The new Shanghai Xiaojie: Chinese fashion identities

Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, Babette Radclyffe-Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the key debates in contemporary fashion marketing is the local–global binary; the twenty-first-century fashion industry is increasingly international, both in terms of production and consumption, yet there is no consensus on whether globalization inevitably homogenizes cultural experiences or allows for heterogeneity. The authors argue that the historical concept of chinoiserie has informed Chinese fashion identities, and seek to challenge this perception by presenting alternative perspectives on the importance of Chinese heritage and culture to those currently working in fashion. The disrupted nature of China’s fashion history, the persistence of orientalist imaginings of her past, and the strength of China’s manufacturing industry are all factors that contribute to the complexities in defining contemporary Chinese fashion. This article is written to provide an introduction to modern Chinese fashion through an exploration of how contemporary fashion creatives understand the influence of culture on their work, and how their understandings of Chineseness and the East–West binary impact their work. Whilst this is necessarily a snapshot view of the Chinese fashion industry, the article confirms a belief in the importance of cultural identity on creative practices and shows how contemporary Chinese fashion can escape prescribed and restricted fashion identities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-62
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Fashion Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Angelica Cheung
  • Chen Man
  • Chinese fashion
  • Huishan Zhang
  • Liu Wen
  • Ma Ke
  • Vogue China
  • chinoiserie
  • identity


Dive into the research topics of 'The new Shanghai Xiaojie: Chinese fashion identities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this