The Chinese Fashion Designers To Watch in 2019

Various clothing items hang inside Susie Laus pop-up store at Bicester Village
Various clothing items hang inside Susie Lau's pop-up store at Bicester Village | © Bicester Village

Susie Lau’s new project brings 10 of China’s most exciting new designers to the UK in a bid to prove their global appeal.

When Susie Lau launched her website,, in 2006, she was one of the first to establish blogging as a career path. Her savvy approach to content, ability to discover new talent and impeccable timing soon made her one of the most in-demand industry personalities. Her CV now boasts two years as fashion director at Dazed & Confused and contributor at The Guardian, and ELLE UK.
As well as the ‘big four’ Fashion Weeks – London, New York, Paris and Milan – Lau visits under-the-radar alternatives in a bid to discover new talent. Her Chinese heritage naturally led her to explore Shanghai’s fashion scene, which she says has opened her eyes to the potential of China’s young creatives. Now, she wants to see them thrive in the UK.

Susie Lau poses with her favourite new Chinese designers at the launch of her pop-up store in Bicester Village

“Aesthetic has changed dramatically over the past few years, and there’s a real sense of idiosyncratic identity to what China’s young designers do,” she says. “Chinese fashion isn’t necessarily about representing culture. I wanted to communicate that it’s wide-ranging, deep, nuanced and that it spans all tastes and genres.”

Among her favourite discoveries is Zen Chen, who launched knitwear label i-am-chen in 2017. Her innovative collections take a contemporary approach to a traditional style. “I want to redefine knitwear by focusing on technology as well as aesthetic,” she says. “I consider myself a technician rather than a fashion designer. I make pieces that don’t look knitted at all.”

I-am-chen knitwear hangs in Susie Lau’s Bicester Village pop-up store

Chen makes up part of Lau’s 2019 passion project, a curated pop-up space at luxury fashion outlet Bicester Village, which features 10 of her favourite young Chinese designers. For some, it’s their debut in a UK fashion retailer.

“Chinese fashion is vastly more prominent than it has been in the past, and I think the West’s traditional focus on ‘home-grown’ talent is changing,” says Lau. “More and more Chinese students are graduating from globally renowned fashion schools and going on to show [at Fashion Weeks] in the four major fashion capitals.”

Among them is Hong Kong-born Ryan Lo, who trained at the London College of Fashion and was part of the British Fashion Council’s prestigious NEWGEN sponsorship scheme in 2014. He now shows at London Fashion Week each season with collections that are feminine, eccentric and fantastical.

Susie Lau stands on a platform at the launch of her Bicester Village pop-up store

Beijing-born Yang Li brings yet another look to the mix. His dark, sharp tailoring contrasts with the vibrant colours used by i-am-chen and the oversized silhouettes favoured by Lo. His impeccably crafted collections now feature on the hard-to-break Paris Fashion Week schedule.

Diverse, eclectic and varied, Lau’s selection shows that Chinese fashion is about more than the representation of its heritage. Each designer featured feels like a natural fit for Bicester Village. “I could have gone on and picked out 10 or 20 more, and that’s the really exciting thing about it,” she says. “There’s a real hunger to discover something new, and that’s what I’ve tried to present.”

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article