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Threads of a wizard

By Gan Tian | China Daily | Updated: 2014-01-08 07:09

Threads of a wizard

A model displays garments from Shangguan Zhe's 2013 autumn/winter collection. Photos Provided to China Daily

Threads of a wizard

Shangguan Zhe's 2013 autumn/winter collection

You can call Shangguan Zhe's fashions eccentric, but his Tibetan-inspired robes have attracted a chic following. Gan Tian catches up with the award-winning young designer.

Fashion designer Shangguan Zhe sits in the Centro Bar of Kerry Center Hotel in Beijing's CBD. The 29-year-old man seems not to fit in this serious environment - he looks like an ancient sorcerer in a room full of modern businessmen.

While everyone around us is wearing black suits and white shirts, he is wearing a giant black robe, decorated with small embroideries of colorful religious symbols. His pants are ankle-length, with straight, clean lines - these garments are his own creations.

Shangguan is the winner in the fashion section of the 2013 Wall Street Journal Innovator of the Year Awards in China, a prize he will collect later in the day.

It was these wizard robes that have brought him the award, says Lin Jian, China's famous fashion critic and a member of the awards judging panel.

"We haven't see this kind of creativity among China's fashion industry for years," Lin says.

Shangguan's intriguing styles were launched early last year in Shanghai, in the name of his own label Sankuanz. The 2013 autumn/winter collection includes oversized robes of many layers, decorated with various embroideries - symbolic elements from Tibetan Buddhism, such as monsters, wheels of life and lanterns.

He uses many accessories in this collection. A belt, composed of colorful strings, is attached to some handmade pendants in shape of a monster's head, which make the whole collection very cult and religious, but, in a chic way.

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