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Chinese style leads new fashion in Western designs
Last Updated: 2017-03-19 21:00 | Xinhua
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"Products in the Tian range, which include backpacks, wallets, shoes and scarves, sell well in China with at least one sale a week," said Guan Ling, a shop assistant at a Gucci store in Beijing's central business district.

The Tian line features flowers, butterflies, dragonflies and hummingbirds, motifs favored by Chinese for hundreds of years.

"The design was inspired by 18th-century tapestries and screens," Guan said. "It shows how Westerners were modifying Chinese designs over 300 years ago."

Chinese designs are often incorporated into Western designs.

One widely shared picture online is of an Armani dress featuring Chinese bamboo ink and wash painting.

"This piece is from Armani Prive, a high end line," according to an employee at Beijing's Armani store.

"It is custom made and only available at a select few Armani stores in Europe," he added.

Many jewelry brands worldwide also borrow Chinese elements, said Xu Qinghu, general manager and designer with Shangde Jewelry.

"Chinese-inspired designs are increasing," she added.

LV, Cartier and Bvlgari have all drawn on Chinese elements for their jewelry ranges, which sell well around the world, Xu said.

Xu recalled a piece of jewelry she helped a customer use, which was inspired by Chinese porcelain. "Foreign customers like gifts with Chinese characteristics."

CHINESE PORCELAIN IN LONDON

While influential Western brands are incorporating Chinese elements, many Westerners are looking to China to improve their craftsmanship.

Wang Tai-ping, a former Fortune 500 company employee, left his city job to study ceramics in China's famed ceramics capital Jingdezhen. In his own words, "playing with mud" did not seem too much of a challenge.

It was not until four years later, however, that he was able to send his first line of products to London's top porcelain store.

Potters have been making porcelain in Jingdezhen, in east China's Jiangxi Province, for 1,700 years, with the city's unique clay resources and time-honored craftsmanship a huge draw for artisans.

When Wang gave up his high-paying job in Britain, his family and friends found it difficult to understand.

But Wang was lucky to find two collaborators -- Guy Thompson from Britain, a 50-year old PhD in condensed matter physics, and Luo Yan, a 38-year old painter from Jingdezhen.

Wang, from Taiwan, returned to Taipei after studying in Britain. He later went to work in Shanghai, before he was dispatched to western Europe as a business representative.

During his time in Europe, Wang enjoyed going to museums and galleries. His artistic pursuits led to the collaboration with Luo, who combined his fine brush work with Western elements.

Thompson resigned as head of risk analytics with Standard Chartered Bank Asia branch in 2012 and joined Wang's studio in 2012.

Thompson offered support on porcelain formula as well as evaluation on sales of the products.

"Thompson and I both regard Jingdezhen as a place where dreams can come true," said Wang.

Last year, the first batch of products by Wang's team came out. Branded as Spherebol, the porcelain is sold by Thomas Goode of Britain.

For hundreds of years, porcelain made in Jingdezhen was more popular than iPhones are now, said Huang Wei, who taught at Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute.

"Porcelain made in Jingdezhen has played an irreplaceable role in exchanges between the East and the West," she said.

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