Last year, many things came to a sudden stop. Malls closed down, businesses were halted, and cities became empty silhouettes. As people gradually became accustomed to zoom meetings and amazon deliveries, life became reconstructed online.  

Likewise, nearly all fashion shows in the past year were held virtually or not at all. However, among the numerous virtual runways was Shanghai Fashion Week 2021.

Because COVID-19 has been largely contained in China, Shanghai’s Fashion Week hosted a full physical program this season. Not only was it an overwhelming success, but it was also a beacon of light shining towards post-pandemic runways.

In lieu of the many brands that took the stage, the street style of the attendees was also a great highlight of the season. In fact, people came dressed to the nines with the perfect answer sheet for the newest Chinese fashion trends for 2021.  

1. Tailoring: Trench Coats, Suits, Blazers

Overwhelmingly, the biggest trend on the street for Shanghai’s Fashion Week was the straight tailoring from gender-neutral suits and jackets. From oversized cuts to trench-coats, the unfussy, laid-back look was everywhere. 

The best part of this trend is that it’s highly accommodating. From classic to casual, from dark to vibrant, these coats have you covered for all occasions. 

Furthermore, unlike many fashion trends, this one is easily replicable. If you already have a trench coat or if your boyfriend has a suit, steal it and start making it your outfit! 

For a more elegant look, choose a basic suit or trench coat like the ones above and pair it with a simple blouse. To be safe, start out with matte colors like white or black, or choose shades from the same palette for cohesion. 

Additionally, start out with a suit that fits before going on to oversized. This way, you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many elements. 

A great tip for beginners is to keep the inner wear consistent—either go with a tight fit (jeans and a crop top) or a loose one (baggy pants and a long shirt)! Cover it all up with the coat and you're all set.

Photography by Dave Tacon and Suki Liang from VOGUE

Photography by Dave Tacon and Suki Liang from VOGUE

Once you get the hang of it, you can start experimenting with colors and styles. For example, the man above has many colors and patterns showcased on his bag and pants. 

However, this works because he chose an emphasis. Although his pants are patterned, his hoodie and suit are simple. With his clean base, the one (or two) colorful articles of clothing doesn’t seem too messy. 

On the other hand, you could experiment with textures. The girl above mixes silk, lace, and leather all together in her outfit. 

However, this works because all her colors are monochromatic. Main take-away: if you want to experiment, make sure you have a clean base!

2. Traditional Chinese Elements

Like always, Shanghai Fashion Week boasted numerous domestic talents, giving Chinese designers a platform to shine. Among emerging talents were Angel Chen, Samuel Gui Yang, Ximon Lee, and so much more.

Piece from designer Samuel Gui Yang

This year, they came up with increasingly beautiful and fashionable ways to merge the East with the West. Samuel Gui Yang fused traditional Mandarin jackets and knot buttons with a modern tailoring, while Angel Chen brought traditional Chinese patterns into jackets and coats. 

Piece from designer Samuel Gui YangPiece from designer Angel Chen

Traditional Chinese elements were also seen on the street by the attendees, perfectly exhibiting the best parts of Chinese fashion.

Photography by Dave Tacon and Suki Liang from VOGUEPhotography by Dave Tacon and Suki Liang from VOGUE

Overall, 100-plus runway shows were featured at the four venues across the city. Amongst the numerous international brands like Dior and Versace were exciting new talents emerging from China itself. 

As one of the first major fashion shows to regain physical attendance, let us look to the future and hope for more.


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Emilie Zhang

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