China Institute Fashion Competition Celebrates Chinese Design

China Institute trustee, Sophia Sheng, announcing the winner of 2018 Fashion Design Competition, Yanting Yao and Yanchen Yao.

The brilliant young designers, family members, supporters, fashionistas, a gaggle of models, makeup artists, and top experts from the fashion industry flocked to the China Institute on April 14 for the Institute’s first Fashion Competition. The competition, which highlights designers whose work is influenced by China, attracted more than 120 applicants, narrowed down to 10 final entries.

One by one, the nervous finalists filed into the China Institute library, where they had five minutes each to present the five judges with three designs and explain how they were inspired by some aspect of China. The judges were world-renowned fashion experts: Parsons Professor Hazel Clark, Dior Artist in Residence Bil Donovan, blogger and fashion icon Lyn Slater, designer Peter Som, and the Met Costume Institute’s Karen Von Gotsenhoven.

The designs were stunning, and the designers explained their influences with emotional personal stories: Buddhism, ancient architecture, adoption and identity, disruption in Chinese society, Peking opera, shadow puppets, landscape painting, ancient poetry, and modernization and loss. After difficult deliberations, the judges chose twins Yanchen and Yanting Yao, whose thoughtful and well-executed collection reflects the story of their grandparents, workers who experienced both rapid development and the loneliness that accompanies the demolition of old communities. They named Mia Rubin, whose multilayered designs tell the story of Chinese-U.S. adoption and identity, as an Honorable Mention.

In a panel discussion, the judges shared insights on the development of design and fashion in China, highlighting the sophistication and creativity of young designers—and the challenge of breaking into a China market dominated by western luxury brands.

A fashion show followed the discussion, with hair and makeup sponsored by Romana Makeup New York. Finally, the winners were announced—and presented with a check for $10,000.

Media Coverage

Sinovision (English), April 11, China Institute presents 2018 Fashion Design Competition Learn More

Sinovision (English), April 11, China Institute Fashion Design Competition Learn More

Sinovision (Chinese), April 14, 华美协进社2018时尚设计大赛 纽约曼哈顿精彩落幕 Learn More

Sing Tao USA, April 14, 華美協進社首屆時裝設計展 雙胞胎時裝設計學生奪冠 Learn More

SF Shibao (旧金山时报), April 14, 华美协进社2018时尚设计大赛 纽约曼哈顿精彩落幕 Learn More

PR Newswire, January 15, China Institute Announces Finalists, Esteemed Judges of Its 2018 Fashion Design Competition Learn More

Markets Insider, January 15, China Institute Announces Finalists, Esteemed Judges of Its 2018 Fashion Design Competition Learn More

Yahoo Finance, January 15, China Institute Announces Finalists, Esteemed Judges of Its 2018 Fashion Design Competition Learn More

Business Journals, January 15, China Institute Announces Finalists, Esteemed Judges of Its 2018 Fashion Design Competition Learn More

Fashion United, January 16, China Institute hosts first fashion show of its kind Learn More

Goddesschess, September 18, 2017, China Institute is Sponsoring a – FASHION – Contest! Learn More


1) Guanyu Chen – Atlanta, GA
Guanyu Chen is from China. His passion for art started since he was a child. After being trained for drawing more than ten years, he fulfilled his dream and became a fashion design student in Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing. He is passionate about generating new fashion idea and manipulating clothing production. Due to his art background, he is proficient in fashion illustration and sketching by hand and computer programs. Four years of undergraduate education and two years of master courses in Savannah College of Art and Design help him to keep improving his understanding of fashion design. Meet Guanyu Chen

2) Karen Heshi – New York, NY
Karen Heshi, born in a family without any design backgrounds, however she is an intelligent, enthusiastic, hardworking person, and willing to take risks. Ever since childhood, she has won many accomplishments such as the denim design fashion contest, scholarship enrolment, and stayed top-grades in her academic studies. Graduated with upper honors in Bachelor’s from University of Arts London. Karen expresses her own artistic lifestyle with some of her work through behind the secenes, and achieved thousands of followers on Instagram. More recently, Karen has established her own fashion label at world’s largest online business platform. Meet Karen Heshi

3) Shenyue Huang – Atlanta, GA
Shenyue Huang have studied in SCAD about one and half years for the master program.
Her mother inspired her a lot in the fashion field. All her sweaters since childhood were knitted by my mother, and these memories and experiences in her childhood instigated her interest in fashion design later after she grew up. In her eyes, clothes are not only for making one feel comfortable or keeping warm but also represent one’s personality as well as a mental pursuit in a particular culture. The crafts and materials used with these designs can all support and formulate this narrative, telling others a personality, a perspective, and a value behind. Meet Shenyue Huang

4) Zirui Huang – New York, NY
Zirui Huang is a designer based in New York and Shanghai. She studied fashion design in Fashion Institute of Technology focused on All-gender and knitwear. She appreciates the aesthetic of romantic minimalism and subtle things. She loves to create and manipulate unique fabrics to get the customers to pay more attention on the continuity of the garments’ surfaces. With a heavy focus on textile, Zirui uses an understated color palette in her collection to create a sober and temperate style, which always has a quiet but powerful beauty to her. Zirui received $10,000 prize in the China Beauty Fund Fashion Design Scholarship competition in 2016, Zirui is also a shortlist of Fashion Scout London AW18; finalist of the CFDA Scholarship Design competition and finalist of the Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Design Competition in 2016. Meet Zirui Huang

5) Anqi Jiang – New York, NY
Anqi Jiang, was born and raised in Beijing,China. She is a fashion design student at Fashion Institute of Technology.
Anqi regards fashion design as an amazing method to create artworks that can express her passion and understanding of life and beautiful things. She is influenced by designers like Rei Kawakubo, Yoji Yamamoto and Cristóbal Balenciaga whose works are always beyond imagination, show an attitude, and create the feeling of freedom.
Being as a member of the college Dean’s list for two years, Anqi also worked for fashion organizations including Narciso Rodriguez, Susana Monaca, and Made New York Fashion Week. Meet Anqi Jiang

6) Olga Lukianenko – Krakow, Poland
Olga Lukianenko defines herself a creative thinker, artist, fashion designer and travel lover currently living in Krakow, Poland. Originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, she grew up in Soviet Union, observing her own nation getting rid of communist propaganda and becoming an independent country. This influenced greatly her future vision of “beauty” and there she developed her passion for design, textile, art and fashion. After getting her bachelor’s degree in Salvador Dali Art and Fashion Design University, Olga continued her studies of fashion in Krakow School of Arts and Fashion Design in Poland. Her experience encompasses everything from working on a complicated shape as well as playing with interesting material combinations and textiles. At this moment apart from creating her own designs she work as a patternmaker for the brand MISBHV.

7) Mia Rubin – New York, NY
Mia Rubin is a Chinese adoptee from Chicago. Mia studied at School of the Art Institute of Chicago throughout high school and then went on to major in Fashion Design at Parsons the New School for Design. She spent her junior year studying Print Design at Central Saint Martins. Afterwards, she started to specialize in print design and textile design. Mia graduated from Parsons in the spring of 2017 as the William Randolph Hearst Grant Winner to further her project–The Space In-Between. The Space In-Between is a collaborative project about the in-between space that adoptees inhabit and the complexities of the identity issues that come with occupying that margin. Meet Mia Rubin

8) Chu Wang – Savannah, GA
Chu Wang is now a Chinese graduate fashion student at the Savannah College of Art and Design and was a bachelor student in Costume and Fashion Design at Shanghai Theatre Academy, China. Chu have gained experience by designing costumes for drama and fashion. Chu had her work published and showcased in scholarship competitions and took on a position as a painting teacher during school. Chu’s background in costume design still plays a strong influence in her design aesthetic. She often design exploring contrasts in color blocking and abstract graphics. Films and TV shows also inspire her. Chu want her designs to be playful and quirky, and fit a woman that is confident and does not mind standing out from the crowd. Meet Chu Wang

9) Tiantian Wang – New York, NY
Tiantian Wang is a fashion designer currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design and working as a freelance designer. She was considered as one of the “math people” in high school, but her passion and interests of art lead her to the exploration and experimentation among different types of art. As an artist and a designer, she draws inspiration from a broad range of themes, especially things that are visible or observable, however untouchable because of their lack of physical forms. Her work always shows the manipulating of scales and proportions. Tiantian is always trying to find the balance between order and chaos in her design. She consider herself as a passive designer, who doesn’t try to convince everyone with her designs; people who understand it just understand. Meet Tiantian Wang

10) Shalyn Webber – Savannah, GA
Shalyn Webber, born in Lowell Massachusetts, developed a love for art at an early age. Influenced by her aunt, an art teacher, she would spend long hours drawing and painting. During her study in college, she was given the opportunity to explore a variety of focus areas, and realized that Fashion was where she found her true passion, by manipulating textiles is a 3D form. After graduating in 2011 Shalyn held multiple positions exploring costume design and millinery. But she chose to return to school applying in 2016 for an MFA in fashion at the Savannah College of Art and Design to further explore her aesthetics as a designer. Meet Shalyn Webber

11) Yanting & Yanchen Yao – New York, NY
Yanting Yao and Yanchen Yao, are young twin designers, both were born in the south China, currently live in New York and Shanghai. They both study in the fashion design BFA program in Parsons School of design. Raised up by grandparents, they studied Chinese calligraphies, Chinese traditional paintings and classic Chinese arts. Simultaneously, Chinese characteristics as their base genetics form the way of how they process their new modern designs. Fashion for them is a tool, and their aesthetic focuses on using this tool of storytelling are to make the audiences understand the story and meaning behind, to make fashion also a visual connection between culture developments and social community changes. Yanting & Yanchen Yao



Bil Donovan
Fashion Illustrator, Dior’s Artist-in-Residence
Bil Donovan is one of today’s most accomplished and revered fashion illustrators, deemed so by Christian Dior, who appointed him their first Artist-in-Residence for Dior Beauty in 2009, a role he continues to serve in as illustrator for the brand. Donovan utilizes an innate sense of selectivity in his work to communicate the essence of glamour, luxury and style.


Hazel Clark
Professor of Fashion Studies and Research Chair of Fashion
Parsons School of Design
Hazel Clark teaches fashion studies and design studies in the School of Art and Design History and Theory where she initiated the MA in Fashion Studies, and MA in Design Studies as a former Dean of the School. She currently serves as Research Chair of Fashion, a Parsons-wide position devoted to encouraging and supporting research initiatives, collaborations and events encompassing fashion practice, studies, history, theory, and criticism. In spring 2015 she served as Interim Dean of the School of Fashion.


Lyn Slater
Cultural Influencer, Professor, Model, Writer, Content Creator and Speaker
Accidental Icon
Lyn Slater started her influential blog Accidental Icon in September 2014 and her Instagram now has over 250,000 followers. As Accidental Icon she has been featured in outlets including W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Brazil, Women’s Wear Daily, Cosmopolitan Japan, Vogue Italia, Washington Post, and NBC Nightly News. In January 2017 she was signed by Elite Models London.


Peter Som
Peter Som debuted his namesake collection in 2001. In 2004 he was among the top 10 finalists of the first Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund. Peter has served as consultant for companies including Tommy Hilfiger, Bill Blass and BLUE Les Copains, and has collaborated with brands including Kohls and Anthropologie. He recently debuted his line of furniture with The Inside.


Karen Van Godtsenhoven
Associate Curator, The Costume Institute
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Karen Van Godtsenhoven is Associate Curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, working on exhibition programming and collection development. Previously, Ms. Van Godtsenhoven worked for eight years as Curator at Antwerp’s ModeMuseum (MoMu), as an expert in 20th– and 21st–century fashion, where she curated and co-curated more than 15 exhibitions.

The China Institute Fashion Design Competition supports emerging designers and promotes creativity inspired by China’s culture and aesthetics in contemporary, global design.

The Competition is open to:
• students currently enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in fashion design
• 2016 and 2017 graduates of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in fashion design

All applicants, if selected as finalists, must provide their own lodging and transportation to New York City for the Fashion Competition. They must also produce, at their own expense, their capsule collection of three outfits for the runway show at this Fashion Competition held at China Institute, 40 Rector Street, New York NY 10006.

All finalists will have their work assessed by a prestigious panel of judges and will be promoted on the China Institute website and through social media. The competition will culminate in a fashion show at China Institute where the winner will be announced. The winning designer will receive a $10,000 award.

October 6, 2017: Online registration deadline
October 31, 2017: Design submission deadline
November 1 – December 31, 2017: Panel of judges review applications
January 15, 2018: China Institute notifies the top ten finalists by email and announced on the China Institute website.
April 1, 2018: Deadline for delivery of finalists’ capsule collections to China Institute
April 14, 2018: Collections presented at China Institute Fashion Show and the winning designer is announced.
May 2018: Winning designer invited to appear as a special guest at China Fashion Gala 2018 co-presented by China Institute and China Beauty Charity Fund.

All applicants must first register online. We encourage applicants to register as soon as possible. After registering, applicants must submit an application package, no later than October 31st 2017*, consisting of the following items:

• 1 page for the 3 illustrations or plan of collection
• 1 page for each illustration
• 1 page for each flats/technical designs
• 1 page for the fabric and material swatches
• 1 page for the developed concept or atmosphere or mood board
• 1 page for the written concept in English and how this is inspired by China (maximum 100 words)
• 1 resume/CV of applicant
• 1 photocopy of current student ID or degree

The design submission deadline is October 31 2017, at 11:59 pm (the Entry Deadline). All entries must be received by the Entry Deadline.

Entrants must be at least 18 years of age, students or new graduates (2016 or later) in design schools in United States as of the date of entry. CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

To enter electronically, please visit to register. Once the registration process has been completed, you will receive an e-mail confirmation. Simply log onto the website and follow the online instructions to upload application form and your work from your computer.

No mail-in entry is available for this Contest.

Each submitted application, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material made by the Contest entrant. By entering the Contest, entrant represents, acknowledges and warrants that he or she has full power and authority to enter the work, and that the work does not infringe any copyright or violate any other intellectual property rights.

Online entries must be made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, internet domain owner, or other person or organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.

Prizes/Awards are specified on the landing page for the China Institute Fashion Competition on the China Institute website.

• Contest consists of two (2) rounds of evaluation. In Round One, a panel of Judges will each review applications and select the top ten finalists. In Round Two, the top ten finalists will produce their collections and present at China Institute Fashion Show, the winning designer will be announced on site.
• Entries will be judged on the basis of creativity, quality and effectiveness in expressing the contest theme.
• Decisions of China Institute (the administrator) and Judges are final and binding.

If the work contains any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the work, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the work, any and all releases and consents necessary to present the runway and use of the collection in the manner set forth in these Official Rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any work is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

By participating, ALL ENTRANTS grant China Institute (the administrator) and their designees, licensees or affiliates (the “Authorized Parties”) a non-exclusive, worldwide license, through May 2018, to reproduce, distribute, display and post the entries online so that viewers may view all competing entries. In addition, the FINALISTS grants to the Authorized Parties a license for use of his/her winning entry in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest, in any media now or hereafter known, including but not limited to, print or digital publication showcasing the winners, and promotions related to the contest for an unlimited time. Authorized Parties will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such use.

This Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries void if China Institute (the administrator) determines the entry to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft.

Participants also agree (a) to be bound by these Official Rules; (b) that the decisions of the Judges are final on all matters relating to the Contest; and (c) if he/she wins that China Institute may use each winner’s name, work, likeness, and/or voice in any publicity or advertising relating to the Contest or future promotions without compensation or approval (except where prohibited by law). All federal, state and local taxes, fees and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winner. In the event that the selected winner of the prize is ineligible or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and China Institute, in their sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another entrant.

If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of China Institute (the administrator) that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, China Institute reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. If China Institute elects to cancel or terminate the Contest, China Institute will not retain any rights to the submitted work.

Past Events

China Fashion Gala 2017

Sunday, May 7, 2017
5:00PM Cocktails; 6:00PM Dinner
Location: Tribeca Three Sixty, 10 Desbrosses Street, New York, NY 10013

China Institute and the China Beauty Charity Fund have partnered to present “China Fashion Gala 2017”.

The event will be held on May 7th at Tribeca Three Sixty in New York City and feature cocktails, a full length haute couture fashion show by Chinese fashion designer Lan Yu, and a twilight dinner.

The mission of the Gala is to return the spotlight to China’s inimitable influence in the realm of style. While the aesthetics of Chinese design have influenced the West for millennia, in recent years, China’s fashion legacy has been overshadowed by its unparalleled manufacturing expertise. View photos here

The objectives of the China Fashion Gala are to:
· showcase creativity inspired by China
· raise funds to support talented emerging designers
· recognize individuals whose outstanding contributions have helped position Chinese design and aesthetics at the forefront of fashion on a global scale

The China Fashion Gala will benefit China Institute’s new Fashion Initiative and Fashion Design Competition Award, as well as the China Beauty Charity Fund Scholarship at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

This year, we are thrilled to be honoring Chinese fashion photographer Chen Man and legendary model Carmen Dell’Orefice. The centerpiece of the Gala is a full length haute couture fashion show by Chinese fashion designer Lan Yu.

We hope you will join us and support China Fashion Gala 2017!

For sponsorship opportunities and additional information, please contact:

Andrea Sanseverino Galan
Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer
China Institute
[email protected]
212.744.8181 ext. 108

A Spring Benefit Luncheon Celebrating Design

China Institute held its first Spring Luncheon Celebrating Design to a sold-out audience at Tribeca Rooftop overlooking the Manhattan skyline on a sunny Sunday, May 15, 2016.

The luncheon was the launch of a new fashion-focused benefit luncheon, Old China/NEW CHINA. The Luncheon celebrated the inspiring continuum of Chinese fashion design and the exciting, playful dynamic between East and West, Chinese tradition and innovation.

James Fallon, Editor, Women’s Wear Daily, spoke on China’s increasing prominence in the design field, as guests dined on a menu inspired by Asia. Design Chair, Kathryn Scott’s table design of lime green linens and centerpieces of giant elephant ear leaves created a festive spring feeling. Mannequins were dressed with designs by Special Guest Designer, Yeohlee Teng; Vivienne Tam, Lan Shi and two emerging designers from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Merry Wu and Jiyeon Lee. A small
off-the-rack sale was offered with 20% of the proceeds donated to China Institute.

Along with Co-Chairs, Danielle Accettola and Lan Shi, Honorary Chair, Sophia Sheng and Design Chair, Kathryn Scott; guests included Barbara Tober; Valerie Steele; Dr. John S. Major; Jean Shafiroff;
Chiu-Ti Jansen; Montgomery Frazier; Malan Breton and Guo Pei, who will be presented with the Blue Cloud Award at China Institute’s Gala on Tuesday, September 27, 2016.

Special thanks to Sally Wu, Keynote Speaker James Fallon, and our contributing designers, Yeohlee Teng, Lan Shi, Vivienne Tam, Han Feng; and FIT designers, Merry Wu and Jiyeon Lee. Read More