(Student fashion show–from College of Fashion and Design at DHU)
To enhance students’ global awareness and facilitate international exchange, we are very pleased to have three special guests from the Donghua University (DHU) to answer questions proposed by FASH455 students regarding the fashion education in China:
- Caixia Chen: a PhD student in the College of Fashion and Design at DHU. Caixia received her B.S. in fashion design and engineering from DHU as well. Her research interests include fashion marketing and fashion supply chain management.
- Zongyu Xiong: a M.S. student in the College of Fashion and Design at DHU. Her research interests include cost management in the fashion supply chain.
- Jingjing Wang: a freshman majoring in Fashion Design and Engineering in the College of fashion and design at DHU.
Donghua University (DHU), located in downtown Shanghai and formerly known as the China Textile University, has one of the oldest and most prestigious fashion programs in China.
Question from FASH455: Why do you choose to be a fashion major—personal interest or guaranteed job offer?
Caixia: Personal interest.
Zongyu: Personal interest is the main reason above all. And I also hope that I can engage in fashion-related jobs in the future.
Jingjing: I choose to be a fashion major because of my personal interest. But my future work may not be in the fashion area.
Question from FASH455: What classes do you take as a fashion major in China?
Caixia: Fashion marketing, fashion manufacture management, fashion buyer, fashion English, Fashion trade, fashion forecasting, draping and pattern-making.
Actually, the Donghua Universty offers two fashion majors. One is fashion design which focuses on designing. The students majored in fashion design are good at drawing. Another one is fashion engineering, which focuses on draping, pattern-making, fashion trade, fashion marketing etc.
Zongyu: Global marketing of clothing, Market research and forecast, Consumer psychology, Clothing Materials, CAD, Fashion Illustration, Clothing craft, Draping and some theoretical course.
Jingjing: So far I’ve taken clothing marketing and merchandising, garment production management, fashion retail management, etc..
Question from FASH455: What is the percentage of fashion majors in your school that receive job offers immediately after finishing their studies?
Caixia: As I know, around 100 fashion engineering majors graduate from the college of fashion and design at DHU every year. Among them, about 50% receive job offers immediately after finishing their studies, and about 20% will continue to pursue a master degree in China. Another 20% will choose to study abroad.
Zongyu: According to the official statistics released by DHU, the employment rate reached 92.18% for the total 729 class of 2015 graduated from the college of fashion and design.
Jingjing: About 90%.
Question from FASH455: How do your professors tell you about the fashion industry in the United States?
Caixia: U.S. is one of the largest textile and apparel importers in the world. China — by far is the largest supplier of textiles and apparel to the U.S..
Zongyu: I’m sorry for my limited knowledge. I just know a little about the recent trend of American textile industry moving back to the U.S..
Jingjing: The fashion industry in the United States is quite developed, and it has an important place in the world. However, it also meets bottlenecks at its present development stage. Some classic brands are managed less well than in previous years.
Question from FASH455: How do you think globalization has affected China, especially its textile and apparel industry?
Caixia: It is of grave concerns to some Chinese manufacturers that more and more international buyers now switch to source from lower-cost countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam. However, in my opinion, Chinese manufacturers still enjoy competitive advantages. For example, Chinese suppliers can provide better quality products and more value-added services. Furthermore, by adopting new technologies, Chinese factories are able to offset the impact of increasing production cost through improved efficiency and product quality.
On the other hand, globalization has made it more difficult for Chinese fashion companies to develop its own brands. In particular, the local Chinese fashion brands are facing grant challenges with the flood of international brands to the Chinese market.
Zongyu: For Chinese companies, globalization not only has resulted in more competition pressures, but also has created more opportunities to get access to the world marketplace. Chinese companies realize that they have to embrace a global version and develop high quality and innovative products so as to stand out from the market competition.
In terms of the Chinese consumers, globalization has brought them with more choices of better quality and lower-priced products.
Jingjing: Globalization is a two-edged sword, creating both opportunities and challenges for China. In the past, low-cost labor is a major competitive advantage for China. But now China’s cost advantage is gradually diminishing compared with other less developed countries whereas China is still not “strong enough” to compete on technology with advanced economies.
Questions from FASH455: What are the working conditions of garment factories in China?
Caixia: Below are the pictures I took when visiting some garment factories in China. From these pictures, you can see how the working conditions look like.
Zongyu: Dragons and fishes jumbled together, meaning there are companies in either good or bad conditions. But compared with the past, working conditions in the Chinese garment factories overall have much improved. Most factories have met the 5S (5s is the name of a workplace organization method that uses a list of five words: sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain) or 6S(5s plus safety) requirements.
Jingjing: Following the principle of 5s management, Chinese garment factories overall are getting cleaner, more orderly and more modernized.
Question from FASH455: Does it bother the Chinese people that American companies send work to China to produce cheap labor?
Zongyu: It is just my personal view: exporting textile and apparel is necessary for China as a developing country to generate economic growth and create job opportunities. But China is also transforming and upgrading its economy.
Jingjing: I think it is a normal phenomenon in the developing world. Actually, Chinese companies have started to offshore production to less developed countries with cheaper labor.
Questions from Caixia, Zongyu and Jingjing for FASH455 students:
- What do Americans think of “Made in China”?
- Do the classes you take help with your career preparation?
- Have you taken any internship classes at UD? What did you do?