Shanghai Tang


Shanghai Tang
Clothing company
Shanghai Tang was founded in 1994 by Hong Kong-born and British-educated businessman, David Wing-Cheung Tang. The name Shanghai Tang is said to be derived from the Chinese translation of the highly recognizable river embankment in Shanghai known as the Waitan (The Bund). Shanghai Tang’s first line, ‘Imperial Tailors’, specialized in affordable Chinese haute couture produced by Shanghaiese tailors. Ready-to-wear collections have also subsequently been added.
Although these are, for the most part, bulk-made in mainland China, Shanghai Tang is attempting to overturn the perception that ‘made in China’ means mass-produced, poor-quality goods through the use of internationally renowned designers.
The style of the clothing and accessories could be described as ‘East meets West’, whereby traditional Chinese cultural elements and 1920–30s throw-backs are interwoven with distinctly twenty-first-century styles. Classics include velvet Mao jackets (see Mao Zedong and Sun Yatsen suits) and silk cheongsams (see qipao, cheongsam) in often flashy and unconventional colours. Shanghai Tang’s offerings have also now expanded to include other goods that range from home furnishings decorated with Chinese motifs to popular novelty gifts such as Mao mugs and watches. Despite the fact that its market still remains firmly planted in Asia, where the new face of Shanghai Tang is one of China’s top film actresses, Gong Li, its custom base in the West is expanding with boutiques opening around the world. Shanghai Tang goods have already become identified with fashionable celebrities and items have even featured on the popular American television series Sex and the City.
SARAH DAUNCEY

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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