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French fashion franchise to launch Guangzhou branch

Publication Date : 25-08-2014


Esmod Guangzhou, a franchise of French fashion design school Esmod, aims to stress hands-on ability and style creativity in the capital of Guangdong province, which produces more than 20 per cent of all the garments made in China.

In partnership with Guangzhou Textile Industry and Trade Holdings, which is involved in textiles, garment manufacturing, export and education, the new school will start classes in September.

Fashion design schools in China recruit students based on academic scores and drawing ability, but Esmod Guangzhou assesses applicants' understanding of fashion with a 13-page test paper, said Liu Huiming, deputy director of Esmod Guangzhou.

Traditional fashion teaching stresses design, but not so much pattern-making, which is vital to turn designs into reality.

Esmod Guangzhou, however, integrates drawing, design and pattern-making in its classes, Liu said. "We want pattern-making to promote design. One may learn drawing very quickly but pattern-making and craft take time."

Four full-time foreign teachers will take bilingual classes. The school had enrolled 57 students by Thursday and graduates can choose to continue at Esmod in Paris after three years of study.

The school has a mission to focus on creativity and turn students into specialists to help with a shift from "made in China" to "created in China", Liu said.

China's first lady Peng Liyuan wore outfits from brands based in Guangzhou on her foreign trips last year, which helped spark public interest in domestic brands and sent a strong signal, he said.

"State leaders know what to wear at international venues and how to promote domestic products."

Designers need to be able to create brands and China is seeing more and more such designers, some of whom have studied overseas, he said.

Esmod Guangzhou also has foreign students who are attracted by the potential of the industry in China.

The Esmod International Fashion University Group goes back to 1841, when Alexis Lavigne, a tailor, set up L'Ecole Superieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode in Paris, which the company says was the world's first fashion school.

Esmod now runs 22 schools in 15 countries, including France, Germany, Norway, Russia, Turkey, Lebanon, Brazil, China and Japan.

Esmod made its foray into China in 2005 with a school in Beijing but did not renew the license for that school last year, said Zora Belmejdoub Gerault, director general of Esmod Guangzhou.

Having come to China seven years ago, Gerault said she estimated back then that China would need to wait 10 years to have its own designers.

She has since seen rapid development with some Chinese designers making their names worldwide.

People were talking about Japanese designers before, but now the talk is more about Chinese designers, she said, adding that Chinese students at Esmod in Paris are one of the groups that receive the most awards.

As a cradle of Chinese fashion, Guangzhou houses huge fabric markets, which are important to designers, Gerault said, adding that students of Esmod in Jakarta, Indonesia, also want to come to Guangzhou to select fabrics.

Chen Jili contributed to this story.


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