Though China is the world's largest apparel manufacture base, "Made in China" designer clothing never had a say in the global fashion world, not to mention an influence on fashion trends. Dorian Ho, a famed Hon Kong designer, is believed to be the first Chinese designer who will establish "Made in China" label a global name not only for himself but also for China.

Western-style weddings are becoming increasingly popular in Asia, and accordingly, the need for classic and elegant bridal and evening gowns is on the rise. Being well aware of this trend, Ho has created a large collection of haute couture and fashion wedding and evening dresses, the popularity of which both in Asia and the United States has gradually helped put his brand in the limelight. For the first time, Dorian Ho Couture, Dorian Ho Bridal Collection and Dorian Ho Collections have hit the international runway. This Chinese designer has showrooms in New York, Hong Kong and Sydney and sells to high-end department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States as well as luxury boutiques around the world. To expand his success, Ho plans to launch his "Made in China" designer clothing in Europe soon.

Far from as famous as other first-rank designer clothing giants such as Valentino or Versace, a Dorian Ho gown will cost you a third of a top-end equivalent. Just as Ho remarks, "Few people can afford to own many Valentino gowns, but for one Valentino, they can afford to own two or three of my gowns." In addition to high-class quality and amazing Western designs, low price is another element contributing to the success of Ho’s "Made in China" designer clothing.

However, only time will tell if it will be possible for customers to root their faith in the "Made in China" designer clothing. In spite of the brand's premium quality, it will have to surmount China's reputation as country that produces low-quality goods. Conventional Western designer clothing has set the rule that high-end designs should be kept close to home so that quality control and optimization of "Made in Europe" labels can be possible. Most firmly believe that high-end designer clothing earns and keeps its reputation because it is produced in Europe, a recognized equivalent to high quality and detail-oriented.

Unfortunately, "Made in China" label is usually dubbed as a nickname for cheap and poor quality. On the other hand, production costs in China are very low as compared with those faced by Western clothing brands. Tapping into this advantage, Ho is able to make high-quality gowns at relatively low prices, liberally using highest quality couture fabrics and accessories imported from Europe. And Ho is able to conduct complete control over quality as he locates the manufacture base of his designer clothing in Shenzhen, neighboring Hong Kong. Besides, Ho employs highly skilled seamstresses to do the stitching and embellishing work on his designer clothing. In the case of Ho, Chinese production can also mean quality, which can be proved by his hot-selling designer clothing. "Western consumers are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a Chinese-made dress if they are convinced the brand's commitment to quality control remains intact", says Sophia Wu, China general manager of Chloe.

More and more European designers are moving or have planned to move their manufacturing to China, as they find it painful to keep up with costs. Burberry, for example, as one of British fashion leaders, started to produce polo shirts in China last year. Some other fashion houses are tempted to move their manufacturing to China not only by its low prices and good quality, but also by its customer potential—China is a huge consumer market for designer clothing. But Ho says his designer clothing is not targeting at Chinese market yet and his goals are set to popularize his brand in Europe with a ready-to-wear bridal collection next year and runway shows in Paris and London.

Dorian Ho
Source: China Cachet, China Daily, 10.13.08