Top Fashion Schools in China: Pushing Forward Despite Philosophical Divide

BEIJING, China — Industry leaders outside the country still tend to paint all Chinese fashion schools with the same brush, despite recent strides made by some schools to up their creative games. Institutions like the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT), Tsinghua University (TU) and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) have nurtured the creative instincts of many graduates, and came 20th, 27th and 43rd respectively in BoF’s ranking of undergraduate programmes.

According to Li Fei, secretary-general of the academic committee of the China Fashion Designers Association, these three are among “the elite [fashion] universities in China.” Alumni of these universities have been nominated for international competitions like the H&M Design Award and the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, where BIFT graduate Fengchen Wang was a semi-finalist for the 2016 edition.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University | Source: Courtesy

Many more have gone on to top international fashion schools in Europe and the US to pursue a master’s degree. Nevertheless, Chinese fashion schools are still hampered by the fact that they view creativity and marketability as a dichotomy rather than a union. And this approach can be seen in the very essence of the curriculum.

For example, BIFT splits its fashion design programmes into two academic “pathways,” one being “creative fashion” and the other being “ready-to-wear.” This is quite a common separation amongst Chinese fashion schools, where faculty are compelled to either cultivate conceptual, artistic designers or train technical designers for big industry fashion brands.

Traditionally, fashion design programmes in China have focused on womenswear and knitwear.

The split was made in the 1980s when the China Academy of Arts and Crafts (or CAAC, which is now called the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University) launched the first fashion design programme in mainland China. There, the fashion design programme concentrated on artistic training, but another textile university started an apparel design engineering programme.

Ever since, the debate has kept fashion students in different camps and today China’s fashion design programmes are split into two distinctive disciplines: the former being under the discipline of design within the arts fields, or the latter, under the discipline of textile engineering within the engineering department.

Tsinghua University | Source: Courtesy

Tsinghua University | Source: Courtesy

In the pantheon of China’s fashion institutions, Tsinghua University has enjoyed a unique position in that both the present head of the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University, professor Li Dangqi, and the principal of Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT), professor Liu Yuanfeng, graduated from Tsinghua’s forerunner CAAC. Since CAAC merged with Tsinghua in 1999, the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University only recruits a small number of fashion students, making it a more desirable fashion school than most of its peers. However, its influence is no longer as great as it was in the 1980s and 1990s.

BIFT is the only comprehensive government-funded fashion school in the country. Its degrees range from fashion design (both the arts and engineering approaches) to fashion communication. BIFT was also one of the first fashion schools to launch programmes in menswear, sportswear, merchandise planning and buying, fibre design and costume heritage and innovation. “Traditionally, fashion design programmes in China have focused on womenswear and knitwear. BIFT expanded the programmes into new pathways [which] again proves BIFT’s spirit of innovation,” said Li Fei.

Since 2010, BIFT fills what it calls an “Experimental Class” each year to nurture its most creative talents. The course recruits the most creative students through an internal competition. Over 50 percent of the graduates of this class eventually go on to world-class fashion schools for further study. BIFT graduates also regularly win the Hempel Fashion Design Competition, which is the most sought after fashion prize in China.

Under such a competitive system, BIFT has cultivated a few influential alumni in the Chinese fashion industry. Examples include Mao Jihong, co-founder of the first successful contemporary Chinese designer label Exception; and Yin Jianxia, the former vice president of Metersbonwe, the largest casual-wear brand in China, who also founded the brand Uooyaa.

Across the fashion education spectrum, nationalism still plays a role in curriculum planning, partly due to China’s government-led education system. For instance, in the final graduation shows, fashion schools often require that design themes be something akin to the ‘China dream.’ And while there is of course a focus on individual achievement, original aesthetics and creative flair, one aim of Chinese fashion schools is still to discover and cultivate top Chinese designers who can create global impact by earning honour for the country.

The post-graduation situation for fashion design students in China still needs improvement. Unlike graduates from international fashion schools who have opportunities to work for well-known, fashion-forward international brands, there are few equivalent opportunities in China. Most big Chinese fashion companies still want designers to be good at copying because these are the skills needed for the price-conscious fast fashion sector.

The consequence is that starting up their own business is now the most attractive career for many young fashion graduates. The government’s motto of “Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation” (“Wanzhong Chuangye; Dazhong Chuangxin”) may indeed resonate with some, but the reality is that most have no better option.

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The Savigny Luxury Index (“SLI”) continues its rise.

The Savigny Luxury Index (“SLI”) continues its rise, progressing by two and half percent in March in line with the MSCI World Index (“MSCI”), driven by strong results announcements and an uptick in M&A activity.

Big news

The euro’s weakness is benefiting the luxury goods industry, but also creating important discrepancies to which luxury groups are responding with unprecedented price adjustments in a bid to counter a fast developing grey market. Chanel led the charge by lowering prices by more than 20% in China whilst increasing European prices across the board by approximately the same percentage. Similar price increases in Europe and price decreases in Asia are expected of all the major brands, albeit with a lesser quantum as the local European clientele remains fragile.

During Baselworld, Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Gucci all announced partnerships with technology companies to develop hybrid watches that would combine traditional watchmaking with digital know-how and wireless connectivity. These technology deals could be seen as a way for watchmakers to hedge their bets ahead of the release of the Apple watch and the smartwatch phenomenon in general. Traditional watchmakers such as Breguet and Patek Philipe said that smartwatches were incompatible with their brand values and the timelessness of their products.

M&A activity has picked up: Italian private equity firm Clessidra finally acquiredRoberto Cavalli in a management buyout – the company was valued at €400 million, a brutal discount to the €1 billion plus price tag touted a few years back; Interparfums acquired French fashion brand Rochas from P&G for $108 million; and last but not least, the Italy-based fashion online retailer Yoox merged with online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter to create the world’s largest online luxury ecommerce platform, valuing Net-a-Porter between €1.3 and 1.5 billion, a multiple of up to 2x sales. Richemont will retain a 50% stake in the merged entity. Some new kids on the block also received investment: Peter Pilotto opened up its capital for the first time to Megha Mittal and MH Luxe and online retailer Farfetch raised another round of investment, valuing the company at $1 billion.

Going up

Moncler shares leapt up almost 16 percent after it posted a double-digit profit jump, driven by new shop openings. The company also said that it had already secured twenty locations for new shop openings in 2015, making it the only luxury outdoor/ lifestyle brand with a truly global footprint.

Hermès jumped by almost 14 percent after announcing strong full-year results, a dividend hike as well as a one-time additional payment to investors.

Salvatore Ferragamo’s share price rose 10 percent, boosted by better than expected profit growth and a great start to 2015.

Going down

Shares in Brunello Cucinelli slumped almost 12 percent after it forecasted a lower core profit margin for the current year, due to rental costs rising faster than expected.

Tod’s fell more than seven percent as comparable sales in the first quarter continued to be hit by weak Chinese consumer spending and cold weather in North America.

What to watch

The Net-a-Porter and Yoox merger has created an industry leader in the booming online luxury market, with combined sales of €1.3 billion. This deal highlights the strategic importance of the internet in driving future sales, particularly among the so-called millennials. There is still room for growth in sales and in profits amongst the players: the internet only accounts for five percent of global luxury sales and Yoox Net-a-Porter’s operating margin is only 5 percent, relative to 20 to 25 percent for most big luxury brands. However, the merger is expected to lead to a profitability increase for the newly-created online luxury champion, with sales and operating synergies such as warehouse costs, logistical, back-office and distribution costs.

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RTS London Conference 2014: ‘Power, Politics and the Media’ 9 September 2014

RTS London Conference 2014 from Royal Television Society on Vimeo.

With the eyes of the world on Scotland’s impending independence referendum, the BBC charter renewal drawing near and some of the most transforming deals in the media taking place, the television industry faces an uncertain future. On 9th September 2014, the Royal Television Society’s London Conference returns with some of television’s biggest names to tackle some of industry’s toughest questions.

With Keynote speakers including Chase Carey, President and COO of 21st Century Fox, JB Perrette, President, Discovery Networks International and The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, the event will be influential in the growing debate around the evolving nature of media.

New names have recently been added to the already extensive roll call of speakers, including Matt Brittin, President, Northern and Central Europe Operations, Google, Kevin Sutcliffe, Head of News Programming EU, VICE News and Krishnan Guru-Murthy – all of whom will be joining the likes of Tony Hall, Director-General of BBC, Jeremy Darroch, Chief Executive BSkyB and Sir Peter Bazalgette.

Rob Woodward, Chief Executive, STV will be Chairing the illustrious event which will include discussions on whether television is losing power as a medium, job cuts and enabling the next generation.

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Listen to Anna Wintour

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Elvetia’s Dream

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Warren Buffett Shared Some Great Career Advice For Millennials

Warren Buffett served as a mentor to young professionals yesterday during an “Office Hours” session with Levo League, a networking and career advice site.

During the live stream video chat, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO told women to “stop holding yourself back” and shared personal stories — including how he overcame his fear of public speaking — to highlight universal career lessons.

We’ve included a few key takeaways from Buffett’s interview below:

1. Find your passion.

“Never give up searching for the job that you’re passionate about,” he says. “Try to find the job you’d have if you were independently rich. … Forget about the pay. When you’re associating with the people that you love, doing what you love, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

2. Be careful who you look up to.

“If you tell me who your heroes are, I’ll tell you how you’re gonna turn out. It’s really important in life to have the right heroes. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve probably had a dozen or so major heroes. And none of them have ever let me down. You want to hang around with people that are better than you are. You will move in the direction of the crowd that you associate with.”

3. Learn how to communicate effectively.

While he was getting his MBA from Columbia University, Buffett said that he was “terrified of public speaking,” and signed up for a Dale Carnegie class, but changed his mind at the last minute. After graduating, Buffett saw the ad for the course again and decided to give it a second chance.

“I became associated with the 30 other people in the class. We couldn’t stand up in front of a group and say our own name. I mean it was — we were — it was pathetic.  But that class changed my life in a big way.”

4. Develop healthy habits by studying people.

“Pick the person that has the right habits, that is cheerful, generous, gives other people credit for what they do. Look at all of the qualities that you admire in other people … and say to yourself, ‘Which of those qualities can’t I have myself?’ Because you determine whether you have them. And the truth is you can have all of them.”

5. Learn how to say “no.”

“You won’t keep control of your time, unless you can say ‘no.’ You can’t let other people set your agenda in life.”

6. Don’t work for someone who won’t pay you fairly.

“I do very little negotiation with people. And they do little with me, in terms of it … if I was a woman and I thought I was getting paid considerably less than somebody else that was equal coming in, that would bother me a lot. I probably wouldn’t even want to work there.  I mean, [if] somebody’s gonna be unfair with you, in salary, they’re probably being unfair with you in a hundred other ways.”

7. Become involved with growing businesses.

“I mean, you want to get on a train that’s going to go 90 miles an hour and not one that’s gonna go 30 miles an hour and you’re gonna try to figure out how to, you know, push it along a little faster. So it really does make a huge difference. And there are some businesses that inherently [have] far more opportunities than others.”

8. Learn everything you can about your industry.

Buffett says he reads six hours every day because he believes that growing your intellectual prospective will also help you critically solve future problems that may arise.

“I knew a lot about what I did when I was 20. I had read a lot, and I aspired to learn everything I could about the subject. “

9. Young women should seek male mentors.

Buffett says it’s important for women to have male mentors, because the majority of today’s leaders in the workplace are still men.

“These [mentoring] relationships all just evolve. I never set out to become a mentor … It’s amazing … how the person that really wants to do a terrific job just jumps out. There aren’t that many. You will be perceived as exceptional and as a worthy person for a superior to spend some extra time with if you just do something extra all the time. It seems elementary, but it’s true.”

At the end of his office hour, Buffett told everyone that even if they fail along the way, “the world isn’t over,” because “you are healthy, and bright and have decades ahead of you.”

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Prinses Beatrix heeft dinsdagochtend met het tekenen van de Akte van Abdicatie afstand gedaan van de troon.

NU.nl/Mark Vos

Abdicatie Beatrix en balkonscèneFotoserieVideo

Volg hier ons liveblog van de troonswisseling

In de Vroedschapskamer van het Koninklijk Paleis, ook wel de Mozeszaal genoemd, tekende Beatrix na een korte toespraak de Akte van Abdicatie waarmee zij na 33 jaar koningsschap weer prinses is geworden en haar oudste zoon koning.

Chris Breedveld, directeur van het Kabinet der Koningin, las vervolgens de Akte der Abdicatie voor. Ook Willem-Alexander en koningin Maxima tekenden het document.

Prinses Amalia is vanaf nu troonopvolgster. Zij heeft de titel ‘Prinses van Oranje’ gekregen.

Op het moment dat de handtekeningen werden gezet ging er luid gejuich op op de Dam. Het plein voor het paleis, waar de ceremonie op groot scherm is te volgen, staat helemaal vol. Volgens de politie zijn er 25.000 mensen aanwezig.

Bij de plechtigheid in het paleis op de Dam in Amsterdam zijn naast leden van de koninklijke familie 31 getuigen aanwezig. Die ondertekenen ook de Akte van Abdicatie. Het perkamenten document wordt voorzien van het grootzegel en later in de Nieuwe Kerk tentoongesteld.

​Bekijk het moment van ondertekenen:

Balkon

Koning Willem-Alexander, koningin Máxima en prinses Beatrix verschenen na de troonswisseling op het paleisbalkon. “Gelukkig en dankbaar ben ik u voor te stellen aan uw nieuwe koning: Koning Willem-Alexander”, sprak Beatrix, die zichtbaar ontroerd was.

“Lieve moeder”, begon Willem-Alexander vervolgens. “Vandaag hebt u afstand gedaan van het koningschap. Het waren 33 bewogen en bevlogen jaren, waarvoor wij u intens, intens dankbaar zijn.” Hij bedankte ook de bevolking van Nederland en de aanwezigen op de Dam voor “steun en vertrouwen”.

Na de korte toespraken van prinses Beatrix en koning Willem-Alexander en het volkslied verschenen ook de drie prinsesjes op het balkon. Daarmee herhaalt zich het scenario van de troonswisselingen van 1948 en 1980, toen de jongste Oranjes ook op het balkon kwamen.

Bekijk de balkonscene:

Beëdiging

De nieuwe koning legt dinsdagmiddag in De Nieuwe Kerk tijdens de Verenigde Vergadering van de Staten-Generaal de eed af op de Grondwet en het Statuut en wordt vervolgens ingehuldigd.

In het hele land worden activiteiten en festiviteiten gehouden ter gelegenheid van de abdicatie en inhuldiging.

Nederlandse vorsten op de troon:

Beweeg de cursor over de lijn om het aantal dagen te zien. Bekijk hier een grote versie. – (c)NU.nl/Jerry Vermanen

Kleiner koningshuis

Prins Maurits en prins Bernhard en hun echtgenotes prinses Marilène en prinses Annette zijn sinds de abdicatie van Beatrix niet langer lid van het Koninklijk Huis.

De twee oudste zoons van prinses Margriet en Pieter van Vollenhoven maken ook niet langer aanspraak op de troonopvolging.

De 3 kinderen van prins Constantijn en prinses Laurentien verliezen met de troonsafstand van koningin Beatrix ook hun lidmaatschap van het Koninklijk Huis maar blijven wel troongerechtigd. De wijzigingen vloeien voort uit de verschillende bepalingen over de troonsopvolging en het lidmaatschap van het Koninklijk Huis.

Daarbij wordt gekeken naar de graad van verwantschap ten opzichte van de koning. De kinderen van Margriet en Pieter staan nu op grotere afstand van het staatshoofd. De prinsen Pieter-Christiaan en Floris waren in 2005 door geen toestemming te vragen voor hun huwelijk al uit de lijn van troonopvolging gevallen.

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What the Top 1% of Businesses Have in Common

Schermata 07-2456113 alle 15.49.09

We all know our economic recovery absolutely depends on small businesses. But not all businesses are made equal. It’s high-growth businesses that will be essential to our upswing — a recent McKinsey study shows that 1 percent of US companies that are growing at the highest rate account for 40 percent of all net new jobs.

Every industry has its high-growth entrepreneurs: from construction to energy to financial services to tech. And you’ll find them in every area of the country. These powerhouse businesses — which hire, innovate and expand at disproportionately high rates — make up between 1 and 5 percent of every business sector in today’s market. Too often, good businesspeople fail because they do the right thing at the wrong time.

Praticaly it’s most of all to understand about the right timing to came out in to the action.

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Moneypos ABI PRIZE 2013

The Prize ABI (Italian Banking Association) for innovation in banking services” now in its third edition, has awarded imprebanca for “ib-cash safe” Special Mention Innovation for the corporate client and PA in the category “bank serving customers. “

The award, dedicated to the ideas and most innovative solutions and technology used by banks to products, services, and relationships with families, businesses and public administration, has recognized the innovative system “ib-cash safe your money in the bank without go to the bank, ” imprebanca concrete response to business needs. Through the installation of this device CASH IN fact, businesses can manage their cash with considerable advantages in terms of security, acting as a deterrent against burglary, and savings in time checks for payments of bills, available since next day for collection. The Prize was awarded on March 27 in Milan as part of the Forum promoted by ABI Lab “Bank in Touch”.

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Dolce & Gabbana Skipped Their Court Hearing

The never-ending tax-fraud trial against Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana proceeded today with a court hearing in Milan, where members of the Italian IRS accused the designers of hiding their earnings to avoid taxes. Such topics are deadly boring, so we’ll sum it up quickly: In 2004, the designers sold their brand to Gado Srl, a “Luxembourg-based holding company” — or so they claimed. Tax officials believe that Gado is actually operated in Italy, and the whole transaction was basically a front to give the Italian IRS the runaround. Luxembourg’s corporate tax rate is 4 percent, compared to Italy’s 45 percent, which gives Dolce & Gabbana plenty of motive to pull this off.

As for proof, Italian officials have several e-mails indicating that Gado was managed in Italy, and cited the suspiciously “below-market” price that Gado got for Dolce & Gabbana. The prosecutor not only implicated the designers themselves, but also Domenico’s brother and board member, Alfonso Dolce, and managing director and board member Cristiana Ruella.

As usual, the designers were not present at court, apparently choosing to uphold their attitude of pretending the case “doesn’t exist.” Their lawyers have denied all charges. Two more hearings are scheduled for February 6 and February 20 — just in time for Milan Fashion Week.

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