Xu Xiaoliang: Themed Around Oriental Aesthetics, Shanghai Haute Couture Week Aims to Promote the Fashion Industry, Helping Shanghai to Boost its Soft Power
On 12 November 2021, the opening ceremony of the 10th Shanghai Haute Couture Week (herein referred to as “Haute Couture Week”) was held at the Shanghai Bund Financial Center. This year’s Haute Couture Week aims to promote "Oriental Aesthetics and Premium Lifestyle". Xu Xiaoliang, Co-CEO of Fosun International and President of Shanghai International Fashion Federation, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony.
The following is the full text of his speech.
Good afternoon, leaders, guests, media friends, and representatives of the member units of the Shanghai International Fashion Federation!
First of all, on behalf of the Shanghai International Fashion Federation and Fosun, I would like to welcome you all at the Bund Financial Center and witness the opening of the "Shanghai Haute Couture Week 2021-2022" with us on the Bund. Following the successfully conclusion of the annual China International Import Expo (CIIE), the Shanghai Haute Couture Week continues to take over and amplify the spill over effects of the CIIE, assisting Shanghai in building into a design capital, fashion capital, brand capital and adding more value to the international consumption center. At the same time, contributing to the construction of the Shanghai International Fashion Capital Demonstration Zone in Huangpu District.
In 2004, the Shanghai International Fashion Federation was formally established with the strategic vision of "building Shanghai into an international metropolis and the world's sixth largest international fashion capital, and promoting the development of Shanghai's fashion industry". Over the past 17 years, we have been committed to promoting the development of Shanghai and China's fashion industry. Shanghai Haute Couture Week is one of the most representative and pioneering initiative. From the first Shanghai Haute Couture Week in 2014, to the 10th Shanghai Haute Couture Week this year, Shanghai Haute Couture Week has become the first and currently the only haute couture incubation and promotion platform in Shanghai, China and even Asia in just seven years, thanks to the care and guidance of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, Huangpu People’s Government and other departments at all levels, and the strong support from all sectors of society, the former presidents of the Shanghai International Fashion Federation and member companies. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone on behalf of the Shanghai International Fashion Federation and Shanghai Haute Couture Week.
Shanghai was once known as the "Paris of the Far East", and has always been a leader in China's fashion industry, as well as the main stage for domestic fashion enterprises and talents to go global, and a bridgehead for overseas fashion industry to expand into the Chinese market. It can be said that fashion is in the DNA of Shanghai and the glamorous representation of Shanghai style and culture. Standing at a new historical point, Shanghai proposes to establish the soft power of the city and build an international cultural metropolis. We have been thinking about how the Shanghai International Fashion Federation and Haute Couture Week which are rooted in Shanghai can help and how to promote Chinese elements to the world and introduce global trends into China to establish a two-way fashion channel and cultural corridor between China and the world.
This year’s Haute Couture Week is themed around “Oriental Aesthetics”, which is also Shanghai International Fashion Federation's future development strategy and solution to the construction of Shanghai’s soft power.
At present, soft power has become an important indicator of the comprehensive strength of a country and a city. Culture is the core element of soft power. However, the scope of culture is very broad. To develop soft power, we must find a practical starting point and a common language. From the global trending Chinoiserie to the domestic China-chic trend, we have discovered that Chinese culture is an excellent representation of Oriental Aesthetics. Oriental Aesthetics is the "beauty of life" discovered by the Chinese in different historical eras, different classes and different dimensions. It is the aesthetics and beautiful way of life in the East. Oriental Aesthetics was not selected by chance, it was selected naturally because of the favorable timing, geographic advantage and right audience.
On the one hand, the report of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party of China and the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party have set clear instructions and requirements for "soft power." By 2035, the country's cultural soft power must be significantly enhanced, showing the world a more comprehensive China. On the other hand, as a leading city, there are high hopes for Shanghai to play a leading role to better represent the country in international cooperation and competition, and comprehensively enhance its soft power while continuing to strengthen its hard power. In addition to the favorable timing and the geographic advantage of Shanghai, the right audience is also crucial to the development of Oriental Aesthetics.
We always believe that more complementary products and services in the industry are needed to support Oriental Aesthetics in a comprehensive and systematic manner, thereby allowing Oriental Aesthetics to truly integrate into modern life and bringing it to global families. In order to gain greater market share and influence, on the one hand, we must focus on the rising middle-class families and provide a full range of oriental aesthetic products and experiences around family needs for a better life; on the other hand, we must focus on young people because they are not only the largest consumer group, but also practitioners of cultural self-confidence and inheritors of Oriental Aesthetics.
Based on these points, we have fully upgraded the 10th Shanghai Haute Couture Week.
There are three highlights, in particular:
First, we are honored to be able to reach a strategic cooperation with the Shanghai International Service Trade Industry Association to jointly create a service platform for the haute couture industry, and gradually build a global consumer resource platform in relation to haute couture lifestyle. We hope that this platform will become a new impetus for the development of haute couture industry in the future.
Second, in addition to the main show tonight, a series of events such as "Jiangnan Chaoyun Culture", "Chinese Young Jewelry Design Power" and "Premium Haute Couture Lifestyle" themed salon will be held in the next few days, focusing on haute couture practitioners of the younger generations and family customers, turning “haute couture” into a premium yet affordable lifestyle.
Third, at this year’s Haute Couture Week, the group standards of "Shanghai Haute Couture Week Brand Standard Regulations" formulated by the Shanghai International Fashion Federation will be officially promulgated and implemented. The group standards were put forward to establish basic conditions, such as brand resource standards, scope, crafts and materials, and sales scale, that have high reference value for the haute couture industry. In addition, it will also lay a foundation for the full implementation of Oriental Aesthetics in the fashion industry.
This year’s haute couture week is just a small step for the Shanghai International Fashion Federation to promote Oriental Aesthetics. Looking ahead, we will focus on the "three footholds" and "three starting points" and continue to advance related work. First of all, we must establish a foothold in Shanghai and fully support the construction of Shanghai's fashion capital, design capital, international cultural metropolis and the improvement of "soft power". We must also establish a foothold in the country, partner with "Oriental Aesthetics" industries in Yangtze River Delta and the country, and actively connect with talents, platforms, and funds. More importantly, we must establish a foothold in the world, fully leverage on the globalization capabilities of member companies and partners, and promote "Oriental Aesthetics" to the world. In addition, we must also bring in outstanding overseas designers, products and brands, creating a fine blend of the East and West to serve global family customers.
We will also use platforms, capital and content to better put Oriental Aesthetics into practice. On the one hand, leveraging on the mature platform of "Shanghai Haute Couture Week", the Haute Couture Week will become a powerful tool to promote Oriental Aesthetics globally and enhance Shanghai’s soft power, and a platform to undertake the spill over effect of the CIIE. On the other hand, under the guidance and support of the government, we have also joined hands with business partners and investment institutions to establish the "Oriental Aesthetics" industry foundation, tapping and cultivating more potential players and helping the industry expand. In addition, we will formulate trend reports on Oriental Aesthetics and publish industry standards to guide the development of the industry. As the chairman unit, Yuyuan Inc., together with its controlling shareholder Fosun, will also leverage on its globalized industries, scenarios and customer resources to fully empower Oriental Aesthetics.
Dear leaders, guests, media friends, I believe that under the guidance and support of government departments at all levels, and with the joint efforts of all sectors of society and member companies of the Federation, the newly upgraded Shanghai Haute Week will surely improve the fashion consumption level in the Huangpu District and serve as a powerful tool to enhance the construction of the Bund financial cluster, and make greater contributions to Shanghai's construction of an international cultural metropolis and the enhancement of its soft power!
I also believe that the Oriental Aesthetics nourished by the 5,000 years of Chinese culture will become the bond and bridge to build a community with a shared future for mankind. In the constant collision and fusion with global aesthetics, Oriental Aesthetics will shine brighter, showing the world a better China with more dimensions and aspects!