At 3:30 pm on January 12, “The Silk Story—2018 International Fashion Art Exhibition” opened at Beijing Exhibition Centre, which is a brand new page for Fashion Art Exhibitions in China. The final participants totalled 102 artists from 13 countries and districts who would attend the exhibition, remarkably involving participants, countries and art works to produce a veritable “show gathering one hundred people”.

The exhibition is sponsored by International Fashion Art Network, co-organized by China Fashion Association, Center for Fashion Design at the School of Design, CAFA, and China Hi-Tech Group Corporation. It is themed on the Silk Story and China is the home of silk. Since Zhang Qian of the Han Dynasty visited the Western Regions more than two thousand years ago, the Silk Road has been a major artery that connects the political, economic and cultural exchanges between the East and the West and has promoted friendly exchanges between all countries in the world and China, and integrated the civilizations and emotions of the East and the West.

International Fashion Art Exhibition in China is closely related to fashion and art. The concept of Fashion Art was introduced by Prof. Lyu Yue (Aluna) from CAFA in 2007. In 2008, it started with an exhibition that gathered 88 artists from 10 countries and districts, the International Fashion Art Exhibition initiated the group exhibition on Fashion Art in China. The soul that mutually integrated Fashion and Art, as well as the pioneer of culture in International Fashion Art Exhibition which explicitly represents the international trend of Fashion Art. The International Fashion Art Exhibition also creates a splended presention of its special art form in motion and static format, with displays of the characteristic culture and art in China to the World. As a result, the Exhibition has gradually come to be the congregation for Fashion Art with international authority and impact.

It has been 10 years since the International Fashion Art Exhibition was held in China. Over the decade, the economic growth stimulated by the development of Fashion Art has formed the latter into an influential exhibition. International Fashion Art Exhibition mainly attempts to foster creative talent while offering exhibition opportunities and promoting international exchanges. After 10 years of hard work, the International Fashion Art Exhibition brings together a group of enthusiasts and practitioners who love fashion and art, including lecturers and Professors from Universities and Institutes, artists and fashion designers.

The participating artists are from China, United States, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Sweden, Malaysia, Philippine, and Korea, including that of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Districts, while lecturers from institutes are involved in a huge proportion of the event, involving 56 universities, colleges and institutes, who all participate in the exhibition and introduce the creative thinking of fashion art to the colleges and universities, and immerse themselves in their teaching, adding academic foresight and experimental skills. The majority of domestic and foreign designers participating in the exhibition have their own brands, and some familiar designers have won the title of Golden Summit Award in China. Among the participating artists, Chen Xi, Chen Shuxia, Jiang Jie, Wu Jian’an and Wang Lei, etc. are well-known artists active in the international art world, and they express their understanding of the “culture of clothing” in the form of artistic works and show the connotation of the“spirit of clothing”.

Themed on “silk story”, the international forum of “Discussion on Fashion Art” was held on the occasion of “The Silk Story—2018 International Fashion Art Exhibition” bringing together domestic & foreign guests and the 10th anniversary of the International Fashion Art Exhibition was held. The forum has made in-depth discussions and summaries of the concept of fashion art, the interpretation of fashion art works, and the growth and breakthrough of fashion art in China in the past 10 years and the future direction of development. More than ten artists from different countries delivered wonderful speeches at the forum.

Prof. Shi Lili from the Department of Clothing, Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, hosted the morning section of the forum. French artist Francoise Hoffmann brought a series of fashion art works which are made of wool and different fabric using the oldest textile technology of “felt” combined with digital printing and handcrafting; Swedish artist Thomasine Barnekow said that the biggest challenge that she encountered in the creating process was how to create an innovative work; Mexican artist Carmen Rion is a Mexican researcher and fashion designer, and she is regarded as a pioneer and savior of traditional Mexican textiles, and also the pioneer that integrates tradition into contemporary fashion; fashion artist Zhang Tingting talked about her perception of the fashion art creation, a decade of experience of creation made her realize that all creations were only the process of re-creation, which are different expressions of the same thing.

Prof. Li Wei from the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, hosted the afternoon forum. Prof. Xu Ping from CAFA delivered a speech and said that design has entered a new era of development, while the growth of fashion art also conforms to the fact that contemporary China is embracing new social and cultural changes. Both art and design must embody the new leading responsibilities and roles in this era of trends. Fashion art is the art intersected by all sorts of confrontations, conflicts, and uncertainty however currently this indicates primacy, advancement, and rich possibilities. He considers that the intersection in Fashion Art was becoming the contemporary phenomenon for more and more people to pay attention to and contemplate with.

Prof. Li Dangqi from the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, elaborated that fashion and art are actually a mixture of two worlds and the intersected two fields. Fashion shall be in the fashion industry, while art shall be in the category of art. The two different fields make up fashion art (rather than art fashion). Fashion art has been in China for 10 years, and more and more designers join in, which explains that these two fields can be intersected. It is an era of cross-border and cross-innovation at present, and fashion art will explore a way for the future. He affirmed the theme of this exhibition—the silk story, silk is a contribution by the Chinese, the Silk Road has made contributions to the East-West exchanges, and the Belt and Road also plays the same role, making China rise faster, promoting the great harmony of the world and globalization, gathering artists, teachers and designers to create around the theme, which is very interesting and exciting.

Prof. Xu Ping served as the host of the last seminar and started the discussion on the spectacular event and theme of “The Silk Story—2018 International Fashion Art Exhibition” — silk story, retrospective of the 10th anniversary of International Fashion Art Exhibition, and the future development of fashion art in China in the next 10 years.

Prof. Lyu Yue (Aluna) from CAFA pointed out that every creator was an innovator, a leader, a pathfinder and the sparks that collide can offer profound enlightenment, changing and influencing the related design and art. Fashion art is both the expansion of art form and the force that drives the original design.

Gao Peng, Director of Today Art Museum, said that the most important thing of fashion art was the cultivation of creativity. It is through the exhibition that the social concern on the cultivation of creativity is aroused.

As one of the first generation of famous fashion designers in China, Wang Xinyuan talked about whether mankind should have a second Renaissance or not. The first Renaissance solved the people-oriented problem, and productivity was developed. At present, “people-oriented” has caused many problems. People once again entered the stage of thinking and exploring … From the perspective of artists and fashion designs to see the harmonious development of man and nature, it is a very important and profound topic that starts with the silk story.

Prof. Lee Yeonhee, a Korean artist, delivered a speech and said the International Fashion Art Exhibition has been held for 10 years, and she still clearly remembers the experience of participating in the exhibition 10 years ago. The exchanges between South Korea and China and the global exchanges would offer more opportunities and allow people to think more in the future, jointly promoting the development of international fashion art.

Prof. Li Wei said that as a participant in an international fashion show, she felt the hard-work of the planners, and the benefit of the participants and she proposed that the International Fashion Art Exhibition took “silk” as a theme, which was a turning point, and silk connected the traditional and modern, with a lot of possibilities of research and creation.

Prof. Li Dangqi said returning to the ancient Chinese philosophy, it was “the harmony between heaven and humans” rather than one-way access to natural resources. “Cultural self-confidence” should bravely go out and do things. Along with the rise of China, the philosophy of “harmony between the heaven and humans” should be further developed in China.

Wang Yi, Chief Representative of the International Fur Association China Region and Head of Marketing and Communication, said that he paid more attention to the social responsibility of fashion art, which was the top part of the industry. China has a complete industrial chain linking silk. This exhibition could help the Chinese silk industry to develop and should give the industry more confidence and possibilities.

Prof. Liang Mingyu, from Southwest University, and Chairman of Chongqing Association of Fashion Designers, delivered a speech in the discussion and said many exhibits of the show were touching. Thanking Prof. Lyu Yue (Aluna) for offering the platform of International Fashion Art Network, which is very important, so it must develop the cause and make it have a bigger impact.

Prof. Deng Yuping from School of Design at Guangxi Academy of Arts said: we should pass the idea of combining fashion art with national costumes to the students. We need a reserve army.

Photo and text courtesy of the organizers, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO.

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