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在线翻译:
szdaily -> People
Fashion designer struts toward dreams
     2014-August-8  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Anna Zhao

    anna.whizh@yahoo.com

    WHEN fashion designer Guo Jingwen developed an interest in painting at age 5, she never knew art would lead her into the colorful world of fashion. The 30-year-old designer’s works have been staged at fashion shows in Beijing and Shanghai. She says that seeing her designs on runways is her greatest joy after so many years of hard work. As a young designer, Guo still has a long way to go before establishing a name on the world stage, but she proves that diligence will always be rewarded.

    Experiencing

    a different culture

    Guo learned to paint at a young age, and her interest in fashion design also bloomed during her childhood — sewing her own doll dresses was one of her hobbies.

    She was raised to be independent thanks to a liberal education embraced by her parents — her father is a sailor and mother is a teacher. Her father’s stories of sailing adventures taught her to be brave in adversity.

    While many young people study art to increase their chance of entering a top university, Guo pursued art with a passion. After finishing her university education in Wuhan, she went to study at Europe’s top fashion school Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy, with her parents’ full support.

    Studying in Italy proved to be far more laborious than she had expected. In addition to studying, she had to use all of her free time acquiring the traits of a good designer. Like most travelers, she visited various cultural relics and famous monuments. But unlike most travelers, she looked at them with the eye of a designer.

    Living in an exotic land allowed her to think and observe the world from different perspectives. The local people’s interest and enthusiasm for art impressed her deeply, and she began to find inspiration for her designs in architecture and art.

    “Art seems to be so ingrained in their lives that almost everything smelled of art, from display windows to little accessories in cupboards. I was often amazed at how knowledgeable about art ordinary people whom I met on the street were,” she said.

    “I began to realize that fashion is something that is not embodied solely in clothing, but is a part of all aspects of life; it’s an attitude.”

    Living abroad can be hard for middle-class students, so Guo had to be very creative in finding ways to subsidize her studies.

    On weekends, she would visit boutique shops to vend accessories she made or sneak into fashion shows to take snapshots of fashion models for domestic fashion magazines. She worked as a waitress at a pub where she learned to make coffee and cocktails. Thanks to these experiences, she learned resilience and acquired good communication skills.

    Two years later, she graduated as one of the top three students from the school. After graduation, she didn’t go to work immediately as a designer since fashion interns aren’t paid for their work in Italy. She instead got a job teaching Chinese and started job hunting with a map in hand.

    Transitioning

    through cultures

    After working in Italy for a year, Guo made the decision to return to China. Being the only child in her family, she thought she should be near her family and get acquainted with China’s fashion and design industry. In addition, she felt that her chance of standing out in the fashion industry in Italy where gifted designers abound was very slim.

    She returned to China in 2009, but things didn’t work out the way she had projected. After teaching fashion design in a university for two weeks, Guo was bored and decided to take up design.

    She eventually chose to settle down in Shenzhen and believes it was a wise choice.

    “I like the city’s inclusiveness. People are rewarded for their efforts. It’s a suitable place for young people; people are not discriminated against for their backgrounds,” she said.

    In the first year after her return, Guo often experienced culture shock at work because of the differences in design and aesthetic appreciation between Italy and China. She even thought of escaping back to Europe, but thanks to her unyielding will, she forced herself to adapt to the local environment. “In China, good designs are not the whole concern for fashion designers, but building good relationship networks may be more important,” she said.

    Growth on the way

    Over the next five years, Guo moved step by step from an average designer to an art director leading design teams in her company. The speed of her growth was relatively fast compared to her peers. She said the process took a lot of sweat, patience and she had to keep learning from the people around her.

    “I think a designer’s success is mostly attributed to diligent work. Talent only accounts for a very small percentage. A designer very often has to go through all sorts of ordeals, including working days and nights with no end, mockery and distrust from other people. For my part, my interest in design and my quest for beauty are my ultimate motivations, and they helped me overcome hardships,” Guo said. “I used to watch master designers at fashion shows, but one day my designs will be up there on display at top fashion shows.”

    Guo has tried working at various companies with different corporate cultures because she was easily bored with the status quo.

    When she is not working on a new design, Guo loves to play music. She joined a rock band with a few people who have similar interests. She also visits fashion shops or browses magazines and fashion websites to renew her creative energy.

    As a fashion designer, Guo said it’s difficult to give free reign to her creativity because there is often a conflict between realizing her visions and responding to market preferences.

    She considers fashion design to be an art that directly serves people, and good designers often have to compromise between artistic ideals and market demands.

    She even wrote tips for herself about how to become a top fashion designer and keeps a check on herself so that her creativity is not crushed by an excessively commercialized market. “A good design should focus on the people who wear it rather than simply embody a designer’s ideas because, unlike other forms of art, fashion should add to the aesthetic beauty of the people who wear it,” Guo said.

    As an insider to the fashion industry, Guo has keenly felt the challenge of the booming e-commerce industry. She believes the fashion industry is reshuffling, and competition is intensifying as some companies and designers are finding it hard to keep up with the changes.

    The change could be good for designers, though, she says, because the fashion industry values original designs over rehashed or stolen ideas.

    “A good design should focus on the people who wear it rather than simply embody a designer’s ideas.”

    — Fashion designer Guo Jingwen

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