SHANGHAI, China — Filmed over a course of the year in Shanghai, Paris and London, the BoF China Prize documentary tells the story of a unique competition and an extraordinary group of creatives. The film captures behind-the-scenes narratives of what it truly takes to win an international fashion prize — both personally and professionally — and what it feels like to be thrust into the international spotlight as an emerging designer.
Earlier this year, on March 29th, the six designers behind China’s most exciting emerging labels gathered to compete for the inaugural prize. Designed to spotlight and support emerging Chinese designers as they build international businesses, the BoF China Prize consisted of US$100,000 in prize money, a slot on the London Fashion Week schedule as well as a cocktail reception during Paris’ haute couture week.
In Episode 1: The Finalists, we share the finalists’ reactions after being chosen to compete for the prize, before meeting them in person in China during the final stages of their preparations for the panel — as a palpable sense of excitement builds and nerves begin to fray.
For the inaugural prize, competitors were judged on both the unique creativity of their products and the commercial potential of their business model. Finalists including Pronounce, Xu Zhi, Shuting Qiu, PH5, Staffonly, and, the prize’s eventual winner, Caroline Hu, present a series of looks, before a making a five-minute visual introduction to their brand and answering questions from the esteemed panel.
Never leaving the competitors’ sides during the competition, we watch the men and women taking part face down the pressure of performing in front of the panel, before the celebrating at the close of the day during the prize giving. Visibly emotional upon winning, Shenzhen-born Hu launched her label in 2018 and was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize for her crafted demi-couture dresses that evoke a dreamy, languorous romanticism — each a unique testament to fine craftsmanship.
“Her soulful presentation just blew all of us away,” adds fashion consultant Julie Gilhart, who joined Labelhood’s Tasha Liu, OTB’s Renzo Rosso and Clot’s Edison Chen on this year’s panel. “There was a beauty and sophistication in her work that is rare to see in such a young designer,” she continued.
In this episode, we also hear from the judges on why celebrating the growing influence of Chinese aesthetics and Chinese designers on the industry is important now, and the market forces behind this shift, before meeting some of the characters that will mentor and accompany Caroline as she takes her place on the international stage.
Watch Episode 1: Shanghai now and discover the moving human narrative behind winning an international fashion prize, as well as the global market forces driving the increasing adoption and celebration of Chinese aesthetics.