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China-Italy fashion competition turns to tech-inspired design

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, July 14, 2021
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Fashion trends are notoriously difficult to predict. What is in fashion one moment may be out of fashion the next. Add to this uncertainty the age in which we live and technological innovation, such as virtual reality, novel fabrics and 3D design, will obviously play a part.

From right: Chen Nan and Fu Zhiyong of Tsinghua University's Academy of Fine Arts and Su Dan from its art museum at the news briefing for the China-Italy Youth Future Fashion Design Competition in Beijing on July 8. [China Daily]

To examine what this world might look like, the China-Italy Youth Future Fashion Design Competition tries to explore the possibilities and outcomes brought about by the integration of technology and design.

Applications from designers and artists across the world have been flooding in since July 8 for the event, which is one of the key dates in calender of the China-Italy Year of Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which was launched in November by Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy.

It was established to mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Italy, according to Fu Zhiyong, associate professor of Tsinghua University's Academy of Arts and Design, and deputy director of the China-Italy Design Innovation Hub.

Hosted by Tsinghua University and the Polytechnic University of Milan, the competition's theme is "Tech for Fashion" to look into how technology has changed, and will continue to change, the design sector.

"We hope to build the competition into an international communication platform for designers from around the world," Fu says, adding that the event can help promote cultural exchanges between China and Italy.

He says that, after the competition, there will be follow-up policies supporting Italian designers and teams to produce work in China and vice versa.

Open to applicants under the age of 45, the competition has three categoriesļ¼¨fashion design, fashion technology and fashion lifestyleļ¼¨with the top winners receiving 120,000 yuan ($18,563) each. The deadline for applications is Sept 6.

The final result will be announced at the World Textile Merchandising Conference to be held in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, on Oct 26. Award-winning works will be presented at the exhibition held by the China-Italy Design Innovation Hub during the 2022 Milan Design Week.

Chen Nan, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts at Tsinghua University, says that such an event "can be helpful for the younger generations from two ancient civilizations to understand and communicate with each other in a fashionable way".

Also deputy director of the Research Center of Ancient Chinese Characters Art, Chen looks to see entries that embody traditional culture, both from China and Italy, in modern design.

"Just like Giacomo Puccini's Turandot making Chinese folk song Molihua (Jasmine Flower) known to the world, young designers should learn from that and think about how to make Oriental elements understandable to the world," Chen says.

Su Dan, deputy director of the Tsinghua University Art Museum, says that he hopes to see entries discussing technology and clothing.

Frequently traveling between China and Italy for cultural exchanges since 2006, Su says that Italian and Chinese cultures are quite different and the goal of the competition is to provide a platform for young designers to communicate and overcome the barriers of space, time and culture.

Chen agrees that young designers from the two countries may not know much about each other, but the fusion of different cultures will provide different dimensions and inspiration in their designs.

Li Jinliang, director of the competition's organizing committee, head of Tsinghua University's Office of International Affairs, says that the two universities will work together to deepen cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Italy.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1970, bilateral relations have developed rapidly, bearing fruitful results in various fields. In 2004, China and Italy established a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Next year is designated as the Italy-China Year of Culture and Tourism during which a series of activities in the fields of performance arts, visual arts, creativity design, cultural heritage, tourism, film and television will be held.

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