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Rebuilding city style

By Rebecca Lo | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-11 10:50
Rebuilding city style

Ricostru's Fall/Winter menswear features nubby sweaters, collarless jackets and long overcoats, over casually un-tucked shirts in icy-gray shades. Photos Provided to China Daily

Rebuilding city style

Rico Manchit Au experiments with her fashion label Ricostru to reconstruct Guangzhou's reputation as a manufacturing base into that of a design hive. Rebecca Lo sneaks a peek.

Guangzhou's identity as the world's manufacturing capital is shifting from production to design. T.I.T. Creative Industry Zone in Haizhu district is located in the former Guangzhou Textile Machinery Factory, a site with 1950s red-brick industrial buildings. Like its arty counterparts Redtory and Beijing's 798, T.I.T. is a government-initiated incubator for hot young fashion and industrial designers.

Along a leafy lane with weathered railroad ties and herringbone-patterned paving stones is The Fashion Door.

The three-story boutique is finished with the raw concrete prevalent throughout T.I.T., and its simplicity mimics that of Ricostru's apparel for men and women, available in a pop-up store on its ground floor.

Ricostru is the label founded by young fashion designer Rico Manchit Au. The Guangzhou native studied in Shanghai and Milan, and earned her master's in fashion design from Istituto Marangoni Milano in 2009.

"Ricostru" is derived from the Italian word for reconstruction - "ricostuzione". It refers to how each person has his or her unique will and individual creativity, and is the underlying theme of Au's creations, she says.

"I just simply loved drawing when I was a child, but I didn't know then that I was going to be a fashion designer," Au says.

"When I studied design, I began to appreciate every stage of it.

"I initially studied in Shanghai because it is a very special city that embraces both traditional Chinese and modern Western elements. Its complexity makes up its unique culture. It was a good place to nurture something new.

Milan is undoubtedly one of the fashion capitals of the world, she says.

"It has a long history in fashion education," the designer explains.

"The city itself is beautiful with a lot of history. I learned not only useful techniques but was also inspired by its environment. The city taught me its spirit: to be diligent, sophisticated and detailed. It taught me how to combine design and business well."


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