In a previous post, Hongzhan He told about himself. Below he discusses his personal view on fashion.
How would you describe Fashion and the Fashion World today?
Fashion nowadays has become a highly organized industry, and it has become more difficult to succeed as a legendary designer. In the past, a fashion could influence the taste for a decade or even more. My personal view on fashion is that I am not so happy with what I see in the fashion world today. It is obvious that fashion became more democratic thanks to our times, when the general people took the role of old opinion leaders; yet, it is also sad that fashion houses (especially the big ones) tend to become all the same by catering to the taste of mass market, while maximizing the sales and profit but with no real values. I think, sometimes they made vulgar stuffs.
On the other hand, though, the segmented market seeks for more independent voices to represent various kinds of aesthetic preferences, and this is where independent designers find their space, which is good.
What do you think Fashion will look like in the future?
I believe that in the future, the fashion world will become more exclusive but also democratic than half a century ago. These two aspects are not – as they may seem – contradictory. It will be more exclusive in the sense that the picky consumers will get tired of the omnipresent brands and go deeper into their own personality. On the other hand, it will become more democratic due to the development of new technology and social media. Everybody can expose themselves in the media and influence their surroundings. As we already see it now, the power of the traditional fashion authority is undergoing a change. It also challenges the creatives to respond to the changes with efficiency and wisdom.
Hongzhan He with friends
How does this leave you feeling, and what do you think young people today dream of?
It definitely challenges everybody in this industry, especially the newcomers. However, the beauty of unpredictability is the reason, why fashion attracts me so much. If you got used to a certain way of doing things, it can make you lazy, and this will leave you behind compared to the young generation. Having a career in fashion, though, forces you to reinvent all the time along with the new social trends. You have to continuously learn new thing like when you’re a child.
I think the young creatives today want more than a fancy job; they are seeking for a way to express of what they think fashion means. With the media, it’s a new era where fashion becomes more democratic, and everybody has the opportunity to speak their own voice. Young people dream about and need more power in determining the current fashion world, and I think, they deserve it. After all, fashion itself is sharpened by young generation’s idea, as we know.
How do you see China in this, and what influence will it play?
China is one of the biggest fashion markets and manufacturer nowadays. In terms of design, however, it still has a long way to go. Fortunately, I saw some young designers, and new brands are striving to pave a new way for Chinese fashion, like Shang Xia, and Masha Ma to name just a few. Actually I hope China could give birth to a unique fashion language like Japan, rather than just building up some lucrative brands. The maturity of national aesthetic is the solid foundation of a healthy fashion system together with the desire and means of expressing this. And I am very optimistic about this!
Parkview Green Mall, Beijing
Fashion and Art have always lived side by side, and continue to do so. What’s your view?
Fashion itself is art. We all know that the iconic fashion items are already part of the history of applied art. For me, nowadays fashion houses are trying too hard to make their brands arty by sponsoring art events, or collaborating with artist, which in my view is artificial and totally unnecessary.
The greatest artworks always have the power to foresee the trend and lead the way to that direction. But only time can prove they achieved it or not, when we look back at it years later. In this sense, great art is verified by time. Great artists have a dedication and sincerity they put into their work, rather than self-promoting propagandas that make their art. Or with other words; artists make their works, and time make the selection.
This also holds true for fashion. I still insist that fashion creations should turn to themselves; they need to have the ability to bring the client into an atmosphere at the first look (without thinking or analysis) like a great art piece does to its audience. In this sense, it’s better to forget about marketing trick and go back to the work itself to find the real art in fashion.
What is the most exciting thing that young creatives have to offer, and what do you think about the statement ‘Fashion is Dead’?
Being young means less boundary, and young creatives offer new solutions and inspirations, which is the most valued treasure. Fashion will never die, as long as human society exists. It changes though. The statement ‘Fashion is Dead’ only works for those, who defines ‘fashion’ narrowly. For some Haute Couture clients, the Ready-to-Wear trend made them claim ‘fashion is dead’. It’s the same situation today, when Fast Fashion co-exists side-by-side with Premium and Luxury brands, or when people of a certain age claim the same thing, as also they define fashion narrowly. We all know, these assumptions are not true. Whether you like it or not, fashion is constantly developing, and it’s self-defining. This is also the most charming part of it.
Cover photo of Sanlitun area, Beijing.