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Modern vision

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2015-02-27 07:17

Modern vision

Ding Youqiao's Jan 16 show in Beijing.[Photo provided to China Daily]

At her first runway show in Beijing, young designer Ding Youqiao tries to blend Chinese culture with Western style, Chen Nan reports.

Ding Youqiao is one of many young Chinese designers who mix their knowledge of Western fashion design with traditional cultural elements to present a modern vision in the clothes and accessories they make.

The 30-year-old's just-released 2015 Spring/Summer Collection, titled Rosa, was inspired by a series of photos by Austrian photographer Rosa Rendl, and imports some Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) elements in design, such as the word "rose", which is described as "beautiful stone" in Chinese literature at the time.

"Usually rose is associated with women, soft and sentimental. But it's very interesting to connect rose with stones, which are tough," Ding tells China Daily in an e-mail interview.

After seeing Rendl's photos in a magazine last year and liking them, Ding spent nearly six months working on her clothes to reflect both the photographer's work and the "hardness" of the rose flower, a concept along which she developed her line because she says it symbolizes independent women in contemporary Chinese society.

On Jan 16, she presented her collection in Beijing in her first runway show that turned out to be a success, but Ding was a bundle of nerves before her first model even stepped on the ramp.

"When I was told that people loved the show and that they had started to imagine how they'd look in those skirts, I was very happy," she says. "But people will also look for the collection's background inspiration, which was my original intention to spread Chinese culture."

A native of Chongqing in Southwest China's Sichuan province, Ding has enjoyed painting since childhood. She joined the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2004, and won a number of scholarships there. After graduating in 2007, Ding got herself noticed in the professional world by taking a top award at China International Fashion Week in Beijing.

She then went to study fashion design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. From there she won first prize in a competition organized by Louis Vuitton that enabled her to work as an intern at the luxury brand in 2009.

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