The Chinese propaganda leviathan is still struggling to find a way to make the country look hip and culturally influential worldwide, and in the eyes of a skeptical foreign audience, any effort will be useless until freedom of expression doesn’t become the top priority.
In the last years Western media have found seedlings of democracy in episodes like rural uprisings or upheavals for environmental issues, but the blossoming of a creativity made in China is a rather silent yet consistent process that is happening right now, behind-the-scenes of the political debate.
Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, the capital’s main fashion and clothing design academy, can certainly be considered one of the hot spots of Chinese creativity and Tucheng is an extraordinary example of how synergies between institutions and academies can actively promote a new generation of domestic talents.
Tucheng is a 480-square-meter store and creativity platform located in a modern glass building inside the BIFT campus. Entirely furnished with vintage pieces and replicas by British brand Halo, the space also showcases works of emerging talents, laureates and established masters from BIFT. The academic training for design and fashion technology meets an increasing local demand for understated clothing—targeting trendsetters and local creative crowds.
Tucheng hosts an atelier for handmade suits, a selection of custom-made leather shoes, bags inspired by the crafts of ethnic minorities—to which a Center for Studies is dedicated inside the campus—and also contemporary design objects made in Jingdezhen, home of the finest Chinese porcelain and fine jewelry. Each and every piece is made in China and everything has a link with BIFT. Among the featured names CHUYAN, Yan Jie, Wang Feng Chen, Fang Sizhe, YVMIN, Song Yi, Su Wen, Grace Chen, CloskY De Studio and many other young designers.
Open to all sort of creative collaborations, Tucheng hosts round tables, fashion shows and events for BIFT laureates and it aims to be a launchpad and an incubator for honing local talents. There’s also a selection of Tucheng branded products, such as notebooks, ties and even wine, which will be expanded in the near future inviting artists and designers to collaborate with the store.
To add a bit of international flare to the space, for the store opening last month Vogue China editor Angela Cheung hosted a talk with Victoria Beckham, an icon of British creativity among the Chinese audience.
Photo by Alessandro De Toni