xintiandi is queen BeyoncĂ©, then Labelhood is Solange, cooler, younger, more obscure, and able to take the risks that big sis isn’t.

Labelhood is not only a venue for fashion shows, but also an experience. Inside the warehouse are a series of pop-ups. When waiting for the next showcase attendees can meander, make their own nike charm bracelet, experience an art instillation, or even decorate their own hat (with glue guns and all).

The designers at Labelhood are just as fresh as their host. For some of them, SS20 will be their debut showcase. Labelhood is highly selective on who is invited choosing only the most talented of emerging creators. This choice of top-notch talent fights back on harmful stereotypes of Chinese design. Which here is not only cutting edge but full of heart. I had the pleasure of seeing three designers on day one of Labelhood.

The first show I attended was Danshan, a menswear label from Central Saint Martins graduates Dan & Shan. Their brand utilizes softer fabrics like satin and silk to breath a sense vulnerability not only into their clothes but also the men that wear them. The inspiration of this collection was Euphoria.

Attendees were ushered into an intimate warehouse room. Over speakers the only sound was rhythmic heavy breathing. The collection was delicate and thoughtful. Natural raw edges, the ‘imperfections’, of the fabric choice were on display. The clear sensitivity to Danshan’s designs gives relief to traditional macho concepts of masculinity.

In the show’s finale, as models walked the breath on the soundtrack accelerated unto a deep euphoric sigh in conjunction with fog machines that filled the space. There was a moment before they turned on fans, when it was almost impossible to even see even the person sitting next to you.

When the fog lifted models were standing posed on the runway and guests were invited up to take photos. It was a surprise bonus which extended their collections feeling intimacy.

WINDOWSEN by Sensenlii
Lii, who had their debut showcase last year in New York Fashion Week with VFILES, opted for an immersive walkthrough as opposed to a traditional runway showcase. Guests were let into a low lit open space. The floor was covered with small black pebbles cleared to make a walking path. On black stages sets of models were posed starkly lit with green hued spotlights.

The collection was meticulous in detail, a dramatic fusion of sportswear and couture. The work transformed the models to genderless figures that feel beyond human. Yet, through out the collection there was a vulnerability in these aliens as guests gazed at and photographed them. This celebration of weird felt honest and heartfelt. The strangeness and drama was genuine, and neither ‘put on’ or over the top.

Roaringwild at Labehlood SHFW”/>

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Roaringwild closed out the night with three back to back shows. When leaving the first industry show there was a line that wrapped through venue of people waiting to see the collection. The buzz was energetic, it was clear the Roaringwild had a understanding of and connection with Chinese youth.<br />
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While there was a sense of quiet and potentially even reverence to both Windowsen and Danshan. With Roaring Wild there was a beat. Models walked forcefully down the runway. The streetwear matched it’s intended urban setting. Models were accessorized with bucket hats, and cyan headscarves. Jackets featured utility pockets. Overall the collection was accessible and relevant to the blossoming urban youth culture of Asia.<br />
<br />
All in all Labelhood is what feels like a fitting addition to the Shanghai Fashion Week schedule.<br />
Granting space to designers embarking on their careers. It gives us (hungry viewers) a peak at the beginnings of Chinese creators of the future. A future which seems increasingly bright.  

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<a href=',+China@31.230416,121.473701&z=10' target='_blank'>Shanghai, China</a>
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