Minority influences literally form the backbone blend into the background as Hu's S/S 013 collection. Copyright@ Hu Sheguang
Hu indeed! None other than 41-year-old Dutch/Chinese fashion designer, Hu Sheguang, one of the leading lights of October's Mercedes Benz Beijing International Fashion Week, which I covered in my previous column. A graduate of the Rietfeld Academy of the Fine Arts and newly-appointed head designer of the China Fashion Institute, Hu's style could be best described as a combination of Inner Mongolian lavishness with a literally cheesy Dutch touch. Whether he is in Beijing or in his native Dutch town of Doetinchem, Hu surrounds himself with everything fashion-related. As with most designers, he wants all of his collections to tell a tale that swoops the audience away on the gulfs of differently textured fabrics; and after sacrificing an arm and a leg for the honorable sake of style, thereby learning his lessons the hard way, it's safe to say: Guess Hu's back! Hu and Holland: Hu was abandoned by his parents at birth and raised in the vast green stretches that embrace Inner Mongolia, but he moved to Europe while still a teenager in pursuit of fame and fortune. He was picked up from Amsterdam airport by his estranged mother and immediately put to work washing drab grey dishes in the kitchen of the family's restaurant. Legend has it that Hu, fed up after two years of kitchen purgatory, packed his bags and left home to embark on his fashion quest. To Hu, fashion encompasses everything that is beauty, expresses temperament and can lift one's spirits on any given somber day. Though he had no high school education, a staple requirement for getting into any form of higher education anywhere on the non-virtual planet, Hu's talent served as a passport to three of Holland's finest art academies. Not being content with simply living your average sob story, Hu took his life experiences and background and managed to turn them into eternal reminders and inspirations for his life and collections to come. He is a big fan of diversity, and as such, may be liable to be easily struck by boredom. However, for a designer I don't think this can ever hurt that much and it led to Hu extending his designs to cater for people of all kinds and ages; from rock stars to the elderly to charity. Currently, Hu divides his time between his home base in Dutch Doetinchem, a very Christian town where he once put on a runway show in a church, and Beijing. Generally speaking, for Hu, the more variation, the better. Flip the cloth and structure, twist it, turn it, dye it and just see where it's headed - but do keep an eye on detail and finishing! Hu's Inner Mongolian roots form the one consistent influence on both his designs and his life; they simply run through his veins and his collections.
A collection tightly tied, in true navy/army-fashion, together which portrays the designer's love for stark contrasting. Copyright@Hu Sheguang
Dominance and arrogance: Hu is quite the character; awesomely flamboyant I call him. He may be short, but the man has presence. He doesn't merely enter a room he makes an entrance. Unfortunately, even in our modern day society, being strong-willed can still often be mistaken for being arrogant. Yet Hu has always refused to give in to these stereotypical opinions, instead describing himself as a dominant person (I couldn't agree more with this viewpoint). The dominant aspect of his personality shone through in his recent Beijing Fashion Week collection, featuring heavily military influenced, tightly tailored and straightforward jackets, which - as I wrote last time - I adored. Sometimes, and of course especially through the eyes of a designer, what we the audience see on the catwalk from afar might be in stark contrast to what they see up close and personal. The overall designs may look smooth and polished to the bystander; however from up close you can sometimes see the threads hanging out, or are confronted with basic run-of-the-mill designs that should not be on a Fashion Week catwalk. I have witnessed this
戴绿帽… Literally. (But he did "get cheated" out of an award.) Copyright@Hu Sheguang
with my own eyes a few times and will admit that in that respect I found it a shame a designer like Hu did not get the props he deserved because his new Dutch passport prevented him from winning awards open to Chinese designers. Hu consequently adding that Spring/Summer if truth be told is not his forte, for me at least, does not indicate arrogance, it indicates being on top of your game. In other words: Dominance. Red and Green: One final keyword to describe Hu and his fashion would be ‘contrast.' The contrast between his youth and his current adult life - from a gloomy grey kitchen to a high-end pearly white 30th-floor apartment overlooking Chaoyang Park, surrounded by an entourage that even makes sure he has tea on time - is striking. He continues this thought and line of contrast throughout his collections, for example by pairing leather with silk (say a red leather double-breasted jacket with a long flowing chiffon body-sculpting skirt), hard and soft, feminine and a more masculine edge. Even the use of color in his last show, being red and green, stood in stark contrast to the color choices of other participants. The red-green combo is somehow considered a no-go in Beijing (or China). Red symbolizes happiness and prosperity in the country's culture, whereas green is, for example, associated with the phrase "wearing a green hat" (带绿帽), which basically means a man is being cheated on. But putting a collection based on these two pallets on the runway, will 100%- pure-silk ensure you stand out from the designer crowd. And that's the point final. Don't be afraid to let your personal ideas or background shine through the sheer (or not-so-delicate) fabrics. Especially in a nation such as China, Hu advises young designers to make full use of their history and diversity, embrace it and then just roll with it. The story of a collection should be one about the designer and in fashion, you can paint the town red AND green if you want. Fashionistas United, in the words of Hu: Dare to be different and let your outfit do (most of, perhaps not all) the talking. Source: China.org.cn