Discovering #FashionTech in China

Chinese companies have spent decades copying western technology. It’s no longer the case. They now lead on many fronts with new technologies, products, and business models. It’s become quite common for companies to develop new innovative products in China and later bring them to the rest of the world.

Back to Shanghai

I was back in Shanghai last week after almost a year since my last trip. I ate Baozi 包子(Chinese meat buns) among other things. Yummi! Since 2004, when I first travelled to China to study Chinese, I’ve had the chance to travel back there for business almost every year. Many things have changed since that first trip.

Chinese companies have spent decades copying western technology. It’s no longer the case. They now lead on many fronts with new technologies, products, and business models. It’s become quite common for companies to develop new innovative products in China and later bring them to the rest of the world.

As usual, I had a packed schedule with meetings with various current and potential partners. This time, I took the opportunity to dig deeper into China’s tech startup scene and the state of FashionTech. I’ll cover the startup scene in another post.

What’s up with Fashion Tech in China?

Many Chinese fashion designers have made their mark both inside and outside China. There’s Guo Pei, Christopher Bu, Lan Yu, Zhang Na, and Haizhen Wang to name a few. The Chinese clothing manufacturers have also done well over the past decades, basically clothing the whole world. While Chinese tech companies are growing rapidly, the link bridging fashion and tech has yet to fully formed.

This is why Fashion Tech in China is still a nascent sector, and it means different things to different people.

There’s a growing number of conferences and workshops about Fashion Tech in China.

Enters FashionEx

FashionEx was created to serve as that missing link between industries and stakeholders. Co-founded by Amelie Mongrain, Vincent Djen, and Wei Zhou, the company offers networking events, workshops, and toolkits to help fashiontech entrepreneurs grow their fashion business by acquiring critical knowledge, developing the necessary skills, and connecting with the right partners and customers.

I had the opportunity to meet Amelie at their office in the XNode co-working spaces in Jing’An district in Shanghai. A pretty inspiring environment packed with highly motivated young entrepreneurs.

Meet the Canadian fashion expert in China

Amelie has followed a pretty cool professional path accumulating more than two decades of experience in teaching, fashion design, production, and supply chain management consulting, coaching, etc. Originally from Canada, she moved to Shanghai 20 years ago to teach fashion design and production for the Montreal-based Lasalle College.

She then became supply chain consultant assisting small and medium-sized apparel companies overcome supply chain challenges and get better performance from their suppliers and outsourced processes in China. What makes her experience so interesting is that over the years she’s handled all aspects from pre-production (fabric development, prototypes, sales samples) to managing the bulk production for several brands includingGuy Laroche, Geoffrey Beene and Zanetti.

In 2012, she launched Tush Skivvies, her own underwear collection now distributed in North America and also available online. Fast forward five years later. She’s now into her next big project: FashionEx.

Accelerating the growth of fashion businesses in China

To help entrepreneurs rapidly launch and grow their fashion business in China, FashionEx recently launched its AM360 Accelerator Program. The one-year program covers 18 chapters and focuses on learning key concepts and methodologies and putting them into practice right away.

The program includes:

  1. Fash Biz “Lean & Mean”
  2. All in one fash biz plan
  3. Creative thinking
  4. Time management
  5. Design, sketching, trends
  6. Product development
  7. Sourcing-costing
  8. Fash technology
  9. Innovation leadership
  10. Branding
  11. Finance
  12. Negotiation
  13. Manufacturing
  14. Marketing
  15. HR/Team building
  16. Sales
  17. Funding
  18. Accountability

Given the challenges that the fashion industry is facing today (e.g. sustainability, working conditions, profitability, fast fashion, digital transformation, etc.), entrepreneurs could be tempted to stay away from it. But with the right experience, insights, and innovative mindset, there’s always room to create a new, creative, and sustainable approach.

The attractiveness of the AM360 program comes from the founders’ solid experience, their ability to connect the dots, and their extensive international networks of partners and collaborators.

For those of you who might be interested, you can apply to the program by contacting the FashionEx team here.

A promising future

While fashion tech is still in its early days in China, the pace of change and innovation tells me that the industry won’t stay nascent for much longer. Organizations like FashionEx are already working on building a new type of fashion world.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.