Fashion talents in Shanghai

New Generation of fashion labels in Shanghai City

Preface by Gabriele Sportoletti/ Asia Editor

Shanghai is recognized worldwide as the economic engine of China and is undoubtedly the most international of Chinese cities. The city’s vision of becoming the “most modern city in the world” culminated in the 2010 World Expo.

The people of Shanghai are on the frontline of western trends in fashion, beauty, art, and lifestyle. Accompanying this phenomenon and the city’s subsequent economic growth, the local government decided to push the local University to establish a good relationship with the main players in the fields of fashion, art, and beauty.

Shanghai Fashion Week and the Shanghai Fashion Designer Association have worked hard to make Shanghai the fashion capital of China. Through the efforts of the local government, these organizations have pushed the University to offer fashion courses and establish a good relationship with one of the most recognized fashion schools in the world: Istituto Marangoni – Milano. Thousands of young Chinese have been involved in this process and some have breached the wall of anonymity to become a star.

Here we present a selection of these rising stars that will burn bright for many years to come.


Decoster 2

Founded in 2000, Decoster is a designer brand under the company Shanghai Shiyi.

Descoster has garnered more and more popularity among Chinese consumers in recent years. This became especially true after the brand’s Chinese runway debut at the 2013 Shanghai Fashion Week, which quickly raised its influence and impact. The brand used to focus on womenswear, but in 2010, extended its business into the menswear market and deco industry.

Decoster’s design team travels around the world every year to get inspiration from different cultures and curate the Decoster lifestyle. In the beginning, Decoster targeted the female consumer; it tried to create the image of a smart, independent, elegant women. When they turned to the menswear market, they incorporated more fun and detailed elements.

Now they have nearly seventy stores in China and one concept in Shanghai’s Xintiandi area. Decoster hopes to deliver the message to the consumer that

“ A natural and healthy life attitude is beyond age or gender. No matter what you are doing, be yourself and give back the real meaning of life.”



As a Chinese brand, JNBY has already expanded its business to the global scale. Based in Hangzhou, JNBY has stores all over China’s main cities, as well as at the global platform.

Famous Italian architecture studio Renzo Piano designed their headquarters in Hangzhou; a semi-private gated community measuring 250,000 square meters. In the future, the label plans to make the headquarters more of an interactive space with art galleries, a variety of event spaces and designer shops.

With a strong brand identity of “JiangNan” ( the south area of the Yangtze River) and “BuYi” (simple and coarse clothes), JNBY builds a strong image for the consumer: a simple, more wearable and more comfortable lifestyle.

“Just naturally be yourself ” is the core brand concept.

With talented designers and collaborations with different artists, JNBY always keeps with the times, combining modern and popular elements with the original identity of JNBY.

Since 2004, JNBY has developed a global business. They have stores in Russia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, and New York. With modern management ideas and advanced technological developments, JNBY is continuing the expanding process of creating an international Chinese label.  

Nichole Zhang

Nicole Zhang 1

Open the personal file of Nichole Zhang and you will find luxury fashion names such as Christian Dior, Ports 1961 and Prada. With more than ten years of experience in the fashion industry, Zhang started her own business in 2011.

30% creativity and 70% commercial is her professional theory towards the fashion industry. Zhang worked with designer Dongliang and made her Shanghai Fashion Week debut this year.

Zhang represents a more international branch of local designers, with her independent personality. Last year, she won the Elle Style Award for Independent Designer of the Year.

In Zhang’s collection, many special colors and materials were used to create a raw elegant style.

Zhang now runs her own studio in Shanghai. Ten years of professional experience have made it clear what she wants, a new naturally elegant style for the Asian community. 



Fake Natoo’s designer Zhang Na is a positive and well-read person. Born in Manchuria, Na studied in France, where she gained inspiration from art and life. The spirit world deeply influences her designs. Found in 2008, Fake Natoo brings the audience a line of fun and girlish fantasy. There is a saying that creating tragedy is always easier than creating comedy. Na wants the brand to bring consumers more fun. With so many people suffering today, why should fashion be serious? Through the cloth, Zhang Na expresses her emotions, feelings, and the fantastic world in her mind. In 2011, her work “Reclothing Bank” was shown at the Austria Art and Photography festival.


Yirantian Guo 1

Another young designer graduated from the London College of Fashion,Yirantian Guo is an emerging designer in local fashion industry.

Collaborating with Dongliang One Day, Guo has appeared twice on the Shanghai Fashion Week runway. Her work focuses on the lines of the body. It uses deconstructed, simple designs and incorporates a touch of the avant-garde. A young designer with a lot potential, Guo is adept at balancing the creative and commercial.




Between being one of the Chinese Top Ten Outstanding Youths from 2009-2011, and winning Independent Designer the Year at ELLE’s China Fashion Awards in 2012, Helen Lee’s reputation in both Chinese and global media precedes her. 

Lee’s self-named brand targeting women from ages twenty-five to fifty was founded in 2011. Its detailed and accessible designs proved very popular in Chinese everyday fashion, earning her the title of “The Queen of Street Wear” of China.

Many KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) and celebrities love Helen Lee’s work. With a stable media influence and steady local interest, Helen Lee decided to broaden her audience, and created another label geared towards a younger crowd, Insh. Helen Lee has also worked with many famous brands, like Saint James, to release limited edition products.

Helen Lee’s studio and shop can be found in the French Concession area of Shanghai, and is a place where accessible clothing for women of all ages can be found.


CJ Yao 3

Born in Shanghai and with a degree from Central Saint Martins, C.J Yao is gaining popularity in China’s main fashion media. In 2006 she won the silver medal for the Asian Young Fashion Designer Contest, and in 2015 Yao presented her work at London Fashion Week, an event that attracted many international celebrities.

Yao’s outstanding work has been published in international fashion magazines like D-Mad, Vulture and I-look. Drawing on her experience working with Alexander McQueen, Yao’s core design concept surrounds the quest to create a new beauty aesthetic and a positive outlook on life. She endeavors to find the balance between humor and seriousness when designing wearable products. Her main fashion line is self-named and is accompanied by the sub-line CJ by C.J Yao. The two different market segments meet the needs of both the conceptual and commercial.

Her creations can be found both in her online and selective shops.