Iconic Chi­nese Amer­i­can de­signer plans Fash­ion Week out­reach to fans

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By KELLY CHUNG DAW­SON in New York


Since 1993, when her “East Meets West” col­lec­tion at New York’s Fash­ion Week landed her the cover of Women’s Wear Daily, Vivi­enne Tam has ex­plored links be­tween Chi­nese and Western aes­thet­ics.

In this weekend’s Fall 2014 show at Mercedes Benz Fash­ion Week, Tam will part­ner with the Chi­nese so­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions app WeChat to give Chi­nese fans a look be­hind the scenes of the leadup to a show that as al­ways, is in­spired by Tam’s Chi­nese her­itage.

“Ev­ery­thing I do is in hopes of pro­mot­ing Chi­ne­se­ness, and mix­ing the two worlds to­gether,” Tam told China Daily. “I’m ex­cited to use so­cial me­dia in pro­mot­ing a view of glob­al­ism, be­cause I’ve al­ways be­lieved in Chi­nese cul­ture and us­ing what I do to in­ter­pret Chi­ne­se­ness in my work.”

In­ter­ested users are in­vited to down­load WeChat, which has more than 100 mil­lion users world­wide, and add VTAMFASHION as a con­tact through which they will re­ceive ex­clu­sive, real-time up­dates and pho­tos of Tam’s prepa­ra­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties be­fore and dur­ing the show. Four sets of cus­tom­iz­a­ble chat wall­pa­pers will also be avail­able to down­load through the pro­gram, and guests to Sun­day’s show will re­ceive a lim­ited-edi­tion iPhone 5/5s case in­spired by the new col­lec­tion.

“We are ex­cited to part­ner with the iconic Vivi­enne Tam brand to pro­vide a new in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for the New YorkFash­ion Week au­di­ence,” says Jame­son Hsu, GM of WeChat USA. “By adding Vivi­enne Tam’s of­fi­cial ac­count on WeChat, users can step into her world of fash­ion.”

Tam, who is her­self an avid user of the app, de­scribed the plat­form as a com­bi­na­tion of In­sta­gram, Twit­ter and Face­book.

“It’s all-in­clu­sive global reach amazes me,” she said. “The op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with peo­ple, es­pe­cially in the fash­ion world, is ex­cit­ing. It adds some­thing to how we com­mu­ni­cate.”

Users will also be able to par­tic­i­pate in a real- time group chat, with a se­lect few be­ing the lucky re­cip­i­ents to front-row seats and back­stage ac­cess at Sun­day’s show. The WeChat pro­mo­tion will also al­low as­pir­ing mod­els to walk the stage in an un­prece­dented move es­pe­cially de­signed to ap­peal to young Chi­nese fash­ion­istas, who Tam be­lieves are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated.

“Chi­nese peo­ple are chang­ing so quickly,” Tam said. “I re­ally feel that Chi­nese shop­pers are be­gin­ning to un­der­stand qual­ity, and the In­ter­net has changed the way they look at things and the way they shop. In China, com­pa­nies used to com­pete purely on price, but now they are com­pet­ing in and pro­mot­ing cre­ativ­ity in dif­fer­ent pro­cesses. As a re­sult, peo­ple in China are look­ing more into Chi­nese prod­ucts.”

It wasn’t al­ways this way, Tam said. The de­signer, who was born in Guangzhou and raised in Hong Kong, re­lo­cated to New York af­ter col­lege out of ne­ces­sity, she said. When she be­gan de­sign­ing cloth­ing, Chi­nese buy­ers were only in­ter­ested in Western lux­ury brands.

“From the be­gin­ning, I wanted to change the way peo­ple looked at Chi­nese cul­ture,” she said. “They said, ‘You’ll never suc­ceed, be­cause you’re Chi­nese and you’re us­ing your Chi­nese name, de­sign­ing cloth­ing in­spired by Chi­nese cul­ture. But I al­ways felt, ‘I’m Chi­nese.’”

Tam’s 1995 “Mao” col­lec­tion is now in­stalled in the per­ma­nent archives of Pitts­burgh’s Andy Warhol Mu­seum and New York’s Mu­seum of FIT.

Tam pre­vi­ously col­lab­o­rated with com­pa­nies for the Chi­nese mar­ket. In 2012, she de­signed spe­cial ameni­ties for Chi­nese visi­tors to the Hil­ton Ho­tel chain, for its “Hil­ton Huany­ing” pro­gram. Other US brands in­clud­ing Valentino and Burberry have also moved to tar­get Chi­nese cus­tomers, hold­ing off-sea­son shows and events in China, and livestream­ing fash­ion shows for Chi­nese au­di­ences.

Tam is work­ing on a line of house­hold items, and is think­ing about a fash­ion line in­spired by China’s an­cient Dun­huang Cave draw­ings, she said.


Steven Turner, CEO of SimulTV (center, wav­ing in red) stands with his daugh­ter Saya (right, white coat) on Feb 2 dur­ing the 15th An­nual NYC Chi­na­town Lu­nar New Year Pa­rade. The event, which took place right in the heart of Chi­na­town, brought to­gether sev­eral thou­sand spec­ta­tors for a celebration of Chi­nese New Year.

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