Top fashion influencer and style blogger Susie Lau is the name behind the famous blog Style Bubble. She shares her thoughts on the influence of Chinese designers in British fashion and on how the innovative Celebrating China pop-up boutique in Bicester Village supports the expansion of Chinese fashion designers in the UK
Susie Lau, also known as Susie Bubble, recently opened a Celebrating China pop-up boutique in Bicester Village, bringing together 10 established and up-and-coming Chinese designers, and giving them a platform to showcase and retail their designs in the UK. Here the influential style blogger explains why Chinese designers are an important part of modern fashion.
As one of the most influential fashion bloggers in the world, what made the Celebrating China pop-up at Bicester Village such an exciting project for you to be involved in?
Bicester Village has an incredibly large footfall of discerning customers eager to discover something new. I really wanted to do a pop-up that celebrates the real breadth of aesthetics that Chinese designers have to offer.
What can visitors expect from the Chinese designer pop-up? Any star buys?
The pop-up is a surprising presence in the village and really is a place where everyone (not just Chinese customers) can find something new and be receptive to it. My three favourite pieces are a patterned long-sleeve top by Mukzin, a colour block jumper by I Am Chen, and a fringe jacket by Xu Zhi.
The pop-up is curated by yourself; how did you select the line-up of Chinese fashion designers?
Apart from Mukzin, who is probably most aesthetically Chinese-looking, I purposefully didn’t want to have any clichés or any stereotypes because Chinese fashion isn’t necessarily about representing Chinese culture. I want people to appreciate the clothes regardless of whether they are by a Chinese designer.
How much do modern Chinese designers influence British fashion culture and why?
I would say the audience for Chinese-authored fashion is now global, if you look at brands like Huishan Zhang, which has a loyal Middle East clientele, or Yang Li, which has esteemed stockists like Selfridges and SSense. Also, in China there is also now a much savvier customer who wants to discover new designers.
Collectively combining emerging talent with established designers, how does the new pop-up show the growth and success of Chinese fashion designers in recent years?
I think the focus in the West is often on designers who are home-grown, making it more challenging for Chinese designers to break through. But that is changing, especially with initiatives like the Celebrating China Bicester Village pop-up and also the hunger from international press and buyers to discover something new. I truly believe in the axis of fashion moving outwards from the four traditional fashion capitals. I’d love for Chinese designers to be recognised for their depth of talent.
What key things do you always look out for and invest in at Bicester Village?
I’m an innate bargain hunter, always combing online and in person. Bicester Village is definitely the best physical shopping experience for luxury for less. It doesn’t make you feel stressed, which is what happens at sample sales sometimes. My best Bicester Village find is definitely some Prada shoes that were insanely discounted.
You live in the UK; what other fashion capitals do you love and why?
I would love for Shanghai Fashion Week to gain greater prominence on the international circuit, which is already happening.
The Celebrating China pop-up boutique in Bicester Village is open until 17 February.